Grade 6 School and Class Work: Info for Parents

During the 6th grade, your child will take classes in a variety of subjects designed to help him develop the verbal and computational skills necessary for a successful middle school experience. Continue reading to learn more about common academic subjects for 6th graders.

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What 6th Graders Learn in School

For many students, entering the 6th grade means transitioning from elementary school to middle school and from childhood to early adolescence. Your 6th grader is developing her ability to grasp abstract concepts, to consider alternate points of view and to claim a certain amount of independence at home. She may be ready to take responsibility for completing homework assignments and may thrive if offered a chance to do household chores on her own timeline. This said, your 6th grader is not an adult; your influence still matters and she may continue to need help setting boundaries in several aspects of life.

Common 6th Grade Subjects

English Language Arts

In English language arts classes, your child will read a variety of informational and narrative texts and should be able differentiate between poetry, drama, fiction and non-fiction forms. Sixth graders are commonly asked to identify an author's primary purpose and to offer conclusive ideas about a passage's theme, characters, plot and setting. Students should also be comfortable explaining prominent literary devices, such as metaphor, simile or alliteration.

During the 6th grade, students may be asked to write 2-3 paragraph essays that include topic sentences and back-up evidence. Students may practice writing persuasive, informational, creative and expository essays. To look up information for assignments, 6th graders should be familiar with the basic uses of atlases, thesauri, dictionaries and encyclopedias. Encouraging your child to read age-appropriate books during his free time can help him develop the skills necessary to successfully complete writing assignments. Consider taking him to a bookstore and letting him pick out a few fictional books to read on weekends or during school breaks.


Math classes for 6th graders often emphasize mastering arithmetic operations with whole numbers, fractions and decimals. During this year, students may also be expected to adequately calculate the range, median, mode and mean of data groupings. Some weeks are likely to be devoted to geometry, and may include locating the perimeter, area and circumference of a circle. During this time, students may also practice identifying diverse polygon forms and identifying whether an angle is adjacent, vertical, complementary or supplementary. Finally, by the end of the 6th grade, students are likely to have practiced solving 1-step equations with one variable and word problems involving rate, speed, distance and time.


For 6th graders, science class may address the properties of the physical world or may explore notable aspects of the Solar System and the Earth. Finally, many 6th grade students will spend a portion of class time studying simple biological processes or facets of interdependence within ecosystems.

Social Studies

Social studies courses for 6th graders are likely to vary between schools. This said, your 6th grader is likely to take a course that teaches aspects of history, civics, geography and economics from a perspective of helping them to consider the human condition and how it has changed over time. Content may include aspects of American history or an analysis of world history. Some schools instruct students in developments within ancient cultures that influenced the dawn of Western civilization. Social studies classes will commonly include close and critical readings of texts and persuasive essay assignments.

Tips for Struggling Students

If your 6th grader is struggling academically, consider buying her an assignment notebook so she can keep track of homework assignments and tests. At the beginning of each week, help her list her classes on the page for each day and show her where to write tasks for each class. Check her assignment notebook throughout the week to make sure she is writing the assignments as she receives them. Purchasing color-coded folders and binders for each class is another useful way to help your 6th grader organize her schoolwork.

You can also support a struggling 6th grader by helping him create a quiet study space in his room or in a corner of your home. If he has trouble concentrating during homework sessions, consider sitting by him and doing your own work while he studies. Your ability to concentrate on work tasks may positively influence your 6th grader to put extra effort into focusing on his homework assignments.

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