6th Grade Science
The science curriculum in 6th Grade emphasizes the study of earth and space sciences. The standards in grade six present many of the foundations of geology and geophysics, including plate tectonics and earth structure, topography, and energy and earth systems. The material is linked to resource management and ecology, building on what students have learned in previous grades.
6th Grade English
Our 6th grade English students will be exploring “The Hero’s Journey” by examining closely the Monomyth formula and structure embodied by the HARRY POTTER series (J.K. Rowling), and identifying how “The Hero’s Journey” can apply to each of us in a real-world context. In the Monomyth, the protagonist leaves their ordinary worlds to embark upon a quest into the unknown while searching for knowledge, truth, justice, and freedom amid several challenges that help them to grow and develop into whom they ultimately are to become.
6th grade students use the Potter series to explore grammar, vocabulary and literary devices, in addition to their exploration of story structure and character development as it relates to “The Hero’s Journey”. Lessons and activities drawn from engagement with the Potter series include sentence emulations, short essay responses, chapter summaries, and weekly vocabulary. Multimedia projects help students to personalize their experience with the Potter series and find new and exciting ways to recognize how they are on their own hero’s journey.
6th graders will synthesize all facets of their English class in a year-long creative writing project, called “The Monomyth Project,” in which they will combine, in a story of their own creation, their understanding of the Monomyth structure with their blossoming grammar, vocabulary, proofreading, revision, and analytical thinking skills.
Supplementary reading and viewing material is consulted while engaging with the Potter series to emphasize and challenge the important social issues addressed in the reading. Students will explore internet articles and sources, poetry, short stories, world mythologies and films in order to recognize connections between seemingly different works, thus preparing them for what will be expected of them academically in the 7th grade and beyond.
By exploring the Monomyth from as many angles as possible, students connect deeply with how they can shape the journeys they themselves are on and become the heroes they envision themselves to be.
6th Grade History
Students in this class will examine people and events that contributed to the development of major Western and non-Western ancient civilizations, such as the emergence of civilizations in Egypt, China, Greece, and Rome. There will be an emphasis on G.R.A.P.E.S. (geography, religion, achievements, politics, economics, and society) in order to establish a strong foundation for textual analysis, chronological and spatial thinking, and historical interpretation. Students will use multiple sources of evidence (primary and secondary sources), media, and argumentation to consider why and where civilizations developed, why they thrived, and why they declined. Thus, our objective in this course is to examine the rise of ancient civilizations that drastically changed and shaped the nature of human societies and interactions. Students will develop their critical thinking, reading, and writing skills in understanding the significant role of using evidence and research in history. By the end of the year, students will be able to identify the interactions among the various cultures, emphasizing their enduring contributions and identify the link, despite time, between the contemporary and ancient worlds.
6th Grade Math
Math Explorations builds on knowledge from experience and prior understanding of basic math skills, number sense & operations, using formulas, and problem-solving. They will demonstrate fluency with the four operations without a calculator. Students develop an understanding of ratio, proportion, and percent, examine the order and absolute value of rational numbers, plot points on a coordinate plane. They will be able to write equations and expressions to describe a given situation. The students will also be studying probability and statistics where they will learn how to analyze and interpret graphs and data. Conversion of measurement units, find the area, volume and surface area in geometry. Algebra preparation and problem-solving skills will continue throughout the year.
6th Grade Spanish: Beginners
In our classroom, we will do a variety of activities and exercises, which include talking in Spanish, practicing pronunciation and grammar, and interacting in Spanish with classmates in pairs and small groups. Much of the class is conducted in Spanish in order to offer as much exposure to the language as possible, but English is used when necessary to offer clarity and efficiency. In this course we deal with all basic language skills: aural comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. Grammar is studied not so that you can recite grammar rules, but rather so that you gain an understanding of how the language works. You must speak in order to learn to speak. Some students may feel inhibited about making mistakes in front of others. We will work together to make the class atmosphere as tension-free as possible. Students will have the opportunity to learn about different cultural aspects related to the Spanish language from various countries around the Spanish-speaking world. Students should expect to participate daily in class activities. Be prepared to move, act silly and have fun exploring another language and culture.
6th Grade Spanish I
Students will be exposed to the State of California Foreign Language Framework, Spanish I or Spanish II according to their knowledge, not according to their grade nor their age to ensure proper placement for learning.
California’s rich linguistic and cultural tapestry is tied with its Hispanic background. The State of California sets forth a uniform vision of what students should know and be able to do at the High School level in World Languages. The standards were developed to accommodate all languages and identify the various stages of acquiring linguistic and cultural proficiency. They provide an organizing principle to ensure the continuous development of student proficiency.
In class we use the four key areas of foreign language study: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The course is a blend of language learning presented in class and online through Duolingo and Kahoot. Students will be exposed to common expressions, greetings, and grammatical structures. They will ask and answer guided questions and are encouraged to make up their own questions and answers in class and on the homework. Active participation is essential for success in this course. The group class meets twice a week, new vocabulary is introduced during the group meeting and reviewed, practiced and/or advanced during one-on-one tutoring.
In Spanish I, we will review basic grammar consisting of: How to form Plurals, Agreement with gender and number of Articles, Nouns, and Adjectives, How to form negative statements and negative questions with verbs. We will review the Subject Pronouns, Conjugation of Regular Verbs, lecture comprehension and sentence writing in the Present Indicative.
We will learn Question Words, the possessive adjectives, some Irregular Verbs in the Present Indicative, such as Ser, Estar, Ir. We will learn Stem-Changing Verbs Querer and Tener. We will learn the Direct Object Pronoun, the Indirect Object Pronoun, and the Verb Form ‘Megusta”. Students will read aloud in class and answer questions after short lectures. They will write sentences and short paragraphs on their own. They will be exposed to cultural knowledge and the Hispanic background of California.
