6th Grade

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As 6th Graders, our students are Laurence School's seniors. You can recognize them by their special Letterman jackets. The 6th Grade curriculum stimulates and challenges students to refine their time management and study skills and become better critical and creative thinkers. In addition, they develop greater independence and responsibility for monitoring their own work and goals, strengthen their leadership abilities, and make a difference in the lives of others by mentoring younger students and performing acts of kindness.

This culminating year is memorable for our students as they take on lead roles in the upper school musical, the student newspaper, and Student Government, as well as participate in our Kids' Court mock trial program.

Reading

Sixth Graders read a variety of challenging and inspirational novels, short stories, and poems, including many that connect to relevant social studies, science, and character education themes. An emphasis is placed upon reading critically and making inferences in a wide variety of genres. Using active reading techniques, students interact with the text by annotating, making predictions and connections, determining the author’s intent, and studying key story elements. Our 6th Grade readers also focus on interpreting literary and expository excerpts and making meaningful real-world connections.

Writing

In our writing program, students refine the content, clarity, and mechanics of their expository and narrative written works. They increase their skills in structuring five-paragraph essays in a clear, cogent, and linear manner. Students also engage in independent research, extrapolating information from a variety of sources, taking notes, creating outlines, and citing their sources in their published written product. The 6th Grade program embraces a rich diversity of written genres. With these research and organizational skills carefully honed, our students leave Laurence with the foundation for success in secondary school and beyond.

Math

During the culminating year of our mathematics program, our students are provided with an extensive review of whole number operations, fractions, decimals, percentages, and geometry, preparing them for the higher-level and analytical thinking that is the foundation of middle school pre-algebra and algebra programs. Additionally, problem-solving skills are reinforced through practical application to real-world experiences. Accelerated students spend the year exploring pre-algebra and linear and algebraic equations.

Fourth through 6th Grade students are eligible to participate in our Mathletes Club, which meets weekly to explore complex, challenging math problems and competes (with great success) throughout Los Angeles in a variety of math tournaments.

Social Studies

In social studies, our 6th Grade students study world cultures, focusing on the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Israel, Egypt, China, India, Greece, and Rome through research, literature study, and hands-on activities and projects. Pairing with sister countries Israel and India as part of our Global Education program, the children enhance their understanding of the commonalities and differences between themselves and their like-aged peers abroad, with whom they communicate. Our children’s global awareness forms an essential part of their Culminating Academic Presentations in the Spring where they research, analyze, and share highlights of personal interest regarding their sister country.

Character Education/Service Learning

Character Education & Service Learning takes center-stage, as our 6th Grade students serve as caring friends to special needs children from a nearby public school, the Lowman Special Education Center. The children are afforded a multitude of opportunities to make a difference in the wider community through delivering contributions to the North Hollywood Interfaith Food Pantry, participating in Laurence’s “Power of One” community service program, and organizing a turkey-drive for the Lowman School families at Thanksgiving.

Student Ambassadorship

Sixth Graders use their years of experience at Laurence, as well as their public speaking skills, to act as confident and passionate student ambassadors, providing guided tours to prospective families.

Science

The science program provides many hands-on, experiential opportunities for our students to continue to explore the changing world around them. The 6th Grade program includes a three-day, two-night outdoor educational experience to WOLF Camp. There, students participate in team-building activities, as well as in science enrichment programs.

In class, students study units on ecology, genetics, archaeology, energy, chemistry, and the diversity of life.

As leaders of our school-wide Planting Day, the 6th Grade students nurture Laurence’s Edible Garden and prepare the garden beds. They also plan which vegetables to grow, decide which science activities to demonstrate, and organize numerous interactive stations, which are visited by their younger peers. Experiments have included testing vegetables for sugar and starch content and matching seeds to their grown vegetable counterparts. Activity stations have included: an eating station, where students enjoy vegetable-based soups and hearty breads; a planting station, where sixth graders supervise the younger students as they bury various winter vegetables into our Edible Garden soil; a savory station, where children smell, touch, and taste freshly-grown herbs; and an experiment station where Laurence 6th Graders lead the younger grades in an experiment of their choosing.

Buddy Program

To their Kindergarten friends, the 6th Grade students act as big buddies, mentoring their younger counterparts through meaningful social and academic interactions. They meet once a week to engage in directed activities where the older students act as guides and instructors. In addition their weekly get-togethers, the students participate in the occasional buddy snack or dessert.

Kids' Court

In the acclaimed Kids' Court, Head of School, Lauren Wolke, J.D., introduces the children to the fundamentals of the United States' legal system. Under her leadership, our students place historical, literary, and fairytale characters on trial for a variety of crimes and bring the drama of the courtroom to life. The children assume the roles of prosecutors, defense attorneys, and witnesses. Ultimately, student juries determine the guilt or innocence of the famous defendants. This highly-acclaimed program, which has received considerable newspaper and television coverage, enhances students’ critical thinking skills, as they write a mock trial and develop and support their legal positions. Kids’ Court program includes guest speakers, panel discussions, a courthouse field trip, debate classes, and a school-wide jury selection.

Culminating Academic Presentations

Culminating Academic Presentations (CAP’s) are individualized projects that 6th Grade students undertake as they prepare to embark on their secondary school careers. The subject matter for these reports is student-selected, based on a subject they feel passionate about.

Students bring their research to life by creating Keynote presentations. They also use Pages, to keep track of important information during the researching stage and to ultimately publish their research report.

On presentation day, students come to school dressed for success and ready to impress their parents, peers, teachers, and administrators alike with their knowledge, understanding, and poise.