Grade 6



Our interdisciplinary Humanities courses nurture a love of literature and history while leading students to understand the world and its many cultures, past and present.  The program helps students to develop empathy for the full range of human experience and emotion and to refine the skills of communication and expression needed to engage as citizens of the global community.  We believe that students learn best through inquiry and practice of a critical and creative nature that encourages them to take personal and intellectual risks.

Sixth Grade Humanities

Essential Questions:
Why do people take journeys?  What effects do journeys have?
How does the family you belong to impact your life?
What happens when people from different places meet?
How does the place influence the story?

During the first week of school, every student in the sixth grade Humanities course embarks on a personal journey of discovery. Without looking, each person takes a turn touching a finger onto a spot on a spinning globe, revealing the country that will form the basis of a year-long research project. In addition to this individual geography study, sixth graders investigate journeys that change people and the world.  They explore the world’s diverse religions, geography and countries through literature, nonfiction, periodicals, films, interviews, presentations from guest speakers and field trips. 

Creative projects and daily practice lead students to build their reading, writing, research, presentation and study skills. Students read for pleasure, discussion, fluency and information; they write to discover, develop and organize their ideas, to argue a point, and to move an audience. They study vocabulary, dictionary usage, parts of speech, and basic sentence structure. Students also build the skills basic to the study of history: understanding timelines and dates, recognizing cause-and-effect relationships, and thinking critically.  

Literature selections in the past years have included Rules of the Road, The Watsons Go To Birmingham, 1963, The Canterbury Tales, Shadow Spinner, Adventures on the Ancient Silk Road, The Real Vikings, Habibi, A Long Walk to Water, Zlata the Goat, Beowulf, To the Edge of the World, selected poems, folk tales, and short stories.



Throughout the course of the year, every student constructs a hand-drawn map of the world. The country studies and the world maps are shared in a magnificent Foote tradition in the spring, the Festival of the World. Along the way, our sixth graders learn about geography, migrations, religious pilgrimages, the impact of international trade, and the meaning of discovery.


Sixth grade life science aims to engage and excite students about the living world around them, expose them to fundamental concepts in biology, and develop critical scientific, academic and personal skills. The course focuses on living systems from macro- and micro-levels and from multiple perspectives. Topics include the effects of stress on the human body, the essential role of genetics and the origin of life, cellular structures and human body systems, as well as social and contemporary issues related to the life sciences. Within these area of study, students gain experience with classification, data collection and documentation, and language for communicating about scientific subjects. 



In order to guide each student in the most appropriate way, our teachers carefully consider the best placement for levels and sections as they move from Lower School to Middle School. In Sixth Grade, students’ thinking is stretched through an extension of the foundational skills they began to acquire in the Lower School. Through explorations of rates, ratios, and proportions as well as a significant unit about probability, students begin to engage in complex applications of a wide range of operations. Two-and three-dimensional geometry, the coordinate plane, positive and negative integers, two-step equations and an introduction to inequalities round out the year. A highlight of the year is the casino project, in which students create their own games of probability and chance to demonstrate the math behind dice, cards, and calculating risks.

Fine Arts


The Foote School’s Drama Program provides students with an understanding of the importance of drama as an expression of the human experience, as well as with an appreciation of the role of the many forms of theater in cultural literacy.Drama fosters creativity, giving students the opportunity to improvise, act on a stage and write plays, as well as participate in the technical aspects of the theater. Learning the discipline and craft necessary for this constructive creation builds numerous skills, among those the crucial abilities to reason, make important decisions, and solve problems.

The drama program provides students with tools for critical assessment of what they read, see, and hear, with models and standards of excellence, and with a sense of the emotional power of theater — its ability to stir and inspire an audience. Finally, and of paramount importance, because theater illuminates the constancy of the human condition, its study furthers the students’ understanding of themselves.

In Middle School, drama classes include improvisation, playwriting, and many opportunities for performance. Students explore ethical dilemmas, dramatic plots, and methods for conveying complicated ideas. Monologues, dramatic literature, critique, and the technical components of theater are also included in the curriculum. The use of the stage--entrances, exits, sets, and production techniques are all incorporated into a variety of performances. In seventh and eighth grade, students have the opportunity to participate as actors or members of the stage crew for a major production that is performed in our black box theater in December. Ninth graders all take part their own play, which is prepared through the fall and winter and performed in March.

Visual Art

The Foote School Art Department strives to cultivate within its students a lifelong love and appreciation for art. The K-9 curriculum is designed to teach students developmentally appropriate skills and techniques at that build on one another to enhance aesthetic sensibilities, deepen critical thinking, and instill confidence to create works of art that are true representations of their ideas and their talent.

