6th Grade Curriculum
- Fine Arts
- Health/Physical Education
- History/Social Science
- World Languages
- Course Request Form
Building upon the Fifth Grade English experience, Sixth Grade English strives to cultivate a love of reading, hone writing skills, and encourage critical thinking. Collectively, we study the following novels: Rain Reign; Mockingbird; The Giver; Animal Farm; Inside Out and Back Again; Wolf Hollow; and After the Dancing Days. We’ll also explore various short story and poetry selections. We use literature as the vehicle to explore the full range of the language arts experience, including figurative language, theme, usage and mechanics, the thesis, and the writing process. We also have weekly vocabulary units, comprising significant words from the novels. For deliberate grammar instruction, we use IXL Online Grammar. We apply those concepts in frequent writing assessments, both formal and informal, which accompany each unit. A special emphasis is placed on the writing process—from paragraph construction to revision, and students write about literature and themselves. Students will compose informal meditations, original poetry and stories, expository essays, and persuasive essays.
Creative writing at Altamont functions as a series of workshops. Generally, the workshops divide into a fifth and sixth grade quarter long rotation, a seventh and eighth grade elective that meets twice per week all year, and an upper school elective (grades 9-12) that meets twice per week all year. As a part of this course, students produce works of creative non-fiction, short stories, poetry, and drama. The students enter local and national writing contests and frequently win awards. Whenever possible, teachers welcome local writers into the classroom to encourage and inspire our budding artists. Student work is occasionally presented to small groups for peer editing. Finished products are kept on file, forming each student's portfolio and the basis of The Dragon's Tooth and The Dragon's Toe, Altamont's creative writing publications.
5th/6th Grade Art (Quarter-long Rotation)
This quarter long exploratory elective is designed to teach 5/6th grade students how to become critical thinkers and visual problem solvers. Students will become aware of the creative process, which includes brainstorming, problem solving, analyzing, and evaluating art. Design problems are solved using visual art structures and functions, while leaving room for a student’s own personal ideas and artistic style. They will experiment with a variety of materials and techniques.
5th/6th Grade Photography (Quarter-long Rotation)
You will need an inexpensive digital camera labeled, including a strap and memory card.
This quarter long photography class is an exciting mix of studio work, outside projects, and beginning Photoshop on the computer. Students will have opportunities to photograph at school, and at home, to combine them with fun and creative projects in the classroom.
5th/6th Grade Musical Theatre (Quarter-long Rotation)
This is a quarter long class designed to introduce students to all aspects of the wonderful world of Musical Theatre. This class gives students the opportunity to expand their acting and singing skills through individual scene work and singing Broadway musical songs. Students will experience and appreciate live Musical Theatre productions by viewing Musicals on video/Broadway HD and writing reviews of their viewing experience.
5th/6th Grade Strings (Yearlong Rotation)
Did you know that students who play music perform better on standardized tests? In this course, students will learn how to play some of the most beautiful instruments in the Orchestra: Violin, Viola, Cello, or Doublebass. Learning music takes practice, but it is really fun, especially when learning with friends! Students will learn how to read music, develop technical playing skills, and perform in the Winter and Spring concerts with the Middle and Upper School ensembles. No prior string or musical experience required.
5th/6th Grade Music Appreciation (Quarter-long Rotation)
In this rotating elective students will learn about the different instrument families in a Band & Orchestra program and the methods used to produce a sound on each one as they have the opportunity to try each instrument. Students will hear a brief history of American music and learn how music and cultures from around the world combined and evolved into what we listen to today. Finally, students will also learn how to create music in a simple Digital Audio Workstation. No prior musical experience required.
5th/6th Grade Drama (Quarter-long Rotation)
This quarter long course is designed to give students an overview of theatre from multiple perspectives. Through various projects and exercises, 5/6th graders explore elements of acting and performance. Special emphasis is placed on physical acting through pantomime and on verbal acting through readers theatre and storytelling. Students also work with ensemble-building and interaction with their peers.
5th/6th Grade Creative Writing (Quarter-long Rotation)
Creative writing at Altamont functions as a series of workshops. Generally, the workshops divide into a fifth and sixth grade rotation, a seventh and eighth grade component, and an upper school elective. These three groups produce creative non-fiction, short stories, poetry, and drama. The students enter local and national writing contests and frequently win awards. Whenever possible, teachers welcome local writers into the classroom to encourage and inspire our budding artists. Most of the workshops are held in the computer labs, where students may easily compose, revise, and archive finished pieces. Student work is occasionally presented to small groups for peer editing. Finished products are kept on file, forming the student's portfolio, and the basis of The Dragon's Tooth and The Dragon's Toe, Altamont's creative writing publications.
