4832 Highland Ave.

Downers Grove, IL 60515

9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Monday to Friday

6th Grade

6th Grade

Meet Our Teachers

Mrs. Humphrey | Bio
Mr. Laurinaitis | Bio
Mrs. Phelan | Bio
Mrs. Ragnini | Bio
Mrs. Stough | Bio
Mrs. Wojtasiak | Bio

Curriculum Highlights

  • Outdoor Education – 6th graders have the unique opportunity to participate in Outdoor Education, a three-day integrated “offsite” learning experience.  The program integrates hands on science, religion, and team building activities in a camp setting, supervised by teachers, trained camp staff and parent volunteers alike.
  • In reading, 6th graders read from a variety of genres to motivate them to develop a life-long love of reading. In language arts, students learn and demonstrate the different writing styles and continue to refine their use of grammar and various steps of the writing process.
  • Science concepts include ecosystems, matter and energy, simple machines, and the early stages of planning, designing, and conducting their own scientific investigation.
  • An introduction to the main historical concepts related to the Empires of the Ancient World is a main focus in social studies.

Middle School Expectations

  • 6th grade students are held to higher expectations of responsibility and accountability for academic performance and Catholic values-based behavior, along with parental and institutional support.
  • Integrated Technology – 6th grade students at St. Joseph participate in an enhanced technology curriculum.  Students receive and use personal Chromebooks for daily classroom instruction. Students and teachers utilize Google classroom throughout the entire curriculum, including content and delivery, collaborative learning, independent research projects, teacher-student communication, assessments, and overall student literacy.
  • In 6th grade, there are many opportunities for students to participate in various academic competitions such as math competitions, Geography Bees, and Scholastic Bowls at local Catholic high schools. St. Joseph School is proud of their exceptional track record at many of these academic competitions.
  • Middle school religious studies require students to participate in an in-depth review of the Ten Commandments with an application to how they affect one’s morality, develop insights as to why all of life is worthy of reverence, explain how God calls us to act in a loving way toward one another using knowledge of the Beatitudes and Catholic Social Teachings, and explore virtues and works of mercy as a method of living the model Jesus gave us.



  • Old Testament
  • Creation
  • Exodus
  • God’s Covenant
  • Commandments/Beatitudes
  • Abraham
  • Judges
  • Jacob
  • Kings
  • Joseph
  • Prophets
  • Moses
  • Wisdom Books
  • David
  • New Testament
  • Gospel Message / Good News
  • Comparisons of Old Testament figures and teachings to Jesus and his teachings
  • The Beginning of the Church
  • The Niti Letters

Liturgical Themes

  • Ordinary Time
  • Advent
  • Lent
  • Pentecost
  • Christmas
  • Easter

Marks of the Church

  • Christian Mission
  • Sacraments

Prayer Rituals / Forms of Prayer

  • Rosary / Mysteries
  • Our Father
  • Hail Mary
  • Glory Be
  • Hail Holy Queen
  • Apostles Creed
  • Stations of the Cross
  • Reconciliation
  • People of Faith / Communication of Saints
  • Catholic Social Teachings

Assignments / Assessments

  • Scripture Activities
  • Quizzes / Tests
  • Service Projects – developed and implemented by students

Social Studies

  • Early Civilizations
  • Mesopotamia
  • Egypt
  • India
  • China
  • Greece
  • Rome
  • Middle Ages
  • Reformation
  • Renaissance and Exploration
  • Current Events – Time for Kids Magazine
  • Dare – 10 weeks in first semester


  • Graphing
  • Inference
  • Listening
  • Map
  • Note taking
  • Reading Comprehension


  • Research
  • Cross-circular


Life Science

  • Scientific method and measurement
  • Abiotic/biotic factors in an environment
  • Outdoor Education experience

Earth Science

  • Earth processes
  • Atmospheric systems
  • Erosion
  • Plate tectonics
  • Topographic maps

Science, Technology & Society

  • Recognize a design problem
  • Identify important contributions to science and technology

Expectations of Science Students

  • Develop organizational skills
  • Identify and use the steps of Scientific Method
  • Responsibly use tools and equipment to accurately measure and record data
  • Practice a variety of note-taking skills
  • Work collaboratively and cooperatively with fellow students during group assignments, labs and activities
  • Participate in a three-day Outdoor Ed experience emphasizing the relationships of all living and nonliving environmental elements

Reading & Literature

A diverse selection of literature and nonfiction will be used to enhance student development of higher level comprehension and inferential thinking. Skills will develop and improve as students are presented with the following focus:

  • Evaluating fact, opinion and bias
  • Identifying myths and fables
  • Analyzing style and purpose
  • Understanding elements of plot
  • Understanding the author’s purpose in various literary forms
  • Applying word analysis and vocabulary skills
  • Using textual evidence to support ideas
  • Researching to increase understanding of fiction and nonfiction readings
  • Units of study include: Short stories, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, Non-fiction, Mythology, Literature Circles, and Where the Red Fern Grows

Independent Reading/ Book Reports:

Students are expected to always bring an independent reading book with them to class.  Independent reading at home on a regular basis is always homework for this class.  Students are to complete three book reports per a trimester using the required book report format.  All book reports should be turned in on Google Classroom.


Vocabulary is a weekly part of Reading class. We will usually cover a unit every two weeks. A bi-weekly test is given, as well as unit work in the consumable text. Each lesson has twenty words, and unit reviews occur after every third and sixth unit.

Each unit contains:

  • An introductory lesson (word list, definitions, pronunciations, and parts of speech)
  • Completing the Sentence
  • Synonyms
  • Antonyms
  • Choosing the Right Word
  • Vocabulary in Context

Unit reviews include many of the same categories and also examine related words and building with classical root words.

The purpose of the Vocabulary Workshop program is to strengthen the students’ vocabulary in reading and writing. Students are encouraged to put these words into everyday use.

The students will be given an additional 10 basic words on their spelling vocabulary test that they will be required to spell accurately in their daily work.

Language Arts

  • Basic parts of speech, grammar, punctuation
  • Sentence structure and type of sentences
  • Basic diagramming
  • Paragraphing
  • Introduction to five paragraph essay
  • Research Paper
  • Oral Skills