Sixth grade is a year that offers challenge and reward for the early adolescent child. At Beecher Road School, sixth graders are afforded every opportunity to excel academically and socially within the close, compassionate advisory of a collaborative team of educators. Within a rich program of study lie rigorous Common Core State Standards, myriad instructional designs, and plenty of time for students to explore and discover the maturing self.
Technology plays a vital role in developing students to learn and thrive in a digital world. Each sixth grader is assigned an iPad with which s/he will navigate the curriculum based on classroom requirements and directions. Teachers guide students on such concepts as paperless note taking, digital organization, and virtual interaction. In addition, technology is used in a variety of ways to allow students choice and expressive agency when faced with assignments and projects.
At Beecher Road School, the social curriculum, delivered via Responsive Classroom, is as important as the academic curriculum. Sixth grade challenges are unique in an elementary setting, and require consistent reinforcement and practice. Areas of focus in sixth grade include the following:
- Accountable Talk
- Active Listening
- Perseverance and Effort
- Time Management
- Personal Responsibility
- D.A.R.E. Program
- Digital citizenship
- Self Management and Awareness
- Social Management and Awareness
English Language Arts
At the heart of the sixth grade classroom is a workshop approach in which students receive strategy and skill lessons, guided practice, individual and small group coaching, and regular opportunities to share products with classmates. Within this model, students receive necessary enrichment, modification, and supports in order for maximum achievement to result. In addition to receiving reading and writing instruction, students study grammar, vocabulary, and continue to build phonemic awareness to increase level of reading fluency and spelling accuracy.
Reader’s Workshop Sample Topics of Study
- Exploration and Interpretation of Literary Elements
- Analysis of Character and Character Change
- Inference to enhance comprehension of higher level texts
- Written Response to Literature
- Comprehension of, Response to, and Reflection on Non-Fiction Text
- Collaborative Book Clubs focusing on Social Issues
- Test Preparation
- Exploration of Fiction Genres
Writer’s Workshop Sample Topics of Study
- Raising Level of Narrative Writing
- Literary Essay
- NonFiction Writing: Research and the Feature Article
- NonFiction Writing: Expository Essay
- Research Based Argumentative Essay
- The Art of Punctuation
- Digital Storytelling
- Writing in the Content Areas
In sixth grade, students receive differentiated support in mathematics in a number of ways. Students are grouped in classes to best accommodate various learning needs based on past performance, pacing, learning styles, enrichment opportunities, and appropriate scaffolding so that all students will be able to approach sixth grade curricular demands and be well prepared for middle school. Within each class, students receive small group and individual instruction within the classroom each day based on formative assessments and performance on learning tasks. The Beecher Road School math curriculum integrates essential skills and strategies such as problem solving, mastery of basic facts, vocabulary, and precision into all units so that students are well equipped to succeed.
Topics of Study in Mathematics
- Expressions and Equations
- Fraction Operations and Applications
- Decimal Operations and Applications
- Ratios, Rates, and Percents
- Three-Dimensional and Planar Geometry
- Data and Statistical Analysis
- Introduction to Integers
- Algebraic Thinking
The heart and anchor of the curriculum, Social Studies offers the sixth grader opportunities to apply skills learned in every other area of school and life. Combined with direct instruction, students experience historical, economic, cultural, and political scenarios through award winning literature and arts integration that bring curricular concepts to life.
Topics of Study in Social Studies
- Five Themes of Geography
In preparation for middle school science, students build foundational knowledge for the life sciences and learn to apply the scientific method in a number of ways. The Science curriculum is integrated with Math, Language Arts and Presentation skills.
Topics of Study in Science
- Life Cycle of Plants
- Food Preservation and Bacteria
- Human Organ Systems
Sixth graders fully engage in hands-on science starting with the first unit where they conduct plant experiments altering one independent variable to understand the effects this has on the dependent variable (plant growth). These experiments are performed in the classroom, as well as in the Beecher greenhouse. Students also learn how to record plant growth results using charts and graphs in Microsoft Excel. Students share results of their experiments to their class via PowerPoint presentations.
For a deeper understanding of cells and genetics, each student creates a cell model and a lab is conducted where students extract DNA from a strawberry.
During the human organ systems unit, students perform a Connecticut State Department of Education curriculum-embedded performance task where they explore the effects of different independent variables on heart rate.
Lastly, we end the year by dividing students into various groups to study aspects of ecology, food chains, food webs and the effects of pollution on aquatic habitats we explore during field trips to vernal pools, streams, and Long Island Sound. The student groups present findings and site maps to their respective classes.
Sixth grade is a year of endings and beginnings: closure on an elementary school career and looking ahead to life in junior high. Beecher Road School has proven time and again that it prepares its students well for whatever path they choose to take. For classroom specific information, please visit its online space.