RIDGEWOOD AVENUE SCHOOL
Glen Ridge School District
SIXTH GRADE CURRICULUM FRAMEWORK PARENT BULLETIN
Dear Parents and Guardians,
At Ridgewood Avenue School we strive to deliver a curriculum that challenges every child while building a solid foundation for future success. Our staff and administrative team work together with students and parents to develop a positive school environment where an exciting place is found for students to learn and grow.
Our students not only receive instruction in the core academic subjects, Mathematics, Language Arts, Science and Social Studies, but they also experience an extensive related arts curriculum that includes Art, Music, Physical Education, Media Skills, World Languages, Synergistics, Technology, Guidance and Health. Each subject area curriculum is reviewed and revised on a five year rotation plan.
Our dedicated highly qualified staff is committed to the goal of academic success and student personal growth. Instruction is delivered with consideration of the various learning styles amongst the students. Technology and character education are integrated in the lessons. We offer numerous enrichment opportunities through assemblies, field trips, clubs, band, chorus and after school courses.
We will continue to work hard to provide a safe and supportive environment that enhances a joy of learning for all of our students.
Michael Donovan, Principal
The sixth grade language arts curriculum encompasses a broad array of opportunities to read, write, listen, and speak, immersing the student in advanced language activities. Employing both a thematic and a genre approach, students explore themes in various forms, such as the novel, the short story, the poem, drama, and non-fictional works such as the essay, journalistic pieces, and letters.
Novels presented in recent years include Crash, TuckEverlasting, The Giver, and Fever 1973, offering a rich background for writing and discussion. Furthermore, a self-selection reading program exposes students to diverse titles, which are formally shared, by students, for students, honing presentation and critiquing skills. Literary analysis is presented for the first time as students read for the additional purpose of understanding story elements; plot development characterization, setting, theme, and tone.
An expansive poetry study inspires love of the language as well as experimentation with creative applications of language and its many forms.
Sixth grade brings new focus on vocabulary skills, emphasizing pronunciation, parts of speech, word families, analogies, syllabication context, and usage. Vocabulary integrated into expressive writing coupled with developing personal style, distinguishes writing as more advanced than previously attempted, and contribution to a strong, student focused, process-oriented program. Daily writing, idea generation drafting, revisions, conferencing, and overall skill development within the context of writing support student growth as critical thinkers, discerning readers, and competent writers.
Sixth graders are actively involved in authentic language activities, which require them to use prior knowledge, investigate, problem-solve, make decisions, and contribute to group learning not only within language arts, but also across all content areas. Study skills appropriate to each grade level are integrated into the curriculum.
The fundamental goal of the series, Math XL and Holt: Mathematics, Course 1, is to provide teachers with the necessary tools and understanding of middle school mathematics to ensure student success at all levels. This program enables teachers to easily differentiate instruction. By implementing the process of scaffolding, the program provides continuous support for challenging work.
The goal of implementing Math XL is to give students immediate feedback during independent practice. Some features of this program include: homework support through work-it out steps and examples, video tutorials (where available), similar practice problems for each question in the assignment, additional practice following completion of the assignment, immediate feedback through grades on assignment and challenge problems.
Throughout the course of the year, students will study the following units; Operations and properties, introduction to algebra, decimals, number theory and fractions, fraction operations, data collection and
analysis, proportional relationships, geometric relationships, measurement and geometry, measurement: area and volume, integers and the coordinate plane, graphs, functions, and inequalities.
Sixth grade science students are exposed to all of the major areas of science and how they relate to one another through a varitey of resources. At this level, students learn that science is found in everything and it can be applied and discussed in all of their academic subjects. The course begins with a discussion of what role our Earth plays in the universe and in our own solar system. They identify what other celestial bodies exist and how they affect our existence on our planet. The culminiation of our astronomy unit is a trip to Buehler Challenger Science Center to complete the mission of the Challenger crew.
Since the universe holds the answer to our existence, the students learn about atomic structure, bonding of atoms, and matter in general. The students learn about the characteristics of life from the cellular level. From the cell they find that organisms create the various plants and animals that inhabit the Earth. The biological aspect of science is discussed and explanations are made that the cell would not be able to survive without the chemical properties and reactions that are vital for existence. From here the students will study how living organisms inherit traits from their parents and how genertics make us who we are.
Dissection transports the students into the kinesthetic learning that enables them to more fully engage in the subject matter being studied. The hands-on approach allows the students to see, touch, and explore a mollusk.
At the completion of this course in sixth grade science, all students will take with them some knowledge of biology, chemistry, earth science, and physics.
The sixth grade social studies curriculum, including the MacMillan/McGraw-Hill text, is divided into two units. The first unit immerses students into the world of Geography. Physical Geography may emphasize North America, but it also takes the student around the world. We concentrate on what Noth america has to offer. Human Goegraphy focuses on culture, economy, and governments. This journey focuses on basic principals of economic activity and a variety of differnt forms of governments. Sixth graders, at all achievement levels, are captivated and challenged by this multi-media, multiple intelligence approach to discovering a global village of culture.
