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The Hewitt School Curriculum Overview 2013-2014 Grade 6 English

Pg. 1

Foreign Language

Pg. 2

History

Pg. 5

Physical Education

Pg. 6

Math

Pg. 7

Science

Pg. 9

Technology

Pg. 10

Performing Arts

Pg. 12

Visual Arts

Pg. 15


English 6 Course Description: The sixth grade English curriculum complements the study of American history in social studies, giving students another lens on the diverse stories that define a nation. The texts vary from the sonnet collection by Elizabeth Alexander and Marilyn Nelson, which vividly reimagines the historical account of Miss Crandall’s School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color, to Laurie Halse Anderson’s historical novel Fever 1793. Students use process writing and other writing to learn strategies to develop close reading and interpretative skills and to explore how to expand ideas in a longer piece. Writers’ Workshop is folded into the curriculum, giving students an opportunity to explore different topics in a writing journal and to choose pieces to develop into more formal genres, including fiction, poetry, and essay. Instruction in grammar and vocabulary decoding skills continues throughout the year and in the context of student reading and writing. Class presentations, debates, and discussion rooted in reflective writing enhance students’ confidence as public speakers.

Topics of Investigation and Rationale:

The 6th grade English curriculum underscores the character and conviction of young women who passionately rise to the challenges of their time. The first semester introduces students to Kit in The Witch of Blackbird Pond, a free-spirited girl, fresh from Barbados, who moves to a Puritan colony where she must both adapt and remain true to herself. From there, the students meet Maddie Cook, whose city and family are devastated by the yellow fever epidemic, and who must struggle against the hardships of illness and a treacherous escape. In the second semester, 6th grade scholars embark on an 1800’s maritime journey from England to America in The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. Through the heroine’s account, students discover what life is like as the only girl on a ship full of pirates, who proves herself their equal in strength and determination. Finally, in a book of sonnets, students explore a school in which the founding members are young women of color who must fight for their right to an education. These inspiring stories invite exciting and thoughtful reflection. Students develop their reading comprehension all year through their responses to the texts: journals, annotations, class discussions, quizzes, and essays. While writing and revising, students receive daily instruction and support in mechanics, organization, and clarity.

Educational Resources: Alexander, Elizabeth, and Marilyn Nelson. Miss Crandall’s School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color: Poems. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong, 2007. Print.

Anderson, Laurie Halse. Fever, 1793. New York: Simon & Schuster for Young Readers, 2000. Print Avi. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. New York: Orchard, 1990. Print. Grammar and Language Workbook. New York, NY: Glencoe McGraw-Hill, 2000. Print. Speare, Elizabeth George. Witch of Blackbird Pond. New York: Yearling Book, 1986. Print.

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French 6 Course Description: In the sixth grade, students of French learn strategies and skills for accurate communication through grammar, poetry, plays, technology, art, and art history. Emphasis is placed on the spoken language, and students are encouraged to use French consistently in the class. Grammar is emphasized, with particular topics including the conjugation of –ir and –re verbs in the present tense, the past tense of regular and irregular verbs, and an introduction to the imperative mood. We will also be focusing on the 6th grade theme for the year: “Who am I?” through our class reading of Pauvre Anne.

Topics of Investigation and Rationale: Semester I:    

General review of material covered previously. Vocabulary, grammar, and culture related to the themes of textbook Unit 3, “Une Nouvelle Sortie,” and Unit 4, “De Nouvelles aventures.” (each unit contains two lessons.) Before going to Black Rock with the grade, we will do a brief unit on cave drawings that were discovered in France, Les Grottes de Lascaux. For each unit there is a theme, that we will explore in a bit more depth. Some include French cartoon books and Canada .

Semester II    

Vocabulary, grammar, and culture related to the themes of Adosphère 2 Literature: Pauvre Anne, small sections of Le Bourgeois gentilhomme, and poetry. Project: describe your ideal leisure activity. Project: role-playing of ordering a meal in a French restaurant.

Educational Resources:     

Denisot, H : Super Max 2- Méthode de français/Cahier d’Activités Himber, C : Adosphère 1-Méthode de français/Cahier d’activités Pauvre Anne, Le Bourgeois gentilhomme, bandes dessiné, et poésie Internet resources associated with the textbook : www.classzone.com. Age-appropriate excerpts of different French films.

