The Middle School

6th-Grade Elective Registration

Required Courses

Now that your son is in his final months of fifth grade, I would like to invite you to learn more about the sixth grade at The Heights.   Next year, sixth-grade students entering the Middle School will take the following courses:

  • English Literature
  • Language Arts
  • American History
  • Earth Science
  • Math
  • Religion
  • Physical Education
  • Art

Detailed course outlines for these courses are available in the Middle School section of our school website.  In addition to the required sixth-grade courses, we will also be offering the following elective classes in the Sixth Grade:

  • Band (full year)
  • English Workshop (half year) / Lands and Climates (half year)

While most of the sixth-grade classes are required classes, these electives are optional.  We request that you read the course descriptions below and make a selection of either a full year of Band or a dual combination of the two half year courses.

Symphonic Band (full year)

This optional class will meet daily with two instructors.  Band was a required part of the curriculum in our 5th grade and as a result students have had the opportunity to experience instrumental music with instruments provided by the school. As a result of the now optional nature of this 6th grade elective class, students will be asked to audition and parents asked to either rent or purchase an instrument if they choose to continue with the Band.  Mr. Love may be contacted at plove@heights.edu if you would like a recommendation as to where to rent or purchase an instrument.

Lands and Climates (half year)

This course will combine an involved study of Geography with occasional lessons on the science of weather and climates.  The study of meteorology in this class will complement the required sixth grade Earth Science class as it will develop a greater understanding of planet Earth’s weather patterns. The purpose of this class is to help the students learn more about countries throughout the world, international boundaries, terrain, and climates.

English Workshop: (half year)   

This course will offer additional instructional time to develop the writing and reading capabilities of the students who take it.  Students will review how to construct sound paragraphs and short essays to hone the art of written expression.  Students will appreciate literature in the form of the short story as well as continue to develop their reading abilities and their insight into poetry.  This course is designed to supplement English Literature class and Language Arts class by providing even more time for the development of writing skills.

Frequently Asked Elective Questions:

Will my son be missing core curriculum English instruction if he does not sign up for the English Workshop?

Answer:  No. While this class will reinforce valuable skills developed in the required English classes, the core English instruction takes place in two daily homeroom English classes (Literature and Language Arts).  The other two required English classes—Literature and Language Arts—combine to provide 1.5 hours of English instruction daily.  Literature and Language arts meet all year and cover the following skills: reading, writing, grammar, vocabulary, spelling, and poetry.  This elective class is designed to be additional time for the further practice of these English class related skills.

Will my son be missing core Earth Science/Geography instruction if he does not take the Lands and Climates course?

Answer: No.  In a way similar to the reading and writing courses, this course is meant to be an extension of the core curriculum material covered in other classes.

Why can’t my son take all the electives or take band and the other electives?

Answer: In short, all of these electives are enriching to a boy’s development but there are not enough class periods in the day to do them all well.  To do so would be to compromise a non-elective class such as English Literature, Math, Science, or History.

What if my son is a new student and would like to begin playing an instrument in order to join the band this year as a total beginner? Are auditions required?

Answer: This class enrolls students based upon space available and instrumental needs of the band. Symphonic Band is usually a class for students with two years of experience on their instrument and an audition is required. Auditions will take place during fifth-grade band class for returning students and new students should contact Mr. Love at plove@heights.edu to inquire about possible openings.

If I sign my son up for half year courses, which one does he take first?

Answer:  The order of the half year classes will be determined by the scheduling process for the sake of balancing class numbers and enrollment, although most students will begin with the English Workshop.