Grade Six Course Descriptions 

Language Arts/Social Studies

In language arts and social studies, students take an in-depth look at the government, history, culture, traditions, and geography of local communities. They read and analyze books, primary sources, newspaper articles, and photographs to gain insight into literature and history. They participate in literature circles to foster individual expression of ideas and the development of speaking and listening skills.  Grammar and composition skills are honed through the use of writing workshops, during which students focus on a particular genre such as poetry or historical fiction.  Students complete several research projects, working to develop reliable and effective research skills, as well as critical and creative thinking skills. While focusing on local studies, sixth-grade students develop an understanding of place and time and its effect on individuals and communities. They study both the past and present people of the Southern Appalachians and the roles Western North Carolinians have played in American history. Sample units of study:
  • Poetry Unit, culminating in a poetry cafe for friends and family
  • Writing Workshop
  • Local Government Unit, including a city council simulation activity
  • WNC History Unit, beginning with a visit to a local archaeological site and ending with a walking tour of downtown Asheville
  • Family History Project

Sixth Grade Mathematics

This course is designed to strengthen and expand arithmetic skills with fractions, decimals, percents, and integers. New concepts are developed, with an emphasis on problem-solving skills, real-world applications, technology, spatial reasoning, and finance math. Sample units of study include the following:
  • Numeration
  • Operations and computations
  • Data analysis and probability
  • Geometry
  • Measurement

Enriched Sixth Grade Mathematics

This section of math encompasses all of the topics covered in the regular Sixth Grade Mathematics course but at a greater depth and faster pace. Emphasis is placed on problem solving skills, real world applications, technology, spatial reasoning, and finance math.

Science

Sixth Grade Science focuses on the major themes of sixth grade: identity, generations, and community, through various units of inquiry and study. Emphasis is placed on understanding how science works through a variety of experimental laboratory activities. Students will face challenges that mimic real world scientific investigations, while developing skills in classification, experimental design, data collection, and analysis. Sample units of study include the following:
  • Human body systems
  • Genetics
  • Environmental science
  • Native plants
  • Forestry

Spanish

The instructional emphasis for Middle School Spanish is on conversation and communication. Building upon the learning that occurred in lower school, students engage in a variety of activities to help them acquire vocabulary. Students become more connected with the Spanish-speaking world through the use of technology and exposure to real world scenarios. Learning
about the different cultures of Spanish-speaking countries also takes a front seat, and students
dive into some basic grammar, which will help them use the language more comprehensively.
Sample units of study include the following:
  • Me, my family, and my friends
  • Daily routines at home and school
  • Expressing likes and dislikes
  • Geography and the Spanish-speaking world
  • Community life and moving around a city

French

Sixth Grade French class begins the journey toward becoming functionally fluent in French. We use the technique of TPRS (teaching proficiency through reading and storytelling) which is the way students learned their first language. Music, stories based on student input, acting, poetry, and simple French history all combine to give them rich acquisition of French. Students also read and discuss their first reader, Pauvre Anne - Poor AnneDaily conversations throughout the year include the following:
  • Greetings
  • Weather
  • Weekend activities
  • Animals and habitats
  • Pastimes
  • Family
  • Clothing
  • Mealtimes at home and in restaurants

Performing Arts

Performing Arts


In Middle School, performing arts classes three times a week help students develop their ability to participate in music, dance, and theater. All students participate in two yearly concerts showcasing choral singing and dancing; there are also performances by hand chime groups, a dance team, the Carolina Day Choristers, and the seventh and eighth grade advanced chorus. When available, guitar, strings, brass and woodwind chamber music groups also prepare pieces for the concerts.

Music
In music, students in all three grades work toward understanding the concepts of rhythm, pitch, melody, harmony, form, dynamics, and tempo.  Genres studied are classical, musical theater, country, folk, blues, jazz, pop/rock, and world music.  Ongoing units of music study include:

  • Solfege and sight-singing

  • Performance and analysis of choral literature

  • Guitar

  • Piano

  • Drums (hand drums and drumset)

  • Bass

  • Hand chimes

  • Orff mallet percussion

Dance
Dance in all forms, from improvised movement to choreographed routines, is part of each Performing Arts class. Dance units include:

  • Swing

  • Salsa

  • Square dance/country line dance

  • Traditional folk dances

  • Hiphop

  • Musical theatre dance styles

Theatre
Theatre training gives every middle school student the opportunity to work on public speaking, risk-taking, and communication skills in a fun, safe setting.   Theatre units include:

  • Scene work

  • Monologue preparation

  • Improv comedy

  • Theatre games

Theatre Production
Middle School Theatre Production is an extracurricular program open to sixth, seventh, and eighth graders. The annual winter musical provides an exciting opportunity for an introduction to the world of theatre. Whether students participate on stage or as part of the tech crew, they learn teamwork, communication skills, leadership, flexibility, and how to prepare for and meet deadlines.

Visual Arts

Sixth Grade Art projects relate directly to the core curriculum of local and regional studies; Appalachian crafts will be a focus for many of the art projects and instruction. The ceramic face-jug project is the main focus of the second and third trimester, which further enhance the core curriculum. Art criticism and self-reflection are utilized as tools for understanding the principles and elements of design. Art History is taught as it relates to the individual projects. Projects may include the following:
  • Drawing
  • Printmaking
  • Weaving
  • Sculpture
  • Painting
  • Ceramics  

Physical Education

Students participate in physical education classes three day a week. The program concentrates on a student’s physical fitness level with an emphasis on improvement. There is a focus on the continued development of affective and psycho-motor skills learned through competitive and cooperative games. The students will wear pedometers as a fun way to monitor distance moved throughout the year. Activities include the following:
  • Soccer
  • Team Handball
  • Dance
  • Pickleball
  • Juggling

Health

This fourteen-lesson unit teaches students the importance of being an informed consumer and making healthy lifestyle choices. Topics covered include the following:
  • Healthy eating pyramid
  • Reading food labels
  • Nutrition assessment
  • Food group relay race
  • Portion size comparison

Study Support

This class provides a structured approach to learning and using effective strategies for success in the middle grades, leading students toward the practice of self-advocacy to become independent learners. Students will find and use resources, set and measure both short and long term goals, and effectively use the skills they obtain to break wholes into parts to make learning easier. Middle School Study Support class assists students with the following:
  • Organization/time management
  • Effective note taking
  • Reading comprehension strategies
  • Test preparation - how to study for a variety of tests
  • Study techniques & memory strategies

 

2016-17 Course Descriptions

 

 

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