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Spanish 6 Course Description: Students learn vocabulary and grammar in appropriate contexts through an oral approach (conversation and listening) and a written approach (reading and writing). A range of grammatical concepts is introduced, such as transitive and intransitive verbs and direct and indirect object pronouns. Throughout the year, the cultural aspects of Spanish-speaking countries are emphasized by reading articles and literary extracts and by listening to songs.

Topics of Investigation and Rationale: Semester I:  Comprehensive review of vocabulary and grammar studied in the 5th grade in order to consolidate all the concepts, especially the grammatical structures such as verb conjugations in the present for some irregular and –ar verbs, possessive adjectives, contractions al and del, expressing future plans with Ir a + infinitive and expressing obligation with tener que + infinitive.  Study new vocabulary about food and beverage at a café and at the market or supermarket, in order to be able to order at a café or restaurant, and shop for food; also vocabulary about sports, more specifically about soccer, baseball and basketball.  Study new grammatical structures: -er and –ir verb conjugations in the present tense, stem-changing verbs e-ie and o-ue, and special verbs gustar, interesar and aburrir.  Read and discuss texts about the difference between foods from some Spanish-speaking countries; about markets and supermarkets in the Hispanic world; about the metric system and about popular sports and popular Spanish-speaking athletes.  Audio practice on the topics mentioned above, online activities, along with authentic material from websites and songs.

Semester II:      

Study vocabulary about health; describing minor illnesses, feelings; going to the doctor’s office and the pharmacy. Study new grammatical structures: indirect object pronouns and uses of the verbs ser and estar. Read and discuss texts about the topics mentioned above. Audio practice on the studied topics, online activities, along with authentic material from websites and songs. Reading study: Pobre Ana Project: Spanish-speaking countries presentation.

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Educational Resources:    

J. Schmitt, Conrad. ¿Cómo te va? Part A. Audio/Video and Online material. Glencoe – 2007, Columbus, OH. Ray, Blaine. Pobre Ana. Ray Blaine Workshops. 1999. USA. http://glencoe.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0078271495/ www.quizlet.com/user/rvelez

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History Course Description: What does it mean to be an American? History 6 is a chronological and theme-based exploration of early American history. Combining a traditional linear approach with project-based learning, students investigate America’s struggle to establish a national identity. We begin with a study of pre-contact Native peoples and the uniquely American meeting of three cultures—Native, European, and African. Topics include the regional Native Americans of New York, the Age of Global Encounters, the Thirteen English Colonies, the American Revolution, the US Constitution, Western Expansion, Slavery and the Abolitionists, and the Civil War and Reconstruction. Throughout the course, students wrestle with concepts of culture, change, and community. Students will have fall and spring projects exploring the Salem Witch Trials and the Civil War.

Investigation and Rationale: This course is designed to examine the roots of the American Experience. Students will study primary source documents, among other resources, and engage in interdisciplinary activities. Guided by essential questions, students will make predictions, debate ideas, collect and analyze data, draw conclusions, and communicate their findings to others in a variety of ways. Particular attention will be paid to writing as a tool for exploring, describing, and analyzing. Students will learn research skills such as synthesizing information from a variety of sources and using simple citation.

Educational Resources: Davidson, James West. Prentice Hall America: History of Our Nation: Beginnings through 1877. Hakim, Joy. A History of Us. The Nystrom Atlas of Our Country’s History. National Geographic Reading Expeditions: Two Cultures Meet, Colonial Life, The Age of Inventions, and The Industrial Revolution. "Curriculum | Stanford History Education Group." Curriculum | Stanford History Education Group. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Sept. 2012. http://sheg.stanford.edu/node/45. "UH - Digital History." UH - Digital History. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Sept. 2012. http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/.

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Physical Education Grade 6: In grades 6 physical education curriculum focuses on each student's continuous development of physical fitness attributes and movement skills, and sports concepts. The program features a spiraling curriculum, in which sports units are repeated each year with new skills and strategies introduced to build upon material previously covered. Five themes are central to the program: fitness-related concepts, striking, throwing and catching, and team sports strategies. The units are: fitness and nutrition, volleyball, soccer, basketball, badminton, track & field, and team handball. Students are given opportunities to develop leadership and to work in small groups to solve problems or accomplish tasks. Diverse capabilities and social needs of individual students are addressed in the physical education program. Through purposeful learning activities, students are guided to refine motor, social, and intellectual skills which promote a fit and active lifestyle for the future.

