6th Grade Curriculum

6th English Language Arts 


MSAD 75 employs a research-based reading and writing program to meet our curricular learning goals. This program is developed by Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (TCRWP) at Columbia University. The teacher-educators from this research and staff development organization are involved in long-lasting collaborations with teachers across the United States and the world. Our district has been affiliated with TCRWP since 2008-09. 

Literacy Assessments 

NWEA Reading: NWEA is our universal screening tool. Administered within the first quarter of school, it gives us a glimpse of where the student is in their reading with a percentile score. We use these percentiles, as well as what we know of the student, to make decisions about their instructional needs. We administer the assessment to all students again throughout the year to monitor their progress in reading.

Unit-based assessments: Teachers assess continually throughout a unit, pulling students into small groups or conferring 1:1 for additional teaching points that they may require to either fill a gap in their skills or extend them to a higher level. At the end of a unit, students demonstrate growth on the targeted skills/process with a final product.

Conferences:  The writing workshop model includes frequent conferencing with students during independent reading and writing. Conferences are a way for students to receive 1:1 or small group targeted teaching throughout a unit of study. Teachers “research” by asking the students questions about their reading or writing and what strategies they’re trying. Teachers also use what they see in the student’s work to guide their decision-making about what to teach the students. Teachers quickly assess what they will teach the student, and the class, next that will help the student take their reading or writing to the next level. 

Writing Curriculum

There are typically two-three writing units taught in each grade. Because we know students begin a school year at differing levels of readiness, teachers sometimes “reach down” into previous years’ teachings to ensure students are getting the instruction they need to move forward. These decisions are made based on what the students in that classroom need, either as a whole or on an individual basis. Units are the vehicle for teaching standards; depending on student needs and special programming, teachers may choose to move or reteach standards among the listed units. Likewise, teachers have access to more units than are listed below, and may include those units during the year as time and student needs allow. The writing process is its own standard and may be measured multiple times during the year. Teachers score student compositions on learning progressions which align to the Common Core standards and are broken up into strands: overall, lead, transitions, ending, organization, elaboration, and craft. 

Narrative Writing

Personal Narrative: Crafting Powerful Life Stories

The “new work” in 6th grade narrative writing is that students are learning how to be decision-makers of their craft. They are expected to think about not only the stories they’ll tell, but how they tell them. The unit focuses on how they’ll draw out the main themes, how they’ll pace the story, and how to make their story resonate with the reader, among other things. 

Argument Writing

Literary Essay: From Character to Compare/Contrast

In this unit, students will learn to write more deeply about character’s motivations and eventually write essays that focus on themes. They will consider how different texts deal with themes in similar or different ways. 

Information Writing

Research-Based Information Writing

This unit is intended to help students to read and sift through information on a topic, while using trusted sources and taking notes. Students will be expected to synthesize an array of information, creating a logical and cohesive structure with which they can teach the reader about the topic they choose. 

Reading Curriculum

There are typically two to three reading units taught in each grade. As with writing, teachers sometimes “reach down” into previous years’ teachings to ensure students are getting the instruction they need to move forward. These decisions are made based on what the students in that classroom need, either as a whole or on an individual basis. Students are scored on learning progressions which align to the Common Core. Units are the vehicle for teaching standards; depending on student needs and special programming, teachers may choose to move or reteach standards among the listed units. As mentioned below, students’ independent reading habit is taught and worked on directly during the first unit of the year, this is then measured every quarter. 

Reading Habit

Building a Reading Life

Building a Reading Life launches students’ independent reading habit for the school year. This is the first unit in each grade level, and is adjusted to meet students where they are each year.

Students ramp up their reading skills by immersing themselves in within-reach books while going through lessons asking them to self-reflect on who they are, and who they would like to be as a reader. Students and teachers set goals together for their reading, and the unit assesses student growth and habit at the end of each quarter.

Narrative Reading

A Deep Study of Character

Students will engage in lessons about characters and how those characters often reveal bigger meanings in the text. Through short stories and novels, students will investigate and evaluate multiple character traits, consider pressures on characters, explore settings, and develop ideas about themes.

Nonfiction Reading

Tapping the Power of Nonfiction

This information reading unit is taught alongside the Research-Based Informational Writing Unit. The main learning goals of the unit are for the students to sharpen their ability to read more complex information with a particular focus on summarizing text, supporting ideas with information that is relevant to the central idea(s), and organizing thinking while reading by paying attention to the structure of the piece. 

Narrative Reading

Social Issues Book Clubs

Students will read novels, either independently or in book clubs. They will study how power and perspective shape a story’s theme and a character’s motivations and behaviors.  

6th Grade Math

Open Up Resources is an engaging middle school mathematics course designed to develop students' mathematical skills, problem-solving abilities, and analytical thinking. This course covers a wide range of topics, including number and quantity, algebraic reasoning, ratios, percentages, geometry and more. Students will explore real-world applications, strengthen their computational fluency, and develop a solid foundation in mathematical concepts.

Learning Goals

Numbers and Operations

  • Fluently add, subtract, multiply, and divide multi-digit decimals using the standard algorithm for each operation. 
  • Interpret and compute quotients of fractions involving a combination of division of fractions by fractions, whole numbers and mixed numbers.
  • Apply computation skills to solve real-world problems. 

Expressions and Equations

  • Write and evaluate numerical expressions involving the order of operations (PEMDAS).
  • Write, read, and evaluate expressions in which letters represent numbers.
  • Use variables to represent numbers and write expressions when solving a real-world or mathematical problem.
  • Solve one step equations.

