Sixth Grade - St. Joseph School Seattle
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Sixth Grade

Sixth grade at St. Joseph School is the major transition year between the self-contained classroom and the rotating classes of middle school. They rotate on a block schedule based on homeroom. Students learn from the teaching styles of three teachers and enjoy meeting peers from other classrooms in the rotation periods and bond with their classmates during their homeroom time. We present a challenging, relevant and student-friendly academic program in an environment of acceptance, support and humor. Sixth grade is an amazing year of physical, emotional, social and spiritual growth as students begin to mature into young adults.

We believe the task of improving skills in writing, speaking, listening, and grammar becomes manageable for students when skills are taught throughout the school day relevant to their current skill set . Sixth graders will write in a variety of forms, and develop their skills as they better understand what it takes to be effective communicators. To communicate effectively, however, students need a strong knowledge base. As we progress through a unit of study, we expose them to a variety of written text, media, and speakers. As the year progresses, students learn to adapt their writing to an audience, task, purpose and discipline. Some forms of communication will be evident in classroom projects, daily writing assignments, group work activities, independent writing, etc. Other assignments may focus on specific skills to be taught in class lessons (i.e. grammar, mechanics, format). It is beneficial for students, thus we encourage them to engage in discussions about other author’s work as well as their own. Being able to discuss one’s style and purpose while accepting and giving feedback in a safe environment, allows all of us to fine tune our craft as writers, as well as, build a trusting learning community.

Students will address many different topics over the course of the year including: Society’s Role in Educating the Masses; The Art of Fable Writing and the Transcendentalists; The Concept of Gratitude, Change and Victorian Literature; Racism, Everyday Diversity, and The American Civil Rights Movement.

The key focus of sixth grade mathematics at St. Joseph School is to ensure students are prepared for higher-level math. Through instruction, exploration and practice, sixth grade students build their competence, confidence and interest in math.

Students will:

  • Develop habits of consistent practice, tolerance for difficulty, and optimism;
  • Build automaticity with fraction and decimal operations;
  • Learn to solve problems involving ratios and percentages;
  • Begin work with negative numbers;
  • Explore basic algebra: working with variables, and graphing expressions and inequalities;
  • Extend their studies of geometry and statistics to new, more complex topics.

Students expressing an interest in and ability for more intense study will be placed in an accelerated course that covers all of the above topics and pre-algebra in preparation to take the seventh grade algebra class.

The focus of sixth grade religion class is the study of the Old Testament. We study the history of the Old Testament, understanding how, when, and by whom it was written. We examine types of writing represented, and become familiar with the most important characters and the relevance of their stories to our faith. In addition, we study the Catholic liturgical year highlighting All Saints/Souls, Advent, Epiphany, Lent, and Pentecost. We learn about different types of prayer. We study Catholic Social Teaching and how we can work toward a more just world. As a school rooted in the Jesuit tradition, we will learn about the life of St. Ignatius, his followers and their way of praying, especially with the Examen.

The goal of sixth grade science is to present the foundational concepts of the physical sciences (chemistry, physics, electricity) through lectures, demonstrations, video clips, inquiry via the scientific method (Smithsonian Science for the Classroom/Carolina Science New Generation Science kits), reflection and field trips/guest speakers. Additionally, the material will be relevant to a student’s life, challenging and fun while instilling a sense of wonder and nurturing an appreciation and respect for the marvels of the natural world.

As the United States comprises only four percent of the planet’s population, the goal of sixth grade social studies is to broaden each student’s worldview by introducing her/him to several countries of the Eastern Hemisphere (East Africa: Kenya, ancient Egypt, ancient China). Each unit engages students in a study of the geography, history, language and religion(s) of these cultures. The material will be presented via lectures, demonstrations, video clips, group activities, readings/reflections, projects and guest speakers. It is hoped this newly gained knowledge will lead to greater appreciation of the richness and accomplishments of other cultures; deeper understanding, acceptance and tolerance of the diversity within the human family; and the awareness that we as Americans are not alone.