Look Inside

Grade VI

There are four Grade VI classrooms with up to 17 students in each section. 

About Grade VI

List of 9 items.

  • Grade 6 Central Subject: Africa

    Naturally embedded in any academic curriculum are human themes. In keeping with Shady Hill School’s traditions, we aim to integrate within all subjects themes including character, values, respect for self and others, and the responsibility children have as members of the community.

    In Grade VI we build on ideas introduced in previous years to address concerns that 11- and 12-year-olds are typically beginning to confront: assumptions, stereotyping, peer pressure, inclusion/exclusion, community service, and social justice. Because we are especially mindful of the important developmental transitions experienced by sixth graders, we link much of our curriculum to the central theme of “rites of passage.” Throughout the year, students earn beads that symbolize their achievements in meeting certain social, emotional, academic, and physical challenges. These accomplishments promote a sense of individual progress for each child and enhance the cohesiveness of the entire age group.
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  • Mathematics in Grade VI

    (Nine 50-minute periods over ten days)

    The Middle School mathematics program at Shady Hill School guides students in constructing new mathematical knowledge built upon deep understanding and prior learning. The program provides students with meaningful learning experiences through discovery and exploration, complemented by the formalization of requisite algorithms and skill work. Students work both independently and collaboratively in class. They develop skill in problem–solving, and further their ability to communicate and justify their reasoning. They are encouraged to represent their thinking in both oral and written form. Students make connections to mathematical ideas and to real-world experiences. The use of manipulatives and technology allows students to move from concrete to abstract thinking in the ongoing development of mathematical ideas.

    The Sixth Grade math curriculum explores new concepts with numbers and operations while continuing to work with whole numbers, fractions, decimals, percent, and measurement. Work with fractions includes multiplication, division, and operations with mixed numbers. Number theory comprises primes, factors, multiples, and Venn diagrams. The study of geometry covers angle measurement, classification of geometric figures, area, perimeter, and volume. Opportunities for algebraic reasoning occur throughout the curriculum in order to build the foundation for the formal study of algebra in the upper grades.
  • Science In Grade VI

    (Seven 50-minute periods over ten days)

    This course emphasizes the use of the Shady Hill outdoor campus, as well as our conviction that the best way to understand our complex planet Earth is to begin by paying close attention to one’s home in nature. Students learn about the natural environment in order to see how all parts are interconnected. Observational techniques and careful record keeping are practiced. Students then share information with the whole group to allow them to practice communication skills and increase their understanding of the entire area. Studies begin with a survey of trees as examples of living things. The rocks and soil of the area are then examined along with plate tectonics in order to connect how the non-living parts of the natural community affect the living parts, and how things change over time. Topographic maps are used to learn about the landscape. Students consider the reasons for large-scale geographic change, both natural and man-made. After experimenting to derive laws of motion and designing experiments to mimic the effects of seasonal sunlight, students support and defend different ideas of planetary motion. This leads to how changes in celestial objects affect us on Earth. In the spring, classes spend time examining climate data, looking at adaptations through bird watching, and other similar activities, to come to a better understanding of the larger topics of evolution and climate change.
  • Physical Education & Athletics in Grade VI

    ATHLETICS - Three 90-minute periods per week plus games
    Students in Grades VI, VII, and VIII have opportunities to compete in a full interscholastic athletic program. Shady Hill offers ten interscholastic sports (cross country, field hockey, soccer, flag football, basketball, ice hockey, lacrosse, tennis, track and field, and ultimate frisbee), fielding approximately 24 teams. Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Grade students are required to participate on at least one Shady Hill interscholastic team per year. 

    PHYSICAL EDUCATION - Five 50-minute periods per cycle
    Students in Grades VI, VII, and VIII have opportunities to engage in and deeply explore rich and diverse physical activities during the school day, and participate in regular dismissal. Shady Hill offers yoga, fencing, fitness, and intramural sports as electives during select trimesters. Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Grade students may choose one or two electives per year, one per trimester. These students will also participate in at least one Shady Hill interscholastic team per year. We believe our Middle School Physical Education program brings choice and balance, and an overall robust experience to our oldest students.

