Sixth Grade

The first year of Middle School is an exciting time of adjustment, achievement, and discovery. The students move away from the traditional Lower School homeroom model and switch classes each period. Their life at school is anchored in an Advisory group that meets several times per week. Click here for a fun video with Middle Schoolers offering advice to incoming Sixth Graders. 

Advisory


Guiding connections

Each student is assigned to an Advisory group led by a Middle School teacher. Advisory groups meet three times each week: first thing Monday morning for a “connections” session, a second time for an advisory period, and a third time in a directed study hall. The Advisory program is designed to guide students in academic life, provide developmental guidance (both formal and informal), encourage supportive peer relationships and practice conflict resolution, promote character development and much more. See more about Advisory

Language Arts


Writing Intensive

Sixth Graders enhance their language arts skills through literary analysis, expository writing, and fictional creative writing. Sixth Grade fiction includes The Giver, Shooting Kabul, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, and a variety of short stories and poems. Students write expository essays based on their analysis of plot, theme, character development, and literary devices through whole-group and small-group discussions, as well as individual reflections. The students also improve their narrative fiction-writing skills and grammatical precision as they write and illustrate creative short stories. See all Language Arts

Mathematics


From concrete to abstract

As students enter Middle School, mathematical concepts become increasingly abstract, and this can be challenging for some students. In Sixth Grade instructional time focuses on four critical areas: (1) connecting ratio and rate to whole number multiplication and division and using concepts of ratio and rate to solve problems; (2) completing understanding of division of fractions and extending the notion of number to the system of rational numbers, which includes negative numbers; (3) writing, interpreting, and using expressions and equations; and (4) improving mathematical practices. See all Mathematics

Earth Science


How the earth works

Sixth Grade Earth Science focuses on learning about the Earth’s characteristics and processes. Students learn about the characteristics of each layer in the Earth, the history and theory of plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes and minerals. They connect knowledge of physical science concepts of density and viscosity to their understanding of processes such as plate tectonics and volcanism. Students also study rock types and mineral formations, threats to endangered rivers, and the phases of the moon. Students write scientific essays and engage in a variety of projects. See all Science

Ancient Civilization


Roots of the modern world

Sixth Grade Social Studies focuses on the rise of civilization and the earliest civilizations of Mesopotamia, Ancient India, Ancient Egypt, Ancient China, the Israelites, Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. The civilization unit addresses the questions: how did civilization form? Why the first civilizations began in river valleys? And what components constitute a civilization? The study of Mesopotamia, including the Ancient Israelites, investigates culture, government systems, religious traditions, and important technologies that developed during these civilizations. Next the students study Ancient Egypt, gaining an understanding of the role geography played in the development of Egyptian society. When studying ancient China, students investigate Chinese philosophy and the role of technology in Chinese civilization. The Greek and Roman units focus on the cultural contributions of these societies, in particular, their government systems. See all Social Studies

Foreign Language


Deepening cultural understanding

Sixth Graders typically study French 1 or Spanish 1. Middle School students develop their understanding of culture through comparing and contrasting to their own experience, with a focus on creating an appreciation of how people from different cultures have helped shaped our culture. Students increase their comfort with reading and writing in the target language and are expected to converse in the language during a portion of each class. See all Foreign Language

Technology


Tools for academic growth

Middle School students use technology daily. A Chromebook serves as the primary academic tool throughout Middle School. Students access online text books, teacher blogs, videos, TED talks, primary sources, and other resources to curate the information necessary to participate in the curriculum in each class. They also use technology to create presentations which may include Lucidchart, films, blogs, podcasts, or original TED Talks. Students can further their understanding of computer science or coding in the Electives program. See all Technology

Arts Survey


experience it all

Sixth Graders spend their first year in Middle School in an arts survey class that gets them familiar with and well versed in the three key areas of arts instruction at Country Day: music, drama, and studio art. They develop their vocabulary and skills for creative expression in all three areas via classes that emphasize performing arts through film, artmaking through 2D and 3D media, and both choral and instrumental music practice. 

Physical Education


Strengthening Sports skills

Sixth Graders build their skills in traditional team sports: volleyball, basketball, soccer, flag football, badminton, and hockey, with a focus on development of strategy and fair play. They are also introduced to Ultimate Frisbee and other non-traditional sports and games. Sixth Graders canoe on the pond in preparation for their outdoor education trip to Lake Powell. In Middle School, students ski in multi-grade groups with teachers as chaperones, and we ski every Friday from January until March break. See all PE

Outdoor Education


competence on rock and on water

All Middle School students participate in the fall trip at Lincoln Creek. Students are put into multi-grade groups to develop bond among grade levels. In these groups, students participate in rock climbing, a ropes course, a hike, community service, and some orienteering. In the evening, students participate in activities and discussion to promote a sense of community. A highlight is a campfire with alumni who return to provide insight into high school and how to keep the Middle School experience in perspective. Sixth Graders canoe and camp in Lake Powell in the spring. The distance and unpredictable weather make this trip a memorable challenge. Starting in Sixth Grade, all Outdoor Ed trips are graded on a pass-fail basis. See all Outdoor Ed

Projects & traditions


Moving up

Sixth Graders say that some highlights of their year include the Middle School Outdoor Ed trip, when they first experience the multi-grade trip to Lincoln Creek, along with special academic projects like "World of Big & Small" in math class (when students scale up a common object using their knowledge of proportions). They experience their first final exams at the end of each semester. See a video about this gentle introduction to exam proceduresThe students move from the Lower School building to the Castle Creek building on the upper campus; in coming years they will be in the new Middle School classrooms across the pond. The increased academic demands and independence of this grade foster tremendous growth over the Sixth Grade year.

Aspen Country Day School
85 Country Day Way Aspen, Colorado 81611
Phone: 970.925.1909
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