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Advanced Mathematics 6 Course Description: In sixth grade Advanced Mathematics, the students begin by solidifying their methods of calculation and continue developing their algebraic skills. Students perform operations with whole numbers, decimals, and fractions before progressing to operations with negative numbers. The class then progresses to a study of proportions, unit rates, and percent change followed by a discussion of measurement and units and a detailed unit on geometry. Students develop their algebraic skills by solving two-step algebraic equations and inequalities. An in-depth exploration into statistics and probability will also occur in the spring. Class activities range from completing practice work to participating in small labs and problem-solving scenarios. Investigations from the Connected Mathematics series are integrated when appropriate. To target the development of problem solving skills, Advanced Mathematics students will also participate in a once-a-week, intensive problem solving workshop. This supplement will highlight real-world applications, collaboration, and the development of strategies for approaching a wide range of math challenges.

Topics of Investigation and Rationale: In the first semester of advanced sixth grade mathematics, students begin to expand and solidify their understanding of foundation skills with integers, decimals, fractions, exponents, and order of operations. Students will be expected to apply these skills to problem solving based questions that stretch their thinking and challenge them to think divergently. Beyond the solution, emphasis will be placed on process and comprehension and students will be encouraged to take risks and try new methods of solving problems. Students will also be exposed to algebraic thinking through solving equations and inequalities. In the second semester, students will use their foundation of understanding to delve further into mathematical thinking through exploration of more advanced topics including rates, ratios, and percents, measurement, patterns, statistics, and probability. A unit on geometry will also be covered and will explore polygons and circles, as well as area, perimeter, and circumference. Throughout the year, students will be asked to problem solve both individually and in small groups. Beyond review of homework and formal quizzes and tests, students will also be assessed through their contributions to group work and discussion, as well as through their work on larger projects that will necessitate skills learned throughout the year.

Educational Resources:       

Charles, Randall I. Mathematics Course 2. Boston, MA: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2010. Print. Charles, Randall I. Mathematics Course 2: All-In-One Student Workbook A. Boston, MA: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2010. Print. Lappan, Glenda. Connected Mathematics 2. Boston, MA: Pearson, 2009. Print. http://illuminations.nctm.org/ http://www.funbrain.com http://pbskids.org/cyberchase/math-games/ http://www.khanacademy.org

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Mathematics 6 Course Description: The goal of sixth grade mathematics is to create an environment in which students see and understand math as an integral and interesting part of life. The course reviews the basic facts of addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication of whole numbers, decimals, and fractions. Students also work on graphing and statistics; algebra; geometry and measurement; percent, ratio, and proportion; and probability. To target the development of problem solving skills, all sixth grade math students will focus on real-world applications, collaboration, and the development of strategies for approaching a wide range of math challenges.

Topics of Investigation and Rationale: In the first semester of sixth grade mathematics, students begin to expand and solidify their understanding of foundation skills with integers, decimals, fractions, exponents, and order of operations. Students will be expected to apply these skills to problem solving based questions that stretch their thinking and challenge them to think divergently. Beyond the solution, emphasis will be placed on process and comprehension and students will be encouraged to take risks and try new methods of solving problems. Students will also be exposed to algebraic thinking through solving equations and inequalities. In the second semester, students will use their foundation of understanding to delve further into mathematical thinking through exploration of more advanced topics including rates, ratios, and percents, measurement, and probability. A unit on geometry will also be covered and will explore polygons and circles, as well as area, perimeter, and circumference. Throughout the year, students will be asked to problem solve both individually and in small groups. Beyond review of homework and formal quizzes and tests, students will also be assessed through their contributions to group work and discussion, as well as through their work on larger projects that will necessitate skills learned throughout the year.

Educational Resources:       

Charles, Randall I. Mathematics Course 2. Boston, MA: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2010. Print. Charles, Randall I. Mathematics Course 2: All-In-One Student Workbook B. Boston, MA: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2010. Print. Lappan, Glenda. Connected Mathematics 2. Boston, MA: Pearson, 2009. Print. http://illuminations.nctm.org/ http://www.funbrain.com http://pbskids.org/cyberchase/math-games/ http://www.khanacademy.org

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Science 6 Course Description: Sixth grade science provides a project-based approach to science, with a strong emphasis on problem solving and the development of laboratory skills. The topics, which draw from both biological and physical sciences, establish the necessary foundation for seventh and eighth grade science. One of the overall goals of the course is for students to recognize the necessary intersections between the physical and the biological sciences. In order to accomplish this, topics will be presented in tandem. For example, as students investigate the structure and functions of the eye, they will also learn about properties and behaviors of light. In this way investigations into the nervous system, open the door for a deeper understanding of physics.

