In your child’s classroom

Transitioning to middle school

Sixth grade brings many changes. Your child may be transitioning to a middle school where he will be among the youngest in the school. He may be going to a new school, with new classmates. He may move from having one teacher to having a different teacher for each subject.

He will have more long-term homework assignments and projects, and will need to step up his organizational skills to keep track of different assignments and deadlines for various teachers. You can help him develop study and time-management skills by having him write down and keep track of his summer activities and engagements in a planner.

There may be more opportunities for your child to take part in sports and clubs. During the summer engage your child in activities that interest her. If she likes to act or play tennis, support these opportunities by going to a play, or finding a court to play tennis.

Tonya Breland, our teacher consultant, explains: “The transition to sixth grade can be challenging because of all of the new changes physically, socially and academically. Make it a priority to schedule time with your child involved in the activities that interest him. This will strengthen the bond between you at this very vulnerable age.”

Building reading and writing skills

In language arts your child continues to read a variety of texts, and analyzes and identifies recurring themes in literature. He’ll write more advanced narrative pieces such as a personal narrative or folk tale. This summer, have your child write a personal narrative about a summer excursion. Explain that a personal narrative is a story of an event in one’s life that is written with the purpose of entertaining the reader. Have her write in the first person using “I” to tell her story.

Mastering math

In math your child will work with percentages and learn the formulas for the circumference and area of a circle. You can help him understand how to apply classroom math lessons to real-world problems. When the restaurant bill comes to the table, ask your child to figure out the tip. While shopping, ask your child to figure out the final cost of an item after the posted discount. Don’t forget to add the sales tax, if the purchase is taxable.

Every child passes through a range of social, academic and developmental stages at his own pace. Below are some guidelines about what to look forward to in the year ahead.

Physical and social skills you can expect of your sixth grader:

  • Express his concerns directly
  • Stand up for a friend
  • Experience a range and intensity of emotions
  • Take on greater responsibility for her behavior and decisions
  • Possibly experience the onset of puberty

Academic skills you can expect of your sixth grader:

  • Analyze how authors use dialogue, imagery and mood, to develop the plot, characters, point of view, and theme in literature
  • Read, retell and summarize grade-level appropriate narrative and informational texts
  • Write a multi-paragraph composition with writing strategies such as dialogue and suspense
  • Define good writing by others and identify the strengths and weaknesses in his own writing
  • Begin taking simple notes
  • Multiply and divide common fractions and mixed numbers
  • Perform multi-step math word problems

Learn more about where your child should be at the end of fifth grade.