Jefferson Middle School

6th Grade Curriculum Guide


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Sixth Grade Required Classes

English Language Arts

The 6th grade ELA curriculum combines reading both literature and informational text with writing, speaking and listening, and language. The Tennessee state standards emphasize the connection between reading and writing and focus on developing the student’s ability to fully comprehend complex text including making connections, learning to cite evidence, and recognizing inconsistent or flawed reasoning. The reading/writing connection will be strengthened as students learn to apply critical reading skills when writing arguments, informative/explanatory essays, and narratives. Students will study the conventions of Standard English and vocabulary as a means of enhancing their comprehension of texts and ability to craft responses in both written and spoken forms.


Students are placed into regular or advanced math classes based on their past performance, test scores, and teacher recommendation. 

STANDARD Math- Depending on the class level, students may study integers, decimals, fractions, measurement, geometry, percents, probability, ratio and proportion, algebra, graphing and tables. Most students are placed in regular math.

ADVANCED Math- Advanced math students proceed at an accelerated pace and eventually begin working on 7th grade math standards.  


The sixthgrade science curriculum explores a variety of topics including life science, Earth science and physical science. Throughout the year, handson activities and laboratory experiences are incorporated to enhance the understanding of topics presented.

Social Studies

The social studies curriculum consists of World History and the study of Geography. The major focus is an indepth study of early civilizations through the decline of the Roman Empire (through 5th century C.E). Students gain a broader awareness of the world through studying the cultures of different nations.


Students will engage in self-paced independent reading practice, group reading tasks, and guided reading activities to develop reading fluency and comprehension.

Physical Education

The physical education program is an instructional class that teaches students the fundamentals of team sports, the importance of regular physical fitness, and lifetime wellness activities.Emphasis is placed on activities that condition students in physical strength and endurance as well as the development of coordination and physical skills.Students are required to have a set of physical education clothes for participation. Required PE clothes consist of midthigh length shorts with an elastic band or drawstring, a solid white, solid gray, solid royal blue, solid yellow, OR any Jefferson Eagles tshirt, athletic socks, and a pair of tennis shoes. Per JMS dress code, no spandex/compression leggings, pants, or capris are allowed to be worn in PE classes.Students also have the opportunity to have their own PE locker, which requires a combination lock.Students are required to participate and dress out in proper physical education clothes.Students must have a written note from a physician to be excused from PE.


Courses That Alternate with 6th grade P. E.

Sixth grade students rotate Art,Communication for Careers,Foundations of Technology, Keyboarding, or Music throughout the school year, alternating with physical education.


This is a term course. Art focuses on improving observational skills. Students are challenged to complete several drawings of everyday objects in class and at home.The final project of the class is an extensive color piece utilizing watercolor paint to add dimension to a large tree study.Students draw the tree on location in the school’s courtyard.If time warrants, student will also complete a threedimensional clay piece.

Career Exploration and Keyboarding Rotations

Career Explorations- This course is designed to assist students in practicing communication skills that are necessary to excel in future coursework and occupations.Students will learn about existing high school, college, and career pathways, and how to successfully transition into them.In Oak Ridge schools we are implementing ProjectBased Learning (PBL) as an engaging instructional approach for learning 21st century career skills. This course will emphasize academic learning goals and competencies that focus specifically on effective communication skills that are essential in life and careers.

Keyboarding Rotation– 6th grade classes will rotate through keyboarding for one nineweek period. During this rotation the student will demonstrate mastery of the keyboard with an emphasis on speed.

Foundations of Technology (S.T.E.M.)

This is a term course. This course enables students to develop technology literacy skills. Students are informed about space and space technology. Each student will build a rocket from paper materials and launch it the last week of class.


Sixth Grade Elective Courses

**Attention: Elective courses are ONLY available if a student is not in the RTI (Response to Intervention) program for Reading or Math. If a student is placed in RTI, they will be removed from their elective until they have shown growth in the supported subject area. Should you have any questions concerning RTI, a student’s placement, or how a student can move out of RTI, please contact Stephanie Hope or John Smith.


Students with prior band experience may take 6th Grade Band.In this class, students will continue refining and expanding on their previous musical fundamentals and performance skills.In addition to a few normal class supplies, students are expected to obtain an instrument, instrument maintenance accessories, and our band methodbook. Instead of obtaining an instrument, percussionists must have a prescribed set of mallets and accessories.Students will have the option to participate in the local solo and ensemble festival. Advanced students will be given permission to audition for local honor band clinics.As part of the course grade, all students are expected to perform in concerts, which take place outside of the school day. 6th graders with no prior band experience that are interested in joining band should contact the band director.


The primary focus of this class will be choral music. Students will learn the basics of choral singing, specifically, vocal health, reading choral music, breath control, scales, and expanding vocal range. As part of the course grade, students will be expected to perform in concerts, some which occur outside of the normal school day. During these concerts, performers will be required to wear the JMS chorus uniform of a chorus tshirt and jeans.


Orchestra is for students with some prior string instrument experience. Students play in performances at school and in area concerts. Students learn further bowing techniques, shifting, good sound production, and proper intonation in a variety of keys. Students participate in a festival competition in the spring.

Study Hall

This course focuses on topics related to science, technology, engineering, and math. Students will be able to work on homework intermittently during the week.


RTI (Response to Intervention) is a multitier approach to the early identification and support of students with learning needs.

Tier 1- The Whole Class

In the general education classroom; the teacher measures everyone’s skills. This is known as a universal screening that is given 3 times a year to the whole school (Fall, Winter, and Spring) to determine the students that fall at the 25th percentile or below for extra Tier 1 support. If your child falls at or below the 25th percentile your child will be placed in a Tier 2 or Tier 3 class in the areas of Math or English to provide more support because they are performing below their grade level. The screening helps the teacher work with students in small groups based on their skill levels. The school will let you know if your child is struggling and will update you on his/her RTI progress. In some schools, the majority of students need Tier 1 instructional support because their reading and math skills are not at grade level. During the intervention, the RTI team monitors students’ progress to see who might need additional support. Many students respond successfully to Tier 1 support and achieve gradelevel expectations.

Tier 2- Small Group Interventions (25th percentile11th percentile)

If your child isn’t making adequate progress in Tier 1, he/she will start to receive more targeted help. This is in addition to the regular classroom instruction (Tier 1), not a replacement for it. Tier 2 interventions take place every day during a designated period and students won’t miss any core instruction in the classroom. During these extra help sessions, he/she will be taught in small groups using a different method than in Tier 1 because the first method wasn’t successful. The teacher may also ask you to work with your child at home on certain skills.The school will monitor your child’s progress so it’s clear whether the Tier 2 intervention is helping through 4 ½ week progress reports sent by the school.

Tier 3: Intensive Interventions (at or below 10th percentile)

Typically, only a small percentage of the class will require Tier 3 support. In many schools, though, that number is much higher. If your child needs Tier 3 support, it will be tailored to his/her needs. Every day he/she will receive oneonone instruction or work in very small groups.Your child will continue to spend most of the day in the general education classroom. If he/she doesn’t make adequate progress in Tier 3, it’s likely that the school will recommend an evaluation for special education services. Core Focus(English or Math) This class is for those students that score close to the 25th percentile or the teacher has identified will benefit from extra support with current core classes. Students will be able to work on homework intermittently during the week and may need reteaching of Tier 1 instruction.