Topics of Investigation and Rationale: The course begins with a refresher on the scientific method. Students will design original experiments and present their finds to the class. As a special addition, student will make predictions based on their data and will compare these findings with mathematical models developed by 12th grade Hewitt students in Advanced Problem Solving. The relationship between physics and biology is then introduced through an exploration of the nervous system in conjunction with electricity. Robotics and programing will also be employed as a means of understanding the pathways of the nervous system and the ways that living things respond to the environment. Additional units will explore waves and energy in the context of light and sound, as well as a unit on forces and motion linked to the study of bones and muscles.

Educational Resources:  

Dumas, L. and W. Lamb. Forces, Motion, and Energy. Holt Science & Technology: 2007. Padilla, M., I. Miaoulis, and M. Cyr. Human Biology and Health. Prentice Hall Science Explorer: 2009.

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Digital Literacy 6 Course Description: The technology program in middle school focuses on project-based work throughout the different disciplines, whereby students acquire the skills necessary to use appropriate software and incorporate that knowledge into final projects and presentations. This course emphasizes skill building, critical thinking, ethical discussion, and decision making. Students will learn how to use tools for writing, presenting and analyzing data. They will also explore how to present themselves online; and deepen their knowledge of the Internet for research purposes. In addition, students learn responsible and safe use of technology at school and at home.

Topics of Investigation and Rationale:

Students will learn there are exciting places to go online, but that they should choose safe, age appropriate sites, as safety is of paramount importance. In addition to safety, reviewing security procedures on handling spam, creating strong passwords, and understanding privacy policies will be covered to help students keep their information secure online. Digital citizenship is an area where students need guidance. How do they present themselves? How should we analyze the upside and downsides of social media outlets? The ethics of online communities, is a complex topic, one that is needed to combat cyberbullying. Researching the web has evolved exponentially over the last decade and much has changed. Students will learn how to identify high-quality websites and explore different search options. (Adapted by Digital Literacy and Citizenship – Common Sense Media)

Educational Resources:  

http://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/educate-families http://www.commonsensemedia.org//educators/curriculum/grades-6-8

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Middle School Choir Course Description: The Sixth Grade Choir is part of the Hewitt School’s graded choral program and builds on skills developed in the Lower School, expanding students’ vocal repertoire, technique, and performance skills. Repertoire is chosen from variety of genres, from the 13th century to the present, with an emphasis on Western art music: traditional folk songs, art songs, and musical theatre. Global song is used to expand the curriculum whenever possible. Thorough instruction in proper breathing technique, proper posture, vocal production in the bel canto tradition of singing, and effective performance technique are the core of each class. Music literacy is a goal of the middle school choir as all students are expected to be able to navigate a multi-part vocal score effectively. All-school performances at the Middle/Upper School Fall Concert, the All-School Holiday Concert and the Middle School/Upper School Spring Concert, all performed at the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church.

Topics of Investigation and Rationale: The first semester will allow the development of a rigorous and effective rehearsal technique. Ample time each class will be spent on proper body positioning for singing, deep breathing exercises, vocal warm ups, and music literacy. Sight singing excerpts are from the current repertoire to maximize effectiveness. Whenever possible, students will learn about the historical context and develop a cross-curricular understanding of their repertoire. Once the rehearsal technique of the first semester becomes second nature, less emphasis can be placed on breathing and posture instruction. Further time can be spent working toward students’ comprehensive music literacy. Further exploration in the unison art song repertoire, musical theatre repertoire, spirituals, and global song will allow each the choir to perform a mini-concert for their peers or in the larger community, as well a fine performance on the Middle/Upper School Spring Concert.

Educational Resources:  

Anthems and Octavos from the Hewitt Music Library Experiencing Choral Music, 2nd edition.

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Middle School Handbell Choir Course Description: The Sixth Grade handbell choir is a survey performance ensemble which extends and develops the work that students began in the fifth grade handbell choir. The group will rehearse and perform literature written or transcribed for handbell choir from the twelfth century to the present. The class centers on process, with a large portion of rehearsal devoted to the procedures needed to decipher written sheet music and realize it for performance. The class culminates in two concerts at the end of each semester, for which the students rehearse throughout the year.