6th Grade Spanish II
Students will be exposed to the State of California Foreign Language Framework and placed on Spanish I or Spanish II according to their knowledge.
California’s rich linguistic and cultural tapestry is tied with its Hispanic background. The State of California sets forth a uniform vision of what students should know and be able to do at the High School level in World Languages. The standards were developed to accommodate all languages and identify the various stages of acquiring linguistic and cultural proficiency. They provide an organizing principle to ensure the continuous development of student proficiency. Spanish language prepares students for employment and enables them to compete in the worldwide marketplace in the future.
In Spanish II, we will review writing sentences with Regular Verbs in the Present Indicative, Construction of descriptive sentences using “es/son,” and writing sentences in the Present Participle/Gerund. We will learn some Irregular Verbs, such as Ser, Estar, Ir. We will learn Stem-Changing Verbs Querer and Tener. We will learn the Direct Object Pronoun, the Indirect Object Pronoun, and the Verb Form ‘Me Gusta”. We will learn the Preterite and the Imperfect of Regular Verbs. In our class we focus on the four key areas of foreign language study: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The course is a blend of language learning presented in class and practice online through Duolingo and Kahoot. Students will ask and answer guided questions as well as make-up their own questions and answers in class and on the homework. Active participation is essential for success in this course. The group class meets twice a week, new vocabulary is introduced during this group meeting. It is reviewed, practiced and/or advanced during one-on-one tutoring.
Students in Spanish II shall be familiar with phrases, grammar patterns, and identify parts of speech such as Nouns, Adjectives, Subject Pronouns, Verbs, Conjugations, Adverbs, etc. In cultural awareness, they will learn some early California History that relates to the Hispanic Culture such as the colonization of California by the Spaniards, California becoming part of Mexico, the discovery of gold, the purchase of California by the USA, and the becoming of California as a State.
6th Grade Study Skills
Study Skills is a course designed to facilitate the executive functioning abilities needed to become an active learner. It does not focus on any particular academic subject, rather the concept and act of learning. This course will facilitate the growth of necessary confidence, organization, advocacy and self-awareness for students to succeed. It takes a whole-person approach to learning, not focusing on any one particular area of difficulty, but the whole learner. This course will be a foundation for their entire learning environment, providing reflection, inspiration, stability and a source of control over their education.
Goals: Balance, Organization & Advocacy. Establish and maintain customized organizational, time management, studying and advocacy skills for each TREE participant. Own their relationship to learning. Homeroom & Accountability. Students will have a reliable schedule to check in on organizational, planning, and development of various school projects/courses. Practical skills building for deeper level learning ex: presentations, essay construction, note taking etc. Future Planning. Create a home for college and career research, personal/professional development and exam/application preparation. The teacher will enrich student interest through strategic planning of Passion Projects.
6th Grade Learning Lab
“It’s more than just a quiet room for independent work. In many ways,
it’s the heartbeat of what we’re doing at TREE.” - Director of School, Darryl Sollerh
The Learning Lab is where the nexus of learning occurs. Students are taking what they’re exposed to in the classroom and putting that into practice. In addition to being a space for academic practice & guidance, the Learning Lab gives staff the opportunity to observe and learn how our students are absorbing and processing what is being taught in the classroom. As TREE strives to serve the whole student, the Learning Lab is where our community learns to thrive together.
6th Grade Life Skills
The Life Skills course is designed to assist students in growing and deepening their capacity to build relationships and community. An integral part of this process is to further curiosity and challenge the assumptions we hold about ourselves and others, in order to become better able to understand and value differing perspectives.
Most conflict, whether interpersonal or cultural, arises when we assume that others hold a perspective that is antagonistic to our own. By better understanding our assumptions and biases, and by being curious about other stories and motives, we are better able to communicate with kindness and empathy.
Encouraging kind, empathic communication is the foundation of this course, and topics of discussion will include issues that arise in adolescence such as bullying, isolation, online safety, temptation and experimentation (drugs) and friendship, all with an underlying theme of personal safety.
Larger themes of social and cultural relevance will be explored as well, and I envision conversations about power and oppression, race and privilege, cultural diversity, gender equality, and poverty to name a few. Given the nature of our current political and social landscape, I intend to remain flexible in order to give space for conversations that arise in response to current events.
There will be, as well, a psychoeducational component to the class. General topics that I plan to cover are sexuality, gender, and sexual health and hygiene.
Additionally, some simple education about the connection between our nervous system and our bodies and emotional experiences will be presented as I introduce some simple skills for self-regulation and overall wellness.
6th Grade Sustainable Culinary Science
The object of sustainable gardening is to introduce the students to urban horticulture using sustainable methods such as organic practices, composting and water harvesting. The lectures will provide the background necessary to start an urban garden at home. The lectures will be reinforced with presentations in the form of slideshows and short films and discussions in class. TREE has several gardening beds and a small aquaponic system where the students will be exposed and encouraged to apply the learned material for the cultivation of edibles.
6th Grade Inner Peace (Meditation)
Based on the forthcoming book by Venerable Burin, the inner peace curriculum explores how we can bring more equilibrium, calmness and mental focus to our everyday lives through the art and techniques of meditation based on age or principles.
6th Grade Sustainable World Studies
Environmental education studies broaden and deepen our students’ understanding of the immediate and long-term issues facing our natural world, including studies in resource management. By partnering with leading nonprofits in the field, our students are challenged to exercise both practical and creative thinking -- thinking that can lead to both low- and high-tech solutions.