Grade Six

Grade six is the first stepping stone in preparation for high school and future learning. Boys develop skills that enhance and strengthen the learning process through core courses, which meet their appropriate academic development level. In this first year of Middle School, boys begin their journey toward independent learning.

In Grade Six, your son will study:

Language Arts

Sixth grade language arts focuses on the foundation of key skills in literature, grammar, vocabulary, and writing. Each student should comprehend and dissect appropriate literature of various genres, label and classify every part of speech in a sentence, memorize and correctly use new vocabulary, and create a strongly organized and edited expository paragraph of literary analysis as well as assorted creative compositions.


Students make the transition from elementary school arithmetic to their first formal mathematical thinking. They operate within many number systems and begin to see the relationships among these number sets. The students apply their skills to word problem situations and explore both elements of geometry and real‐world measurement geometry. Additionally, they intuitively explore probability. Mathematically talented sixth graders may be placed in an enriched class.


Geography gives students the opportunity to gain a more thorough understanding of our ever changing world. Students explore the world using a thematic approach. Students will learn where places are located, and why human and natural features occupy particular locations. Students will examine how geographic regions are formed and change over time. They will also work to gain an understanding of how humans relate to their environment and how the movement of people and ideas influence places around the globe.

Introduction to Experimental Methods

This science class emphasizes the use of laboratory equipment and the scientific method of discovery. The hands‐on approach to the development of the concepts of mass, volume, and density, enables the students to manipulate the triple beam balance and the graduated cylinder. The metric system is introduced and used as the densities of metal, wood, and liquids are calculated. The students learn to develop an aim for their work, while recording quantitative data and calculating results. Classes are guided through note‐taking skills, cooperative group work, and manipulation of the microscopes. During the spring semester, each sixth grade student chooses his own project of study for the Science Fair.

French or Spanish

Beginning students in French and Spanish study elements of the language with a strong emphasis on basic oral and written sentence construction and aural and reading comprehension. Initially the program concentrates on the alphabet and phonics, subject pronouns, the present tense of regular and select irregular verbs, articles, classroom commands, the negative, and basic prepositions. Grammar is illustrated through simple vocabulary themes such as classroom objects, the calendar, weather and seasons, numbers, colors, time, and school subjects. Throughout the remainder of the year, the daily life of a typical French/Spanish‐ speaking teenager provides the core of the cultural content of the course. Classroom instruction is conducted in the target language.

Talk I

Meeting three times a cycle, in groups of no more than ten students with a teacher‐ facilitator, this year‐long course addresses the issues young adolescents are faced with in today's society and in the Gilman community. The principal issues and concepts addressed are: the Middle School Handbook; community service; global learning; honesty and honor; communication; the interaction of children and adults; individual and collective integrity and responsibility; family elder interview; human reproduction and development; peer relationships and pressures; jealousy and bullying; temptations, choices, decisions, and consequences; self‐concept and self‐discipline; and understanding world religions.

General or Instrumental Music

General music builds a stronger understanding of the elements of music. Students learn how to analyze rudimentary song forms and grow in their appreciation of musical compositions through analysis and study. Students will explore music making as a class through the study of drumming and keyboard, and they will apply software programs such as Finale Notepad and Mixcraft to hone composition skills.

The emphasis of the sixth and seventh grade band programs is to build a strong base of music reading and appreciation through instrumental study. Students are expected to perform notation as a result of individual and group practice. The students are provided opportunities to perform styles of music from various time periods and cultures.


Students learn to visualize and express their ideas through many content areas such as drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture. Students draw inspiration from the work of master artists, contemporary artists as well as the art from ancient and modern cultures. Students are encouraged to explore their drawing, writing and creative developments through a sketchbook.

Design and Woodworking

The course accommodates the variety of backgrounds from which the students come: more experienced students begin to function on a more independent level and those without not exposure to this discipline are introduced to both wood‐ and metalworking and to the extensive shop facility. Through various projects, students learn the process of design as creative problem‐solving. They learn about the nature of wood, the safe and proper use of hand tools, the use of the drill press, as well as how to create a two‐view technical drawing.


Drama is a performance-oriented course designed to introduce students to theatre arts. Students learn the techniques of acting on stage through a series of activities, including units on pantomime, improvisation, voice, storytelling, movement, and scene study. The final project involves performing a group scene using a memorized script.


The sixth grade Technology course is designed to provide year‐long support for the Middle School iPad initiative. Students develop a full repertoire of technical skills to effectively use the iPad as a tool for academic and personal productivity. Throughout the course, emphasis is placed upon keyboarding, word processing, Internet research, and developing confidence using a suite of integrated apps that promote creative expression.


This course teaches basic finance and economic concepts. Students learn the fundamental concepts of personal finance, which includes banking, budgeting and credit, as well as how individuals and the business world relate to each other, and an introduction to the stock market.

Physical Education Sports Program

Students participate in a physical education program that places emphasis on fitness development and stresses skills acquisition in individual and team sports, leadership development, and in intramural sport competition. Boys rotate in squads through each sport unit, including wrestling, flag football, tennis, soccer, volleyball, basketball, fitness and aerobics, street hockey, all‐american ball, yoga, softball, track and field, STX‐ball, alpine tower, swimming and water polo.