Ratios, Unit Rates, and Percentages

  • Understanding the concept of a ratio and use ratio language to describe a ratio relationship between two or more concepts. 
  • Understand the concept of a unit rate.
  • Recognizes a percent of a quantity as a rate per 100.
  • Use understanding of ratios and percentages to solve real-world and mathematical problems.


  • Find the area of quadrilaterals, triangles, and polygons by composing into rectangles or decomposing into triangles and other shapes
  • Represent three-dimensional figures using nets made up of rectangles and triangles, and use the nets to find the surface area of these figures.
  • Apply these skills to solve real-world problems. 

6th Grade Science

This course is designed to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of scientific concepts and processes. Through engaging activities and hands-on experiments, you will explore various topics in physical sciences; life sciences; and earth and space sciences.

Learning Goals

Scientific Method/Nature of Science

  • Students will use the scientific method when conducting all experiments.
  • Students will develop an understanding of scientific inquiry and the nature of science.

States of Matter

  • Students will use a model to describe and predict changes in particle motion, temperature, and state of a pure substance when thermal energy is added or removed. *Liquids, Solids and Gasses 
  • Students will explore states of matter and their properties.

Water Cycle

  • Students will develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth’s systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity. 
  • Students will investigate the water cycle and its role in Earth's systems.


  • Students will conduct an investigation to provide evidence that living things are made of cells; either one cell or many different numbers and types of cells.
  • Students will develop and use a model to describe the function of a cell as a whole and ways parts of cells contribute to the function. 
  • Students will learn about cell theory and the structures and functions of cells.


  • Students will develop and use a model to describe why asexual reproduction results in offspring with identical genetic information and sexual reproduction results in offspring with genetic variation.
  • Students will develop and use a model to describe why structural changes to genes (mutations) located on chromosomes may affect proteins and may result in harmful, beneficial, or neutral effects to the structure and function of organisms.
  • Students will understand the basics of genetics and inheritance.

Body Systems

  • Students will use an argument supported by evidence for how the body is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cells.
  • Students will examine the different body systems and their importance in maintaining homeostasis.
  • Students will complete a frog dissection where we compare the anatomy of a frog to the anatomy of humans.


  • Students will develop and use a model of the Earth-sun-moon system to describe the cyclic patterns of lunar phases, eclipses of the sun and the moon and seasons.
  • Students will investigate the Earth-Sun-Moon system and its impact on Earth.

Solar System/Gravity

  • Students will develop and use a model to describe the role of gravity in the motions within galaxies and the solar systems. 
  • Students will explore the concept of gravity and its effects on objects.

Solar System/Scale

  • Students will analyze and interpret data to determine scale properties of objects in the solar system. 
  • Students will understand the scale of our universe and the celestial bodies within it.

6th Grade Social Studies

The purpose of social studies education at Mt. Ararat Middle School is to develop learners who think critically, and make informed and reasoned decisions as members of a culturally diverse, democratic society. 

Social studies includes civics and government, personal finance and economics, geography, and history.

Sixth grade

In the geography strand, students will understand basic geographic concepts including landforms, global grid, map skills, and locations of continents and oceans.  Through our “How America Works” unit, students begin to describe the structures and processes of the United States government.  Our “Think Like a Historian” unit teaches students to analyze historical events by viewing different perspectives and evidence using primary and secondary sources.  We introduce students to economics by supporting them in identifying personal spending and savings decisions. Finally, we learn about ancient civilizations to understand what we, as humans, have accomplished in ancient days, and relate their discoveries and challenges to our own world today.

6th Grade Exploratories

Physical Education 

Physical education at MAMS promotes a program aimed at lifelong physical activity. Our learning standards address knowledge, rules and skills, sportsmanship, team work, safe play, knowledge of fitness concepts and participation in fitness activities. Some of the activities students will participate in this year include but are not limited to Tennis, Team Handball, Badminton, Pickleball, weight training, floor hockey, disc golf and cooperative games. Please reach out to your child’s Physical Education teacher at any time with questions or concerns.

Visual Arts

Through hands-on experiences guided by the Middle Level Visual Arts Curriculum, students will be progressing through a comprehensive series of learning goals to achieve an appreciation of the Visual Arts and a desire to participate in and enjoy them as a lifelong interest. Students in all grades are encouraged to become aware of the Elements and Principles of Art as they work on various projects. A cumulative goal of this 6-8 grade program is that each student has the opportunity to strengthen their ability to value their individual ideas and talents and to focus that positive energy toward creating their personal best artwork.


Hands on, minds on. 

6th Grade Learning Goals: Collaboration Skills, Problem Solving, CAD Designing and 3D printing.

Health Education 

Health is a comprehensive, age appropriate skill based program where students engage in project based activities. Information will come home before each unit about the specific curriculum, please reach out beforehand if you have any questions. Curriculum: the dimensions of wellness; puberty; physical, social and emotional health; health promotion and nutrition; injury prevention and first aid strategies.

World Languages 

6th Grade - Students who do not participate in Band and/or Chorus will have Cultural Literacy class all year! They will have Ms. Drew for one semester and Ms. Lera for one semester. Students will reflect on their family’s heritage and then conduct research on a French or Spanish speaking country so that they can identify customs from other cultures and compare them to their own family’s current customs.


Welcome to the MAMS Music Program! Our goal is individual student growth and achievement that will contribute to the musical quality of our ensembles and instill a life-long appreciation of music. Students can participate in Concert Band and Chorus, where students learn how to sing or play instruments and perform together as an ensemble. Students will also have the opportunity to have sectionals on their instrument/voice part. Additionally, students can participate in extra ensembles that meet outside of the school day, such as Jazz Band, Wind Ensemble, and District III Honors Band and Chorus.

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