The second unit dives into US History. The sixth graders travel back in time to the creation of the country. The lanterns are lit. The malitia has been called up. The American Revolution is upon us. We start with the brave founding fathers signing the Declaration of Independence. After our victory we sift through the differences of opinions and discover the US Constitution. We conclude our unit with the events that unify the nation and give birth to our National Anthem, The War of 1812. As the sixth graders take this journey they will be completing brochures, presentations, timelines, and taking notes so future Americans can relive the past.
Technology Integration is designed to give 6th grade students a solid foundation in various computer program and applications. The aim of this course is to deepen students’ understanding and use of basic software programs and the internet. Students are exposed to all of the Google applications including, Docs, Slides, Drawing, Calendar, Classroom and Gmail. As well an understanding of the district Acceptable Use Policy which includes the use of Chromebooks, which are provided for each sixth grade student.
Sixth graders will be exposed many areas including, keyboarding, basic file management and digital organizational skills. They become proficient and understand list of common technology terms. Additionally, computer coding is explored where the students use functions, conditionals and code and create a simple digital game.
Units of study also include computer literacy & digital citizenship skills. Students will develop strategies to properly deal with cyber security issues, communicate safely using proactive techniques while online or while using social media. Furthermore, the students will develop strong skills as well as increased public speaking skills while presenting projects to their peers and teachers.
Physical education is part of a school-based program that promotes social, emotional, and physical well-being. The purpose of physical education is to develop and enhance gross motor skills, social and life skills, and the learner's thinking and problem solving skills.
Sixth grade physical education encompasses teaching students the skills related to lifetime fitness, team and individual sports, the art of movement, and dance. A focus is placed on increasing muscular strength, cardio-respiratory endurance, flexibility and agility based on physical fitness assessment. These skills are taught through a variety of units including soccer, basketball, floor hockey, volleyball, movement and dance, track and field, and softball.
The purpose of health education is to provide information and develop skills, attitudes, and behaviors that will result in life-long healthy decisions. It is concerned with the students' physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being.
Some of the other topics that are covered include tobacco and alcohol education, drugs, introduction to HIV/AIDS, and the reproductive system. Another part of our curriculum is the DARE program conducted by our Glen Ridge DARE officers. This program helps to reinforce good choices and refusal skills, and to further promote life-long healthy decisions.
The 6th grade Spanish curriculum begins with discussing school life, classroom objects, and activities within the school. After a steady marking period of being able to identify vocabulary and describe people and situations, students are exposed to verb conjugations in the present tense. Students are now able to express themselves in 1st, 2nd and 3rd person. The other units of focus included in the world languages program are discussing vacation plans and destinations, using expressions needed when traveling as a foreign exchange student, and interacting with appropriate responses in a restaurant.
Students in grade six are expected to communicate verbally and through their writing. Students are asked to use all four components of language: listening, speaking, writing, and reading, in order to be able to communicate in an effective manner. Pictures, stuffed animals, gestures, acting, and music help to convey meaning and reduce or even eliminate the necessity for direct translation. In the 6th grade, students are able to comprehend extensive dialogue in a movie or story, and even create dialogues and skits using concepts learned throughout the school year.
In addition to language, the Spanish program includes the study of different cultural practices. Students are exposed to the history, lifestyle, art and music of various Spanish-speaking countries. Projects are worked on outside of the classroom focusing on cultural activities; and specific cultural lessons are taught in class. The goal is to instill a life-long appreciation for language and culture.
The curriculum for music in sixth grade is divided into three sections. The first section, general music, is taken by all sixth grade students. In this class, students learn the basics of listening to, performing, writing, and appreciating music.
The second section of music offered to sixth graders is the choral program. This is a performing ensemble that meets twice a week before school. The chorus consists of students of all ages, grades and abilities. The main focus of this ensemble is reading music and performing.
The last section of music available to the sixth grade is the instrumental program. There are two bands at this school currently, an advanced band and a beginner band. The beginner band is for all first year instrumental students. They perform one concert a year in the spring with the advanced band. The Advanced Band is available for anyone wishing to audition during the year. There are currently students in fourth, fifth and sixth grades in this ensemble. The advanced band performs two concerts, one in the winter and the other in the spring. All instrumentalists receive one music lesson a week during the school year.
Sixth grade art students continue to gain expertise with the Visual Literacy components of the Principles and Elements of Design and with the Entry Point Approach based on Multiple Intelligences Theory. Students will have numerous opportunities to use these design basics and composition rules to articulate two-dimensional and three-dimensional visual representations. Students will also continue to learn to write about art and critique their work, incorporating history and aesthetics as well as production. Students will have a great balance of producing and exploring art for a communicative purpose and interdisciplinary purpose and art for the sake of art.
Students are encouraged to transfer their learned skills and knowledge with their creative process in art class such as perseverance, concentration, divergent/creative thinking, critical thinking, and mindful thinking to their other academic content areas and real life situations. The sixth grade curriculum uses the New Jersey State Core Content Standards as a base for instruction. Students consistently have the opportunity and are encouraged to go beyond standard criteria.
With an ever-increasing demand for and usage of technology today, the Synergistics Lab offers students a hands-on experience utilizing technology tools to explore topics in physical and life science. Appropriate yet high tech gear, computers, videotapes and hands-on lab experiences guide students' learning. Problem solving strategies are an integral part of all eleven modules and apply to other classroom activities.
The Synergistics Lab was donated to the school through the generosity of the Glen Ridge Educational Foundation.