Worcester’s premier college-preparatory co-ed day school serving students from Central MA and MetroWest, Pre-K–Grade 12
Academics

HGP: Grade 6 Courses

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English

In English 6, skill development in reading fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, and literary analysis helps sixth graders transition to higher levels of inferential thinking.

Continuing to access the three main components of our literacy curriculum from fifth grade — Orton-Gillingham, Reading Workshop, and Writing Workshop — students begin to develop independence and a sense of purpose in their reading and writing while gaining the necessary skills for critical thinking and communication. Building upon the Reading Workshop model in Lower School, students continue to strengthen their comprehension skills while also focusing on the mechanics of reading.

Over the summer, students will read the Middle School Common Read, as well as at least two books from the sixth grade Summer Reading list. Students continue by later examining novels that explore personal struggle and triumph in the context of historical fiction reflecting the Civil War era and industrialization.

Throughout the year, students will engage in reading circles and discussions exploring a variety of texts to become strategic and thoughtful readers, and reflect upon the literature from both the reader’s and writer’s standpoint. Each sixth grader is required to write about their reading in journals and discuss their responses in small and large groups. In order to build habits to become a lifelong reader, students also read a book of their own choosing for 20 minutes each night. Students explore vocabulary in context and through a morphology study of both Latin and Greek roots and the affixes that can alter word meaning.

Writing is another vital aspect of the sixth grade curriculum. Utilizing various texts and resources through Writing Workshop, students will explore who they are as writers through poetry, speeches, dialogues, letters, and multi-paragraph compositions. Students continue in their study of grammatical conventions including parts of speech, punctuation rules, sentence work, and homonyms.

Abundant in-class writing time allows for individual teacher-student conferences to support writers in the writing process. Guidance through these steps, as well as the variety of assistive technology available, makes writing a comfortable and exciting form of self-expression.

While developing independence and a sense of purpose in their reading and writing, students will gain the necessary skills for critical thinking and communication.

Mathematics

The focus of the sixth grade curriculum is a deep understanding of the how and why of the math we are learning. Students will build their math understanding and learn to apply their skills to problem-solving situations and use various estimation techniques to check reasonableness.

 

Students will move through the concepts throughout the year following a concrete – pictorial – abstract method.  This stretches from common factors and common multiples early in the year, through fractional operations, rates, ratios, and percents.  If time allows, students will engage with geometry and start some pre-algebra topics.

 

In addition to the current curriculum, students will spend time completing challenging problems and projects that incorporate multiple concepts in one activity. These may include: Create a Floor Plan, Design a Quilt, and Budgeting for Vacation. Students will spend class time investigating these concepts using fun activities.

Students are typically sectioned by their pacing abilities, and the HGP teacher accompanies students who need added support in math class.

History

Worcester-Based U.S. History

Students often learn best when they are able to make connections with familiar people, places, customs, and traditions. Several years ago, we decided to utilize that notion and created a History class that uses Worcester as a springboard to learn about American History. Believe it or not, Worcester was at the forefront of many of the great events and trends of American History:

  • The Industrial Revolution began along the banks of the Blackstone River. 
  • The first National Women’s Rights Convention met in Brinley Hall on Main Street. 
  • Famous abolitionists, including Frederick Douglass, spoke here knowing that the ears of the nation were listening. 
  • A flood of immigrants helped to change and shape Worcester into the city it is today.

Students will examine questions like: What impact did Worcester have on American History? How does the history of Worcester mirror the History of America? How does the past affect my present? 

Students will take notes, research various topics, write outlines and essays, work with maps, use various computer applications, create posters, and interpret a wide variety of historical sources. Current events are also an important part of our class. Every few weeks we will take a day or two off from our normal studies and focus on the news of the nation and world.

We will take field trips to museums and historical sites, integrate technology in our research and class activities, and have speakers come to class with the goal of making history come alive.

