Updated Tuesday 08-25-2020 04:03am
English Language Arts & Literacy:
In 6th grade, students apply skills they learned in earlier grades to make sense of longer, more challenging books and articles. That includes learning about how authors try to influence readers and find reasons to support their ideas. Focusing on how authors make their points and support their arguments with evidence and reasoning helps 6th grade students sharpen their ability to write and speak with more clarity and coherence. Students also will expand their vocabularies and use new words in their stories, reports, and essays. To meet these literacy goals, students must devote significant attention to precise details during reading and when writing.
A Sample of What Your Child Will Be Working on in 6th Grade
- Analyzing how chapters of a book, scenes of a play, or stanzas of a poem fit into the overall structure of the piece and contribute to the development of ideas or themes
- Gaining knowledge from materials that make extensive use of elaborate diagrams and data to convey information and illustrate concepts
- Evaluating the argument and specific claims in written materials or a speech, and distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not
- Presenting claims and findings to others orally, sequencing ideas logically, and accentuating main ideas or themes
- Writing arguments that provide clear reasons and relevant evidence, using credible sources
- Writing brief reports that examine a topic, have a clear focus, and include relevant facts, details, and quotations
- Conducting short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and sharpening the focus based on the research findings
- Reviewing and paraphrasing key ideas and multiple perspectives of a speaker
- Recognizing variations from standard English in his or her own and others’ writing and speaking, and using this knowledge to improve language use
- Determining the correct meaning of a word based on the context in which it is used (e.g., the rest of the sentence or paragraph; a word’s position or function in a sentence)
The skills and understanding that your child will gain during 6th grade are among the most important foundations for college and career readiness. These include working with ratios and rates and working with variables and variable expressions — the building blocks of algebra. Many of this year’s topics will remain a major emphasis throughout the middle school years and into high school.
A Sample of What Your Child Will Be Working on in 6th Grade
- Understanding ratios and rates, and solving problems involving proportional relationships (e.g., if it took 7 hours to mow 4 lawns, then at that rate, how many lawns could be mowed in 35 hours? At what rate were lawns being mowed?)
- Dividing fractions and solving related word problems (e.g., how wide is a rectangular strip of land with length 3 ⁄4 mile and area 1 ⁄2 square mile?)
- Using positive and negative numbers together to describe quantities; understanding the ordering and absolute values of positive and negative numbers
- Working with variables and expressions by generalizing the way numbers work (e.g., when adding numbers, the order doesn’t matter, so x + y = y + x; likewise, properties of addition and multiplication can be used to rewrite 24x + 18y as 6(4x + 3y), or y + y + y as 3y)
- Understanding the process of solving simple equations
- Writing equations to solve word problems and describe relationshipsbetween quantities (e.g., the distance D traveled by a train in time T might be expressed by an equation D = 85T, where D is in miles and T is in hours)
- Reasoning about relationships between shapes to determine area, surface area, and volume
Curricular-Related Activities for Your Family:
Listed below are activities you and your middle-schooler can do at home that will reinforce and further the learning done in school.
Shared Reading Experiences: Share and talk about the main ideas of articles with your child that are about material she learns in science, social studies (including current events), or topics she finds relevant or interesting. Share items in articles having to do with data collection and analysis as studied in math. You can even read the same book that your child is reading for English and form a family book club.
Write for Enjoyment: Encourage your child to keep a journal; try keeping one yourself. When you or your child finds a passion topic, write about it in a relevant way. For example, write letters to favorite authors, write letters to publications about articles or even try and submit an article to a local publication or website.
Share and Solve Math in Your Life: When you encounter math in your life, show your child how you solved the relevant math equation or have him assist you in solving it. This may occur in areas such as:
- Changing the measurements in recipes, especially when it involves adding, subtracting, or multiplying mixed fractions.
- Computations having to do with creating and working with a budget.
- Figuring out distances when traveling or sales prices when shopping.
- Data collection or analysis.
- Use Technology to Enhance Your Child’s Learning: Since most middle- schoolers are technology fans (and experts), encourage your children to use technology to “show what they know” or further their learning. Of course, as with any use of technology, be sure to monitor your child’s technology use, access, and communication with others. Some ideas to get you started:
- Making short-video book reviews of books being read.
- Making quick videos (or using one of many various apps) forpresenting short narrated lessons about topics being learned so that your child can teach you.
- Create photo collages or scrapbooks of work completed and or books read.
- Create a continuous conversation via email or another technological format in which your child sends you quick snippets (pictures and or texts) of something interesting she learned. Follow up with questions or comments on what your child sends.
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