In sixth grade our students read a selection of modern and ancient literature. Writing centers on creation myths, personal narratives, and expository writing. Students study vocabulary, writing mechanics, and grammar.
In sixth grade, students transition to Spanish immersion, in that the majority of class discussions, activities, and exchanges is in the target language. Students study grammar and vocabulary. And they read and write about the Spanish and Latin American culture.
In health, sixth graders delve into a deeper discussion of puberty and other topics related to human sexuality; issues are presented in concrete terms and as unbiased factual information. The curriculum also explores gender, healthy relationships (What makes a good friend?), negotiating peer pressure, bullying, rumors and gossip, and internet safety.
All sixth graders are in advisory groups, made up of 12 students and one faculty/staff member. Advisers have daily touch points with their students during Homeroom every afternoon before dismissal, two study halls, and an advisory period every six-days. Grade-level deans lead advising teams to prepare curriculum that supports social emotional learning and helps students navigate through the years of middle school. Advisories stay together for all three years. In sixth grade, the program includes community building, how to stay organized, and manage multiple teachers and transitions.
The focus of sixth grade history is Ancient Civilizations, wherein which students study Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, India, Hebrews and Greeks. Connected closely with the English curriculum, students study the cultural universals that define and inform human culture and development.
Sixth graders are introduced to the ukulele at the start of the year, and learn C, F, G, Am, Dm, Em, and Bb chords. They play many songs using all the chords, and learn a variety of strumming patterns, in addition to learning how to play with each other. Singing and exploring various musical genres and artists are also focal points to the music curriculum.
Physical education focuses on refining techniques, introducing tactical and strategic practices, and having students apply these ideas in both group and team-based settings. Students have the opportunity to exercise their leadership skills and are encouraged to step out of their comfort zone. They learn to maintain a healthy lifestyle through individual and collaborative fitness components throughout the program. Class content and social emotional development is geared to help students prepare for high school and beyond.
The sixth grade drama curriculum is all about helping students expand their comfort zones as performers. Activities during the term include theater games, an introduction to the Bard, Shakespearean insults, improvisation, and group scene performances. Additionally, in the second trimester, sixth graders have the opportunity to participate in the Winter One-Acts, an extracurricular drama production that serves an introduction to the mainstage theater at Redwood Day.
Sixth graders delve into number sense and operations, fractions, decimals, percents and ratios, algebra, prime factorization, and geometry. Students also participate in a variety of problem-solving activities, games, and math applications.
In Design and Technology, sixth graders jump right into exploring drafting, both by hand and using Computer Aided Design software, such as TinkerCAD. By the end of term, students should be comfortable with design documentation and the creation of STL files which can be used to generate 3D models as well as 2D nets that can be cut, either by hand or digital tools like stencil and laser cutters.
Sixth grade service learning focuses on local endangered species and habitat restoration. Students explore the essential question - What can we learn about the reason for locally endangered species becoming so and how can we help?
Earth and environmental sciences are at the center of the sixth grade year. Our student scientists study density, pressure, temperature, altitude and plate tectonics. For environmental studies, students explore pollution, climate, and human impact on the environment.
In art, sixth graders explore and delve into a variety of artistic genres and mediums, including: profile drawings, optical illusion design, metal etchings, 3D clay modeling, big cat head illustrations, glow-in-the-dark skulls, 2-point perspective (boxes), shading, still lifes, and paper mache. For art history, students study the works of W. Thebeau and Frida Kahlo in addition to completing paintings in the style of each artist.
Outdoor Education takes students outside of the familiarity of the classroom, encourages them to stretch, try something new, support their classmates and connect to learning beyond school walls. Sixth grade visits Pinnacles National Park for a week of camping, hiking, rock-climbing, team-building, and learning about the unique geology, diverse flora and fauna, and a varied human history. The trip is led by Naturalists at Large and chaperoned by the sixth grade advisory team.