Building a Strong Foundation
The best way to learn about the program at Hill is to talk to us and visit. If you would like to learn more we hope you will contact us, either through email or by calling the school to set up an appointment. We are proud of our program and eager to discuss it with you.
In reading, students study novels, folk and fairy tales, short stories, and poetry. When possible, literature includes voices from parts of the world studied in sixth grade history.
Students complete regular writing assignments, both creative and analytic. Students create and edit multiple drafts for major assignments. Genres include the personal narrative composition, fiction, poetry, letters, and paragraphs of literary analysis.
Students increase their vocabulary through study word-building, including prefixes, suffixes, and bases of words from classical origins.
Grammar is taught in the context of student writing. Topics include quotation marks, apostrophes and possessives, fragments and run-ons, and other conventions of standard written English.
Students read a personally selected or teacher-recommended book for at least two hours over the weekend. They are assessed through writing each Monday morning. They participate in book clubs and recommend books to each other through teaser-writing and book talks.
While we believe that developing a solid set of procedural math skills is vital for all students, we also encourage students to engage in productive struggle, to listen to and to learn from each other, and to defend their ideas. We help students understand themselves as mathematicians. Topics include number theory (including factors, multiples, as well as operations using fractions, decimals, and percents), two-dimensional geometry (including identifying polygons and using formulas), probability (experimental and theoretical probabilities), and statistics (organizing, representing, and analyzing data, and interpreting results).
This course provides a general foundation of knowledge about the world and its inhabitants. One objective is to have students improve their geographic competence: not only do they learn countries, capitals, and land forms, they also develop an increasingly detailed mental map of the world. The second objective is to make distant countries become “more real” by exploring their cultures and histories (religions, philosophies, significant events and people, and current events). The final objective is to improve social studies and student skills: reading and interpreting maps and charts, using a textbook, reading comprehension, and study habits.
The sixth graders begin the year with an intensive study of a major habitat that surrounds Hill School: flower gardens and the meadow. They investigate it through many on-campus field trips to gather data and observe phenomena in the field, as well as hands-on exploration in science labs. Students compare biomes around the world. Next they explore the physics and chemistry of atmosphere and balloon flight. In the winter they learn about cells, heredity, and genetics. After spring break they plan and plant a habitat restoration project on the campus. Once a trimester, students are asked to review a current article about science.
This course integrates a review of English grammar, language structure, and linguistic terms with the introduction of the Latin language. Emphasis is on the parts of speech, the functions of nouns, and agreement between Latin nouns, adjectives, and verbs. Special topics include a general study of Greek and Roman mythology and the Trojan War.
The art program teaches students to interpret and understand the world from the artist’s point of view. Students learn to recognize and use the concepts of design and composition, which are the building blocks of art. We strongly encourage experimentation. Art is integrated into many aspects of school life, supporting the Science, English, and History programs with interdisciplinary projects. Student work is always on display around the school and in the art building. The art department presents an art show each spring in which every student is represented. Our goal is to let students create work which expresses their individuality by providing them with the necessary technical skills and with the opportunities to experiment and invent.
The time in Music is spent actively singing, working with recorders (soprano, sopranino, alto, tenor, and bass), and the continued use of Orff instruments. Occasionally, bell ringing is part of the curriculum. Most of the choral music is two-part, with a third part introduced as skills allow. The focus is to encourage mastery of the voice and to build self-confidence with an eye to successful performance. The class performs at the Thanksgiving Assembly, the Holiday Concert, the Spring Sing Concert, and at Graduation.
The athletic department helps children develop positive habits of lifelong fitness and the desire to achieve their personal best in all endeavors. To achieve this, every child participates and competes in a variety of team and individual activities that promote sportsmanship, confidence, and competence in a physically and emotionally safe environment. Basic skills, teamwork, and conditioning are emphasized. Students participate in soccer, cross country running, basketball, gymnastics, track & field, lacrosse, and other games. Additionally, students participate in interscholastic competition and intramural green-white games.
Each year the 6th grade rehearses and performs a play. There are two performances – one during an all-school assembly and one in the evening. During rehearsals, students work on improvisation exercises, script analysis, and creating characters.
Upper School Academic Support
The Academic Support program strives to promote students’ understanding of their individual learning styles and empower them to become self-advocates. This class is designed for students to work on improving literacy skills, organization, time management, and study and test taking strategies. Students are supported in their work for core academic classes through individualized accommodations, and when appropriate, students are involved in creating a personal learning profile. In 6th grade, students take this class instead of Latin twice a week and regularly work in reading periods and study halls after school.