Sixth grade is the culminating year at New City School, and a great deal of emphasis is put on preparing students for life "Beyond the Red Doors".
The sixth grade theme speaks not only to the study of China, but also the idea of sixth graders graduating and leaving New City, out of our school’s red doors and into a larger world. The theme is an important aspect of the social-studies curriculum that explores world cultures -- starting with an in-depth study of China -- and permeates literature selections and discussions, writing assignments, and advisory group conversations. Students read literature and engage in deep discussions that push them to look at issues of identity, personal responsibility, social norms, bystandardism vs. action, cultural awareness, and decision-making.
In social studies, students use an historical lens to understand perspectives in which family, honor, and hierarchy may have greater cultural force than individual independence and their more western understanding of the world.
Academically, teachers work to prepare students for life beyond New City. In social studies, after studying the history and culture of China, the students move into an independent-study component that requires them to research another world culture. Students write a research paper, do presentations in front of the class, and also create an MI share that highlights an important aspect of that culture. Students are also pushed to further develop note-taking, study, and test-taking skills.
What to Expect from Your Sixth Grader
This is a year where students relish being able to look at themselves through a variety of lenses, as self-definition and confidence play a significant role at this developmental stage. Students have begun to internalize New City’s lessons of self-reflection, and are better able to identify and pursue goals of depth and practicality.
At this age students are becoming more able to understand abstract concepts, which has a profound impact on their ability to apply their moral imagination, not only in interpersonal interactions, but also in intellectual pursuits. Students are pushing for freedom in the midst of still needing guidance and nurturing in their academic, organizational and interpersonal lives. They need parents and teachers working together to address the complex joys of their transition to their teenage years.
Top Ten Things to Know about Sixth Grade
Autobiographies: A multi-faceted capstone project reflecting their years at New City.
Community Service: Managing our school-wide recycling program and making multiple visits to Operation Food Search are two of many community service activities.
Camping: Three day naturalist and team-building experience.
Four-Day Trip to Heifer Ranch: Broadening understanding of diversity through four-day trip to Heifer International for global village simulation.
MI Shares Redux: Using their multiple intelligences, students write a research paper, do a Topic Talk, and present to their peers first on China and then on a chosen country.
Stargirl: Reading Stargirl is a stepping off point into learning more about identity and personal responsibility, as well as an opportunity to promote acts of kindness.
Cultural Awareness: Starting with the study of Chinese culture and history, students move to independent research on a world culture of their choosing.
A Play of their Own: Student-written comedy created in performing arts, requiring reliance on MI and continued development of their lifeskills.
Isms: Study of society’s tendencies towards categorizations, how we develop our own identity, how we see ourselves, how others view us, and the implications of perspective.
If you would like more information about the content and skills covered in the sixth grade curriculum, click here.