    Students who participate seriously in year-round sports and athletic endeavors not offered by the school may apply for a full-year exemption. In all parts of the program, there is a three-pronged emphasis: the pursuit of fitness, cognitive understanding of concepts, and the development of self-confidence. The ultimate goal is to gain team and personal success while modeling Shady Hill’s core values. 
  • Music & Performing Arts In Grade VI

    (Two 50-minute periods per week)

    Each Sixth Grade class meets for music twice each cycle for 50 minutes of General Music. In addition, students may elect to participate in the school orchestra, chorus, or jazz band.
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  • Woodshop In Grade VI

    (Three 50-minute periods over ten days for half the year)

    In Grade VI, students design and carve a mask project. We begin with an examination and discussion of mask making across cultures, both modern and primitive. Students arrive at their designs by exploring the symbolism and the transformative nature of masks through drawing. They are required to consider the meaning and symbolic value of their designs and are encouraged to develop a character or story that their mask exhibits. The work requires training in and proficient use of hand and power tools including saws, drills, a wide variety of carving tools, and the lathe. Upon completion of their mask, students may choose another project if time allows.
  • Art Studio In Grade VI

    (Three 50-minute periods over ten days for half the year)

    Sixth Graders have studio instruction with either Kirk Goetchius or Aparna Agrawal. While the classes complete different projects, students continue to build skills and a personal language in art-making through observation and landscape drawing, portrait and textural painting, and sculpture – all in various materials. Sixth graders work on elements of design, leading to textured acrylic paintings inspired by traditional African architectural motifs and use clay to make vessels, sculptural objects and learn the basics of throwing pots on the wheel. Students are encouraged to discover which mediums interest them the most and to use the longer periods, and their growing maturity, to develop skills in those areas.
  • Middle School Community in Grade VI

    (One 50-minute Assembly per week)

    Assembly is a regular time designated for Middle School students, faculty, and staff to build and maintain community. A variety of activities are scheduled during this time, from large group games and icebreakers to classroom sharing and performances by visiting artists and outside speakers.

    (Two 10-minute Morning Meetings per week) 

    Weekly meetings of Grades V-VIII, led by Grade VIII students, provide opportunities for school and division-related announcements, class sharing, and brief performances. This informal blend of news, information, and entertainment builds community spirit and Middle School unity. In addition, these meetings feature Eighth Grade “declamations” of original written compositions.
  • Library In Grade VI

    (One 50-minute period per week)

    Students alternately meet with a librarian or use the period for Quiet Reading, an independent reading program supported by the librarians but overseen by the Gradehead. Librarian-led classes include book discussion, research instruction, and the fine-tuning of library skills. Students also use the library on a flexibly scheduled basis throughout the year to complete research projects.

Grade VI Faculty

List of 14 members.

  • Stephen Bennhoff 

    Grade VI Gradehead
  • Photo of Katherine Hesko

    Katherine Hesko 

    Grade VI Gradehead
    College of the Holy Cross - B.A.
    Tufts University - M.Ed.
    TTC '08
  • Photo of Antonio Humphrey

    Antonio Humphrey 

    Grade VI Gradehead
    Vassar College - B.A.
    Lesley University - M.Ed.
  • Photo of Kate Radlauer

    Kate Radlauer 

    Grade VII Gradehead
    Connecticut College - B.A.
  • Photo of Melissa Carver

    Melissa Carver 

    Director of Athletics and Physical Education
    Springfield College
    Lehman College - Master's
  • Photo of Kirk Goetchius

    Kirk Goetchius 

    Visual Arts Department
    Connecticut College - B.A.
    Tufts University - M.A.
    TTC '86
  • Photo of Darin Goulet

    Darin Goulet 

    Performing Arts Department Chair
    Harvard College - B.A.
  • Photo of Tom Harding

    Tom Harding 

    Mathematics Chair
    Amherst College - A.B.
    Tufts University - M.A.T.
    TTC '88
  • Photo of Jody Kopple

    Jody Kopple 

    Library Director
    Earlham College - B.A.
    Antioch College - M.Ed.
    Pratt Institute - M.L.S.
  • Photo of Suzanne Locke

    Suzanne Locke 

    Mathematics Teacher
    Lafayette College - A.B.
  • Photo of Heidi McCune

    Heidi McCune 

    Assistant Director of Athletics
    California University of Pennsylvania - M.S.
    Loyola Marymount University - B.A.
  • Photo of Brendan Murphy

    Brendan Murphy 

    PE Teacher
    University of New Hampshire - B.S.
  • Photo of John Segar

    John Segar 

    Middle School Shop Teacher
    Mass. College of Art
  • Photo of Stephanie Travers

    Stephanie Travers 

    Grades B-V Physical Education Curriculum Coordinatior
    Springfield College - B.S.
    Springfield College - M.Ed.
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617.520.5260      178 Coolidge Hill  Cambridge MA 02138           Association of Independent Schools in New England