This program recognizes the fact that students in the sixth grade are quickly moving into adolescence, and as such have different physical, emotional, and cognitive needs. Students meet weekly to collaborate on several projects, such as community service projects, the planning of their year-end trip to Montreal, and a field trip to a working organic farm, for example.
Great Books Seminar
The Great Books Seminar builds onto the foundation that the students have already established in Language Arts, to take their interpretive reading and writing skills to the next level. Integrated with the Cultural Studies curriculum, the seminar delves into issues of moral development with ideas from Thoreau’s Walden Pond, the Constitution of the United States of America, a unit in poetry, and more. Students are expected to be contributors to the group, often taking on facilitation of the group’s conversation on a given day.
In addition to their regular curriculum in mathematics and geometry, sixth grade students participate in a weekly algebra seminar. Over the course of the year, they are exposed to concepts that are typically covered in seventh and ninth grade algebra. Using hands-on materials, students learn to factor polynomials, multiply the factors to produce the polynomial or quadratic equation, and divide one factor into a polynomial to produce the other factor. The students work individually or in small groups, often coaching one another.
The sixth grade year culminates in a trip to Montreal, Canada. Students begin fundraising in the fall, selling honey and running coat checks at school events, among other things. In addition to raising all the monies for this trip, they research, budget, and plan for all aspects of their trip, making it their own. Collaboration, consensus decision making and shared leadership are all components of the trip and the entire Sixth Grade Leadership Program.
Honey harvesting begins in September with the study of bees and honey production. Students travel to the Land Laboratory to harvest the honey from the beehives, and bottle it for sale. Returning to school, they plan pricing, labeling, and marketing of their product, using the funds raised towards their trip to Montreal.