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The CCSS & Sixth Grade

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a group of national learning goals outlining what students should know and be able to do by the end of each grade level. They were adopted for English/language arts and math by the state of Wisconsin in 2010. (Previously, Wisconsin only had standards outlining what students should know for grades 4, 8 and 12.)

These standards help teachers ensure their students have the skills needed to be successful, while helping families understand what is expected of their students. It’s also important to remember that the CCSS are not a curriculum; they are standards that establish what students need to learn, but don’t dictate how teachers should teach. 

In Shorewood, we are aligning to the Common Core Standards, but are not formally adopting them. This gives our staff more flexibility when designing curriculum, while ensuring our students to be better prepared for the content they’ll see on the Smarter Balanced Assessment (which will begin replacing the WKCE during the 14-15 school year), without drastically changing our curriculum.

Our District and teachers will work together to decide how to best help students reach the standards. Differentiation will still be available for students, meaning students that need extra challenges will receive them, while students that need extra assistance will receive help.

Sixth Grade Math

In sixth grade, students will begin working with ratio and rates as well as variables and variable expressions-- important parts of the foundation of algebra. These topics will remain a major emphasis throughout the students time at SIS and into high school. 
Sixth Grade Math Skills:
  • Understanding ration and rates, and solving problems that involve proportional relationships (ie- if it took 8 hours to mow 4 lawns, at that rate, how many laws could be mowed in 40 hours?)
  • Dividing fractions and solving word problems (ie- How wide is a rectangular strip of land with a length of 5/6 mile and area of 1/2 square mile?)
  • Using positive and negative numbers together to describe quantities; understand the ordering and absolute values of both positive and negative numbers
  • Working with variables and expressions by generalizing the way numbers function (ie- understanding that when adding numbers, the order of the numbers doesn’t matter)
  • Understanding the process of solving simple equations
  • Writing equations to solve word problems and describe relationships between quantities (ie the distance D traveled by train in time T might be expressed by an equation D=66T, where D is miles and T is hours)
  • Reasoning about relationship between shapes to determine area, surface area and volume
Sixth Grade Math Practices:
  • Make sense of problems and perceive in solving them
  • Reason abstractly and quantitatively
  • Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
  • Model with mathematics
  • Use appropriate tools strategically
  • Attend to precision Look for and make use of structure
  • Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning

Sixth Grade English/Language Arts 

Sixth graders apply skills learned in earlier grades to make sense of longer, more challenging books and articles, including learning how authors try to influence readers and find reasons to support their ideas. Students also expand their vocabularies and use new words in their stories, reports, and essays. 

Specific Skills:

  • Analyzing how chapters of a book, scenes of a play or stanzas of a poem fit into the overall structure of a piece and contribute to the development of ideas/themes, and describe how a plot unfolds
  • Gaining knowledge from materials that make extensive use of elaborate diagrams and data and convey information and illustrate concepts
  • Evaluating the argument and specific claims in materials, and distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons/evidence from claims that are not
  • Presenting claims and findings to others orally, sequencing ideas logically, and accentuating main ideas or themes
  • Writing arguments that provide clear reasons and relevant evidence, using credible sources
  • Writing brief reports that examine a topic, have a clear focus, and includes relevant facts, details, and quotations
  • Conducting short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources, and sharpening the focus based on the research findings
  • Reviewing and paraphrasing key ideas and multiple perspectives of a speaker
  • Recognizing variations from standard English in his/her own writing and speech, and using this information to improve language use
  • Determining the correct meaning of a word based on the context in which it’s used
  • Write routinely over extended time frames and shorter time frames (ie a single day)
  • Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics


As part of the shift, students will take part in a new system of assessments. As sixth graders, students will take one or two tests: Access 2.0 or the Smarter Balanced Assessment. (The Smarter Balanced Assessment will replace the WKCE beginning with the 14-15 school year.) Specific information about the tests can be found below:

ExamGradeExam Info

Access 2.0
(one hour
to administer starting
15-16 school year)

(ELL students only)

• Elements of CCSS embedded
• Screens & provides an annual summary
• Computer adaptive

Smarter Balance 
(7-8.5 hours to 
administer; exact times
(Administered during 
the last 12 weeks of 
the school year) 

• Assesses English/ language arts and math
• Computer adaptive
• Measures achievement & growth
• Includes variety of question types
• Aligned to CCSS

 * The Smarter Balance exam will take the same amount of time to administer as the WKCE. 

District Calendar

    • TueApr24 Lake Bluff Linkage 5:45 PMSHS Conference Room #116
    • TueApr24 School Board Meeting 7:00 PM
    • TueMay08 School Board Town Hall 5:45 PM to 6:45 PMSHS Library
    • TueMay08 School Board Meeting 7:00 PM
    • TueMay22 School Board Meeting 7:00 PM

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