Welcome to 6th grade! Sixth grade marks the beginning of middle school at St. Mary's. This is a huge transition for students: they begin rotating teachers, being more responsible for their own time, and making plans for high school and beyond. Many students are concerned when they first enter 6th grade, so we spend time working on learning how schedules work, knowing what they need and when they need it, managing stress and communicating needs, and time management.
In middle school, students attend all of their core classes each day. In addition, they also have two specials each day; rotating through music, physical education, STEAM, library, art, and Spanish. Some students choose to take band as well, and will have individual practice sessions scheduled during the school day. Along with being the 6th grade homeroom teacher, I am also the math and science teacher for middle school.
In 6th grade, math continues to focus on computational fluency. We limit the use of calculators and participate in activities that help students develop their number sense. Number sense is like common sense, but with numbers! It is vital to their future success to have a strong foundational understanding of how numbers work together as they work towards more abstract concept in higher grades.
We spend the 6th grade year learning physical science. The first half of the year focuses on the chemistry side of things; building on the students' understanding of states of matter and atoms before moving into chemical bonds and reactions. The second half of the year's focus is physics, with much time spent on Newton's Laws of Motion, the concept of energy, and the fascinating behavior of waves. We participate in many hands-on activities that make science more manageable and concrete.
Outreach and Activities:
In the past, 6th graders have worked with our Spanish teacher, Mrs. Sjostedt, to organize a baby drive. They collect diapers, baby clothes, and other supplies that are then sent to the Essential Pregnancy Services building across the street. EPS has worked with us to give tours of the facility and explain (in very child-friendly terms) what it is they do and why they do it.
We have a few class parties throughout the year, and students always have a great time playing games and making crafts with each other. There are many other activities that we do throughout the year and lots of opportunities for students to step up to leadership roles within the classroom. We have several activities outside of school hours as well; including chess club, student council, and book bowl - giving students a chance to pursue their passions and have fun too!
- Mrs. Ham 6th Grade Homeroom Teacher, Math and Science Teacher, Director of Extended Day