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TOWER HILL SCHOOL Middle School Curriculum 2012-2013 Â Middle School Grade 6 Curriculum

English 6

Sixth Grade English stresses development of students’ written and oral expression. Writing instruction begins with cohesive paragraph development and expands to the five-paragraph essay. Students develop creative writing strategies and draft creative stories that illustrate an understanding of characterization, setting, theme and conflict. Students recite and create poetry with emphasis on vivid language and the use of poetic devices. Parts of speech, sentence structure and variety, and punctuation are reviewed during class and articulated in students’ writing.

Reading 6

Sixth grade reading class emphasizes student enjoyment of literature with a read-to-write approach to instruction. The class includes guided reading instruction utilizing a variety of strategies that promote reflection, discussion, and critical thinking. Collaborative activities that focus on daily class discussion, oral fluency, and peer interaction are stressed. The class includes some project based final evaluations requiring the synthesis of information to create to new product (soliloquy, epilogue, myth, puppet show, poem, etc.). Additional emphasis includes literature-based vocabulary units and individual free reading logs.

Math 6

In sixth grade, students review decimal and fraction operations, including work with greatest common factors and least common multiples. New topics include operations with integers, equations and inequalities, ratios and proportions, percents, geometry and probability. Students continue to use the calculator as a problem-solving tool.

History 6

The sixth grade history course traces man's development through the ancient and classical civilizations of Mesopotamia, China, India, Greece and Rome. To conclude the year, the students study Africa and Europe in the Middle Ages, and the Age of Revolutions in Europe. The basic ideas of the six social sciences are reinforced as well as study skills and research skills.

Science 6

Sixth grade scientists study a broad range of topics in the physical science realm. Matter, sound, the history of science, electronics and electricity, and rocketry are some of the units we investigate. These topics present many opportunities for hands-on experimentation and careful observations. The materials are simple yet inviting, and students will often work in cooperative learning groups. One of the overlying objectives of this course is to reinforce and practice the steps of the scientific method in our discovery process. Another major goal is to introduce the important relationship between math and science. Students learn to apply mathematical formulas to make predictions about changes in experimental variables. Special projects that allow students to apply their new knowledge are an integral part of the curriculum.

Middle School Curriculum ~ Grade 6 ~ 2012-2013


Language 6

Sixth graders take a trimester each of Latin, French and Spanish. Through interactive activities and projects, stories, songs and skits, students become more familiar with the culture, vocabulary and grammar of the three languages offered in the Upper School. Students learn more about the varied spelling and pronunciation patterns in languages. After the rotation of exploratory language courses in 6th grade, students will be well prepared to make their choice for more formal language study beginning in 7th grade.

Art 6

The Tower Hill sixth grader is exposed to a wide range of creative processes including clay slab construction, cardboard and plaster-gauze sculpture. Each student steps out of his/her comfort zone, yet inevitably finds a process or technique that resonates deeply with him/her. The subjects of the art projects are wide ranging from a pro-model skateboard graphic to Sea/Land/Sky-scape, to mythological creature. The art program provides each student with an opportunity to find his or her unique voice.

Computer 6

The sixth grade computer curriculum is designed to teach computer software skills that students will need to use in core subjects. These skills will be introduced and reviewed in mini lessons and then applied to real life applications. The students will continue to work with Google Documents and our online Typing Club program. This is the same program utilized in fifth grade and it is web based and does not require any downloads. The web address to access this site is and the student must enter their Tower Hill username and password. The students must complete each lesson with an average of 25 wpm and 90% accuracy. The student must earn five stars prior to moving onto the next lesson. The typing program may be done at school, and/or at home. In addition to the typing program, the students will explore digital photography along with animation. The students will also learn more about various Microsoft Office programs, focusing on Excel. Sixth graders will apply the technology used in computers throughout a variety of their classes, forming a partnership with technology across the sixth grade curriculum.

Music 6

In the sixth grade music class students review basic musical notation and vocabulary, explore the elements of musical composition, and experience a variety of cultures and styles through singing and listening samples. Each class routinely begins with a music vocabulary word and a famous composers' work as a listening sample. Orff instruments, keyboards and handbells are used to accompany musical activities. Emphasis in the sixth grade is placed on the study of various composers and their works through research; each student will complete a report on an assigned composer and his/her works. Most of the research is completed in the library during class time. Sixth grade students experience forty-minute periods two times per week for one semester; students are often given the opportunity to perform for their peers. Macmillan's Music and You textbooks series and accompanying CD's are used to reinforce specific units.


Middle School Curriculum ~ Grade 6 ~ 2012-2013


Band 5/6

The fifth and sixth grade band is a part of the middle school performing group requirement where students elect to take band, chorus, or both during the eighth period. The major concepts presented in band are technical skill development, tone quality and control, and music reading. Also emphasized are those qualities needed to be a strong contributing member of a musical organization including blend, balance, listening, and group dynamics. The group performs in two formal concerts in the evening, one in December and one in May. The group also performs for several assembly concerts during the year including Grandparents Day and performances for the Lower School.

Chorus 5/6

The Fifth and Sixth Grade Chorus is based on the understanding that all young people have innate musical potential, and that choral singing is a skill learned through instruction, sustained effort and practice. Chorus students find their singing voice, learn and practice fundamentals of singing, learn basic concepts of musical notation and music reading, acquire the disciplines of choral ensemble and teamwork, and experience the beauty and variety of excellent choral literature from many times and places. The Chorus participates in formal concerts each December and May, and sings for a number of shorter programs and occasions during the school year.

Strings 5/6

The fifth and sixth grade strings ensemble focuses on building basic techniques and begins to emphasize reading and ensemble skills. Others who have more experience assist those new to strings. The group performs at the Middle School instrumental concerts. Instruction is offered on violin, viola, cello, and bass.

Physical Education 5/6 The fifth and sixth grade Physical Education program marks a transition from Elementary School into Middle School. The program is designed to introduce sport specific activities in three-week units; our students learn to combine and apply a variety of movement patterns and skills to different sports. We emphasize participation, improvement, enjoyment and effort, and the goal is to help develop the skills and game tactics the students will need as they move into a competitive athletic program as seventh graders. The importance of physical activity and personal fitness is stressed, and students participate in the President’s Physical Fitness Test. Recognizing that physical activity plays an important role in the social and emotional development of our students, we are committed to providing a positive setting in which our students can learn and practice social and personal responsibility skills.