Humanities in 6th Grade
Sixth grade Humanities weaves together the disciplines of literature and history. This course is grounded in three major themes: politics and power, faith and belief, and culture contact. Students look at our own class culture through the campus-wide themes of risk, respect, and responsibility. Students study the period following the collapse of the Roman Empire, including the dynastic rule in medieval China, medieval Europe, and the rise and spread of Islam and the achievements of the Islamic empire. Students investigate the similarities and differences between Judaism, Islam, and Christianity with a focus on their common Abrahamic roots. Students also examine the travels of Marco Polo, the rise and fall of the Mongol Empire, and the West African kingdoms of Ghana and Mali. The historical focus then turns to politics and power, with close reading and essay writing.
Each week begins with a news reporting program that helps students to connect history to current events. Students read literature from the various countries and time periods, both independently and as a class. Students review and strengthen the skills of close reading and annotating, and students explore a wide variety of primary and secondary source material and Chinese mythology. Students develop their skills of literary analysis with a focus on developing a thesis and substantiating evidence to support it. In addition, students work on an autobiographical portfolio, which consists of several narrative events and a compare/contrast essay. They expand their vocabulary and enrich their writing by exploring poetry, report writing, creative writing, and language mechanics. Class discussions focus on multiple perspectives on historical and literary figures of vastly different cultures and historical epochs.