English Language Arts » Grade 6

Grade 6

Man climbing a mountain carrying a bikeUnit Title: Testing Our Limits
Essential Question: What do we do when life gets hard?
Genre Focus: Fiction
Extended Writing Project: Narrative

What do we do when life gets hard? How do we respond in a difficult situation? What do we do when our limits are tested? How do we face a challenge? What actions can we take to solve a problem? How can we overcome feelings of sadness, stress, or fear?

These are the questions your students will explore in this Grade 6 unit, which focuses on the genre of fiction.

Life is full of challenges, and some are harder than others. What we choose to do or say in the face of these challenges often varies based on the challenge itself. Sometimes we choose to respond to challenges by attempting something that we have never done before, something that might even scare us a little. Climbing a mountain or running a marathon are challenges that people can choose to face. Often, however, life presents us with difficulties when people least expect them, such as an emergency or a crisis.

Texts within the unit’s genre and across other genres present different perspectives on responding to life’s unexpected difficulties.
People holding sparklersUnit Title: You and Me
Essential Question: How do relationships shape us?
Genre Focus: Poetry
Extended Writing Project: Argumentative

Can you even count the number of relationships you have had in your life? Some relationships are close and others more distant, but the relationships in our lives teach us about the people and even the animals around us. Even more important, our relationships can teach us a lot about ourselves.

What kinds of relationships do people have? Why are they important? Relationships with family, friends and those around us can bring much joy, but they can also cause pain and frustration. What do readers learn when they study and analyze the relationships depicted in literary works? How can this help us with some of our own relationships?

Human bonds have been the subject of both fiction and informational texts. They are often the subject of poetry. This unit offers a wide variety of literature about relationships for your students to explore.
Tree with open skyUnit Title: In the Dark
Essential Question: How do you know what to do when there are no instructions?
Genre Focus: Informational Text
Extended Writing Project: Informative

Darkness is associated with the unknown and the unknowable. It can be real, like an unexplored cave, or something like the unknown events that the future may bring. Darkness inspires fear and encourages uncertainty, yet some people find it safer to remain there. They would rather be “in the dark” than to take steps to try and “see the light.”

Is darkness a place to live in, run from, or explore? What qualities does a person need in order to “face the darkness”? How does facing the darkness affect or change a person? How does one finally reach the decision to take action in the face of uncertainty?

This unit offers a mixture of texts, both fiction and informational, about people that face uncertainty.
Bird flyingUnit Title: Personal Best
Essential Question: Which qualities of character matter most?
Genre Focus: Argumentative Text
Extended Writing Project: Literary Analysis

In sports, the phrase “personal best” refers to an athlete’s greatest achievement—the fastest race, the highest jump, the perfect score. For most of us, however, “personal best” refers to those moments when we act in a noble or just way. They are moments when we can feel proud of ourselves for having done the right thing—like standing up for our principles or sticking up for people in need.

What qualities of character do people need in order to achieve their personal best? Must one make sacrifices or face big challenges in order to reach it? Once a personal best is attained, does that moment define a person for the rest of his or her life? When people become known for their personal best, how does fame affect them and their character?

This unit offers a mixture of texts about real individuals and fictional characters who achieve their personal best through wrestling with familiar and realistic struggles.