In our middle school visual arts classes, students explore global and historical themes. The sixth grade program reflects the global nature of the year-long study of the world through graphic design, travel posters, carving, print-making, and explorations of influential artists from around the globe. 


One of the primary goals of music education at the Foote School is to foster a love of music in each student. By participating in active music-making experiences, children are led to discover musical elements and develop musical skills, leading to another primary goal: musical literacy. During large assemblies, children perform with their classes in singing, playing instruments and showing their compositions as appropriate. The students also have many impromptu chances to present their forays into musical expressions: Jazz rock ensemble, Chorus, morning meeting presentations, the yearbook assembly and May Day. Teachers model appreciation for all areas of music, by being passionate about the enrichment of their own lives through music.

In the Middle School, students choose from a variety of musical electives, with options to pursue instruments such as guitar, hand bells, and steel drums.  Our middle school chorus provides another opportunity for continued participation in vocal performance.

World Language


In sixth-grade Chinese class, students learn to converse about topics in their everyday life, such as names, ages, nationalities, schools, families, pets, friends, languages, sports, and foods. While all of the lesson contents are initiated through listening and speaking, students are expected to read all of the text, while writing only a subset of characters per thematic unit. Students’ reading and writing fluencies increase considerably in the sixth grade.

A major portion of each class period is spent on engaging interactive oral and aural practices. As students learn about each topic, they make cultural and linguistic comparisons between Chinese and their own lives and expressions. As in the lower school, students constantly help each other learn through paired or group activities.





A lively, youth-oriented text motivates students to use French in situations that focus on meaningful, daily-life topics. The skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking are studied more formally. Students are introduced to elementary French grammar: the present tense of many regular verbs, some irregular verbs, and adjectives. Francophone culture and civilization around the world are emphasized, and the use of CDs, DVDs and computer games encourages active communication skills. Students memorize a short poem and short roles in self-designed skits during the year. Other special projects may include reading a simple book, creating a family tree, and a “personality” crest.



Within the context of the contemporary Spanish-speaking world, students continue to work toward proficiency in the four language skills. Lessons include the present tense of regular and certain commonly used irregular verbs as well as stem-changing verbs, possessive and descriptive adjectives, noun-adjective agreement, comparatives, interrogatives and contractions. These grammatical concepts are presented within the context of situational dialogues and DVDs that depict the daily activities of young people from a variety of Spanish-speaking countries and cultures. Vocabulary exercises expand students' fluency as they facilitate the gradual transition toward reading and writing. Special projects may include creating a family tree, making a clothing catalog, presenting short skits, and preparing a researched cooking project.


Physical Education

At Foote, we believe in nurturing our students’ physical health and growth as well as their academic progress. With that philosophy as a guiding force, our physical education program is designed to support students’ self-image, build sportsmanship, and provide a basis for a healthy lifelong attitude toward fitness. Our curriculum is carefully sequenced to match the stages of physical, social, and emotional development from year to year. In addition to athletic skills, our program encourages creative expression, builds social concepts such as sportsmanship, cooperation, and fair play, offers opportunities for leadership, encourages children to take risks, and fosters a sense of well-being in a non-competitive setting.

All children at Foote School are members of either the Maroon or Grey sports teams. Spirit is high on our annual Field Day, when students participate in a variety of fun and competitive events between the Maroon and the Grey. Kindergarteners take part only in the morning, competing in a fun run, a scoop  relay, and a shuttle relay. All the other students participate in a full day of events, culminating in an all-school relay race around the entire field, featuring the day’s winners of the 60-yard dash from each grade.

Sixth through Ninth Physical Education


In middle school, our physical education program is designed to provide appropriately strenuous exercise, develop athletic skills, and promote team cooperation. Specific skills in a wide variety of games are incorporated into the curriculum, including all of the sports offered through the athletics program as well as Frisbee, juggling, football, floor hockey, volleyball, gymnastics, badminton, and distance running. In eighth grade, students participate in a double period of outdoor education each cycle in addition to their regular twice-per-cycle PE class. 

Sports Teams

All students in grades 7-9 are encouraged to take part in the after-school sports program. Sixth graders are invited to participate in team sports if there are spaces available. Team sports are an extension of the physical education program. Our interscholastic athletics program shares many of the goals as our PE program. The sports program at Foote provides an opportunity for all students in 7th, 8th, and 9th grades to participate voluntarily in a number of seasonal sports. Foote is a member of the New England Preparatory Schools Athletic Council. 

Fall sports: Boys’ Soccer, Girls’ Soccer, Field Hockey, Co-Ed Cross-Country
Winter sports: Boys’ Basketball, Girls’ Basketball, Co-ed Swimming, Co-Ed Squash
Spring sports: Boys’ Lacrosse, Girls’ Lacrosse, Baseball, Softball, Co-ed Tennis