Grade 6

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Health 6

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Spring semester

English 6

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In 6th grade English, students read at least six major texts in various genres of literature, including short story, poetry, essay (descriptive, narrative, expository, and persuasive), and novel. Most of the major texts are read in the literature circle format, meaning that students choose their own reading materials, set their own reading calendars, engage in small group discussion about their books, and present a group oral book project after finishing the book. All reading selections are chosen with an eye on issues of gender, ethnicity, and cultural diversity as they exist in our contemporary world. While reading, students strengthen literal comprehension of texts as well as an ability to draw inferences from implied meanings. They also analyze how a text is structured and how an author employs story elements. Students do a fair bit journaling on their reading in a Moodle Wiki format on the Inside.Catlin site. As writers, students produce poems, stories, and essays for class, taking all major pieces through the writing workshop process: prewriting, drafting, peer responding, revising, proofreading, and publishing. Students use the laptop writing-lab in class to work on keyboarding and other technology skills, saving their work to the Inside.Catlin Moodle and Google Docs domains. They also have many grammar, spelling, and vocabulary lessons over the course of the year in order to enrich their own writing and make it more sophisticated and polished. At the end of the year, each student produces a personal Heroic Journey Anthology of her 6th grade academic year. Last, an overarching theme of the 6th grade is harvesting, and to this end students are given many opportunities to go outside and work in the organic garden, greenhouse, and apple orchard. The sixth grade team is in charge of two major Catlin Gabel concerns: the apple orchard and the Spring Festival plant sale fundraiser. Sixth grade teachers work together to teach a variety of interdisciplinary lessons on such topics as seed collection, photosynthesis, pollination, the foundations of human civilization, wheat harvesting in Mesopotamia, pizza baking in the garden cob oven, and sweetness in apples. Students grow food for the lunch salad bar in the Barn, and they learn how to compost back into the garden to complete the circle. Throughout these interdisciplinary lessons, students are reading and writing across the curriculum—writing for history lessons and reading for science lessons while in Language Arts.


Science 6

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Course Description

Sixth grade science focuses on the biology of marine life and the human body. In this life science class students gain experience observing, dissecting, writing and organizing notes, drawing, problem solving, thinking critically, making oral presentations and creating a life-size paper model of their own skeleton and organs.

Our investigation of the human body includes the study of the skeletal, nervous, circulatory, endocrine and digestive systems, as well as the effects of alcohol, tobacco and drugs on mental and physical health. These studies culminate in Surgery Day, when hospital personnel bring authentic surgical equipment and materials to the classroom to give students hands-on practice with various medical and surgical techniques.

Our study of marine life includes a survey of the major kingdoms of life, with a focus on the natural history, distribution and abundance of dominant marine invertebrate and vertebrate animals. This unit culminates with a week of camping on the southern Oregon coast where students explore the labs at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, the fishing docks at Charleston Harbor, and the rocky seashore and the sandy beach of Cape Arago. Students observe marine habitats and biota first-hand to gain appreciation and experience identifying marine algae, plants, invertebrates, birds and mammals in the field.


Mathematics 6

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6th Grade is a time when all of the basic math skills will be solidified, strengthened and deepened. In tandem with this basic skills development will be an emphasis on creative problem-solving strategies and generalizing patterns to push the growth of each child's abstract thinking and logical reasoning ability. The beginning of algebraic thinking will be woven throughout the curriculum. Saxon Math is the textbook that we use in 6th-8th grade as the backbone of our math curriculum. It is designed with a spiraling approach so that topics are introduced over a period of time and continue to be reinforced consistently throughout the year and over the 3 years. In addition to Saxon math, we supplement with a variety of materials and a variety of approaches since no single method is effective for every child. To balance the direct instructional style of Saxon math, Connected Math's student-directed curriculum will be integrated into the overall 6th grade math program. In addition, the students will be introduced to some computer programming during our gender-based grouping in the spring.

History 6: The Ancient World

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Sixth grade history focuses on Ancient Civilizations. Students explore the variety of ways social scientists – historians, geographers, archaeologists, and anthropologists study the past and present. They learn to view historical events from multiple perspectives. Current events figure regularly in the curriculum.  Geography includes the study of 5 themes of geography: Location, Places, Regions, Human/Environment Interaction and Movement. Reading and making maps is a focus of the class.

Using Habits of Mind, Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences and other materials, students tease out and reflect on their own best learning strategies, experiment with them, and refine them. In conjunction with language arts, students develop several techniques for textbook reading and various texts containing increasingly challenging vocabulary. Multiple styles of note taking are practiced and each student eventually selects the formats that work best for him or her. Expository writing is also threaded together with language arts instruction.  Students receive guided practice in paragraph and essay writing, summarizing, and paraphrasing. 


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Middle School athletics are open to all Middle School students regardless of talent level, grade or experience.  For many participation on a CGS team is a first team experience. Our teams compete in the Metro Christian League.  It is a competitive league, nevertheless, winning is an outcome of individual comittment and team effort.  We stress athletic learning, comraderie and a fun experience. All practices and competitions happen after school on weekdays with very rare weekend exceptions. Many Middlle School student athletes advance to stellar high school careers, and beyond.