Students in fifth and sixth grades are divided into classes by gender and receive instruction in a variety of team and individual sports and activities. Students receive instruction in skills and rules of the sport or activity at the beginning of the unit, often culminating in a class-wide tournament. Current offerings include softball, tennis, volleyball, touch football, soccer, badminton, track and field, basketball, floor hockey, mat ball, kickball, pickleball, and table tennis.
Additionally, the Presidential Physical Fitness test is administered to students each year. Young children learn to enjoy physical activity, yet also learn that a certain level of personal commitment and work is required to reap the benefits from their participation. They partake in developmentally appropriate activities that help them develop movement competence and should be encouraged to participate in moderate to vigorous physical activity and unstructured play. For elementary children, the emphasis is on an awareness of fitness components and having fun while participating in health-enhancing activities that promote physical fitness.
America in the World (Sixth Grade)
This course places the American experience of the twentieth century into a broader, global context. While the fifth-grade U.S. history course attempts to explain the growth, success, and rapid development of the United States as a single entity, the sixth-grade course expands upon that idea and shows America as a member of a global community. To see the United States clearly is to see the nation from an outside perspective, and, in order to do that, one must see the United States as sometimes a bystander, sometimes a participant in, and sometimes a director of global trends. This course develops a deeper understanding in students that the United States is affected by international trends and conditions and that the actions of the United States have a profound impact on the global order. Topics covered include immigrant experiences, World War I, the Global Depression, World War II and the Holocaust, The Global Civil Rights Movement, and the Cold War.
Mathematics Course III (Required)
Recommended for sixth grade
Mathematics Course III is designed to build on the skills and concepts learned in Course I, including the standard algorithms for multiplication and long division. Concepts covered include variables and patterns in algebraic thinking, ratios and proportions, integers and rational numbers, three-dimensional measurement, probability, and statistics. The curriculum promotes development of students' understanding of concepts and procedures in a way that also fosters their ability to solve problems, reason, and communicate mathematically.
The second course in science incorporates a variety of hands-on projects designed to solve problems using scientific methods and to further develop research and experimental design skills through science projects. It seeks to further stimulate student interest in a broad range of science subjects. This project- oriented approach to scientific topics includes astronomy, environmental science, geology, and topography. Students are required to complete a science fair project for the junior division of our annual science fair.
Computer Science Fundamentals
This introductory computer science focuses on the basics of computer science and internet safety. Through various “unplugged” activities and simulators provided by Code.org, students will be exposed to the concepts that will help them with future computer science courses. This course will be taught on a quarterly rotation.
This 6th grade course is designed to lay the foundation for a smooth transition into French I in the 7th grade. Designed as a vicarious trip to France, classroom instruction emphasizes oral proficiency and listening comprehension, as well as basic grammatical concepts such as gender, verb conjugations, and agreement. In addition to the general storyline of the course, songs and short oral recitations enhance vocabulary acquisition and introduce more complex structures.
The sixth grade course emphasizes the Roman people and culture and introduces students gradually to the beginning precepts of Latin grammar. Latin vocabulary and English derivatives are also a main emphasis. This course is designed to prepare students for a smooth transition into the faster pace of Level I.
This 6th Grade course is designed to lay the foundation for a smooth transition into Mandarin I. Students will focus on the four key areas of language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students are introduced to phonology and vocabulary themes, grammar concepts, and sentence structure to enrich their linguistic knowledge. They will learn to use basic, simple language related to personal and daily activities, such as greetings, self-introduction, family, dates and time, hobbies, colors, and aspect of Chinese culture. The course actively engages students in completing a variety of activities, practices, tasks and assessments. Through the course, students will begin to develop confidence functioning in a Chinese language and culture environment.
This course is designed to lay the foundation for a smooth transition into Spanish I in the 7th grade. It emphasizes oral proficiency and listening comprehension as well as basic grammatical concepts such as gender, verb conjugations, and agreement. Stories, songs and frequent short oral recitations promote vocabulary acquisition and introduce more complex structures. Instruction is in both Spanish and English, but students are expected to use Spanish whenever possible. This is a novice-low level course.