The Blackstone Valley Exposition (BVE) is a group project that combines all subject areas with a focus on the environmental, cultural, and historical aspects of the Blackstone River Valley. Students research their topic, interview an expert, write a speech, create a Keynote, and present their work during the BVE evening event.

It is our hope that by developing the students’ sense of place, they will gain personal understanding of their community, which will cultivate a lifelong love of learning and a deeper understanding of the world in a larger context.

Science

Life Science/Biology

Welcome to 6th Grade Life Science!  This is a biology class where we will explore a variety of living things from microorganisms to the human body. We will delve into a progression of life science topics, including:  the scientific method, characteristics of living things, microscopes, plants, cells, genetics, human reproduction, and evolution.

Learning Skills Objectives
Each student will:

  • Be resourceful and self-sufficient.
  • Be taught in and express their knowledge in a variety of ways: Verbal/Linguistic; Kinesthetic/Bodily; Visual/Spatial; Interpersonally/Intrapersonally
  • Work together in a cooperative manner.
  • Strive for improvement in all skills:  learning and scientific.
  • Be given opportunities to use several cognitive styles:  concrete, analytical, integrative and evaluative.

Scientific Skills Objectives
Students will learn and practice skills that will enable them to gather data and think about it themselves. These skills include:

  • Observing, Hypothesizing/Predicting, Classification, Experimental design, Analysis,
  • Inference, Interpretation, Compare & Contrast, Summarizing, Synthesis, Evaluation
Our Class Atmosphere
Be reliable, respectful, and responsible.

Visual Arts

Our objectives in this year's art class will be to develop students' skills in creative and analytical thinking and to develop fine motor skills in 2- and 3-dimensional design, graphics, color, and drawing.

Students will be encouraged to develop an appreciation of art and its history and interdisciplinary nature.

We will cover the following units:

DESIGN

  • Logo and stamp design

DRAWING

  • Using the right side of the brain
  • Contour drawings of plants using charcoal and pencil
  • Still life drawing using different media
  • Pastel drawing

INTERCURRICULAR

  • Roman culture
  • Paper mosaics
  • Perspective architectural drawings

PERSPECTIVE

  • Drawings of buildings using pencils, t-squares, rulers, and color

COLOR THEORY / 3D

  • History of African, Halloween , and Mardi Gras masks
  • Mask construction using plaster and assorted materials
  • Puppet construction
  • Introduction to abstract sculpture

Length of Instructional Time:  One 90-minute and four 45-minute classes per six-day rotation

Length of Course: One quarter of the year

Health

Sixth grade health, part of the Arts rotation, focuses on healthy behaviors. We will explore the science behind how behavior affects health, including learning about behavioral scientists and mental health professionals.

As a class, we will learn the importance of an energy balance in our bodies, and taking care of our muscles, bones, and skin.

We will also discuss the effects of alcohol and tobacco on the body, and the science behind drug abuse.

Physical Education

September-November:

  • Adventure
  • FitnessField
  • Hockey/Pickle ball
November-December:
  • Ball Game Activities
January-February
  • Basketball
  • Floor Hockey
March
  • Jump Rope/Scooter Games
April-May
  • Adventure
  • Fitness
  • Field Hockey/Pickle ball
May
  • Mini Olympics

Music

Music class in sixth grade has three areas of skill development: reading music, listening to music, and performing on handbells.

Texts include Practical Theory by Sandy Feldstein and a notebook of listening assignments coordinated with a CD that provides carefully selected musical examples from the Western classical, jazz, and world music traditions.

Sixth grade students perform on handbells at Middle School assemblies and at the Winter and Spring Concerts.

Drama

In sixth grade drama, we read and perform several short plays, as well as sections from classic, full-length dramas.

Students develop strong creative skills including directing small groups, becoming more comfortable with cold readings, memorizing short pieces, and perfecting performance techniques.

Every student will have many opportunities to act, direct, and organize small groups.

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