Storytelling takes center stage in sixth grade Language Arts through genres as diverse as mystery, memoir, and poetry. Imagining life through another person’s eyes, we enlarge our humanity by peering into his culture, circumstances, and inner world. In sixth grade, your child will be spellbound by great stories, from the survival adventure Hatchet to the futuristic novel The Giver. Our annual Storytelling Festival will challenge her to memorize and recite a beloved children’s folk tale.
Then she will write a “pourquoi” tale of her own, such as “How the Zebra Got its Stripes.” Harkness-style discussions will allow students to engage in sustained discussions with peers not just about their reading, but also about their place in a larger world. For example, students tackle the difficult and painful subject of racism and injustice in Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry as part of their year-long exploration of the theme, “How do challenges shape our character?” Many parents read this book concurrently with their children and continue these important discussions at home. April is National Poetry Month, and you may be surprised at the quality of your child’s poetry and the glimpse it gives you into his thoughts and character. In conjunction with The Giver, your child will consider what matters to him when he looks to the future and how to use his unique perspective and ideas for the good of others.
Sixth graders may choose an additional Language Arts class as an alternative to Spanish 1A. English Workshop focuses on further strengthening students’ reading and writing skills. Students will develop their “voice” as writers and practice writing strategies such as organization, elaboration, revision, and editing. Grammar and vocabulary are studied in the context of reading and writing assignments about engaging literature such as Holes and The Ghost at the Takaido Inn. Students will learn how to apply the themes in their reading to current events and their own lives. Hands-on projects such as creating a movie trailer about a favorite of book allow students to synthesize plots lines and themes while displaying creativity. The non-fiction unit asks students to use sources such as magazine articles, feature stories, and websites to plan a family vacation with detailed itineraries. Some families have even taken the trips their child planned in English Workshop. Now that’s authentic learning!