Topics of Investigation and Rationale: The middle school handbell choir begins by exploring proper handbell technique, including basic ringing techniques and extended techniques. Students will concurrently develop their facility as music readers, with emphasis placed on memorization of the pitches on the grand staff and rhythmic notation up to and including whole, half, quarter and eighth note rhythms. Each class will begin with a sight reading exercise, after which the choir will rehearse the selections for the fall and winter concerts. Students are assessed in daily participation grades and on monthly music reading, rhythm skills and performance technique rubrics. Grading and assessment is done both via CourseWeb and during rehearsal. The difficulty of the musical selections is noticeably increased during the second semester, taking advantage of the larger rehearsal period prior to the Spring Concert. Special emphasis is placed on meter and rhythm studies, with the note values studied expanded to include all dotted rhythms and ties. The grading system will continue as in first semester.

Educational Resources:     

Five-octave set of Schulmerich Handbells Three-octave set of Yamaha tone chimes Various Existing Sheet Music from the pre-Renaissance period to the present, AHM Levels 3 to 5 Compositions and arrangements by the instructor Notation software: Noteflight (freeware, download)

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Drama 6 Course Description: The sixth grade drama class primarily seeks to give the students tools for self-expression through improvisation, physical exploration of space, character development and interaction with other students. In improvisation games, the students learn to trade ideas and to tell stories. Through character development the students will learn how to express themselves and to communicate through a character. Learning theatre history, acting exercises, scene work, both of pre-existent scenes and scenes that the students have composed and improvised the students learn the basic concepts of theatre. The ultimate goal of the class is to have the students create a traveling Commedia dell’ Arte troupe and perform for their peers.

Topics of Investigation and Rationale: The students in the sixth grade drama elective will develop skills in character development, improvisational skills, collaboration work, acting terminology and Theatre history. They will gain confidence in themselves and experience the success of performing improvs as an ensemble for their peers. With warm-ups every day, basic improv games, character development, sensorial exploration and collaboration work, the students in the end of the trimester will have rehearsed and collaborated on skits and stock characters creating a traveling acting troupe.

Educational Resources: Text(s)       

Kids Take the Stage - Linka Peterson & Dan O’Connor The Ultimate Improv Book- Edward J Nevraumont and Nicholas P. Hanson Theater Games for the Classroom – Viola Spolin Improv, An Handbook for the Actor- Greg Atkins Theatre Through the Ages- Michael Kramme, Ph.D The Italian Comedy- Pierre Louis Ducharte DRAMA RESOURCE presents: TEACHING COMMEDIA D’ELL ARTE © David Farmer 2012

Related Websites Learn Improv: http://www.learnimprov.com/ Educational Theater Association: http://www.edta.org/adult_html.asp History of Commedia del Arte http://www.davidclaudon.com/arte/commedia.html

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Arts Rotation 6 Course Description: Sixth grade art students will explore the theme "Who Am I?" in a variety of mediums. Girls will learn that "art is communication" by working on projects that are visual interpretations of their thoughts and feelings. Projects include; "Words," which allow each student to incorporate the words that are descriptive and meaningful in her life, in a pop art-style graphic piece, and "Self Portrait Still Life," which is a three dimensional assemblage made up of each girl's own meaningful objects that she has collected. Sketchbooks are used on a daily basis to encourage the habit of keeping a visual diary.

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Studio Art 6 Course Description: Studio Art 6 encourages students to develop their technical and creative skills in a series of lessons that involve a variety of media and an increasing personal voice.

Topics of Investigation and Rationale: Students begin the semester with a close emphasis on the practice of observational contour drawing using simple objects, working from their eyes and not preconceptions, to see edges and shapes. They will then practice seeing and representing the shapes and colors of a fruit still life. Next, they will integrate their work with their history studies by using the themes of two classic early American paintings for creative paintings of their own, reflecting their personal experience and vision. Finally, they will consider strong positive/negative design principles in designing and crafting a ceramic tile mosaic.

Educational Resources: Metropolitan Museum paintings: Washington Crossing the Delaware, Peaceable Kingdom History of mosaic design, especially Roman examples

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Grade 6 curriculum overview 2013 2014