Transitioning to 6th Grade

Moving from a smaller elementary school setting challenges many students in middle school.  A successful transition to a larger environment, an environment full of students, varied classes, and long hallways, can be intimidating.  At Deal, we get it.  Our approach is to see the transition to 6th grade as a year-long process.

Students in our seven feeder elementary schools are first introduced to Deal through our very popular ‘Buddy Days.”  These half-day events bring 5th graders to the halls of Deal, guided by peers who usually graduated from the same elementary schools as the visitors. In the fall, Deal administrators visit each of the feeder schools, providing important information about the transition, expected changes, and how middle school works. A series of events, including open houses and Deal tours, are scheduled in the winter. Parents and students are also encouraged to come walk through the school (with ID badges!) at their leisure and without a guide, in order to get a real sense of how the school operates.

During the spring, Deal counselors visit the feeder schools to administer math placement tests and to gather information about who is planning to attend. The summer has more placement test opportunities (for those who didn’t attend a feeder school, for example) and a “bridge” program set up to address student math and English needs before coming to Deal.  The day before school starts for 7th and 8th graders, 6th graders and their families are encouraged to attend 6th Grade Orientation. This allows them to meet their teachers and start to learn their way around.

Once school starts, the transition continues.  The first advisory is a period of adjustment for everyone.  One exciting feature of the early weeks is an outdoor ropes course activity, done at a nearby park, to help 6th graders start seeing themselves as members of teams. Finally, in that first couple of months parents are encouraged to attend parent workshops. These cover topics such as student organization, using Edline (the online grading system), and communicating with your child’s team.

Questions 6th Graders Ask About Learning and Growing at Deal

Question: What courses are taken by 6th, 7th, and 8th graders?

Subject 6th Grade 7th Grade 8th Grade
English English 6 English 7 English 8
Math Math 6 or Pre-Algebra Pre-Algebra or Algebra Algebra or Geometry
Science Earth Science Life Science Physical Science
Humanities World Geography Ancient History U.S. History
Physical Education Health and PE Health and PE Health and PE
Arts Visual Arts/Music Music Visual Arts
World Languages(Chinese, French, or Spanish) Beginner Level 1 Level 2

Question: How am I going to know what math class I am in?

We offer all Deal students a thoughtful instructional plan. All of the teachers teach the same information to the students and change their teaching to make sure that they challenge you based on your ability. You will take a math diagnostic to help Deal teachers assess your math skills. Once you arrive at Deal, the Deal teachers and you will make a decision about your math course during the 1st Advisory.

Question: Is there a technology class at Deal?

While Deal does not offer a set-aside period for technology, you will work on technology assignments in many of your classes. Deal students benefit from the most up-to-date technology around, with wireless Internet access, Smart Boards in classrooms, mobile laptop carts, computer labs, and cameras and video! There is also an audio-visual club, where you can learn how to make videos, use computers, and even design websites.

Question: What does International Baccalaureate (IB) mean in simple terms?

The International Baccalaureate at Deal is a philosophy of learning and engagement that guides what we do and how we do it. It is built around the idea of planning education with the student in mind and that teachers do their best work when they work together to make sure that they are connecting ideas for students in their courses. For example, in English you may be reading a book of Chinese stories while you are studying ancient China in Social Studies class to really get you in the spirit of China.

Question: How much homework will there be, on average, for each class each night? Will there be homework on Fridays? Will I have a homework journal to write down homework assignments for each class?

You should expect homework in all of your classes each day, although it will vary by night. Your team teachers (English, Math, Science, and Humanities) meet twice a week to make sure that they do not assign you too much homework at one time. They also try to make sure that they do not schedule a test on the same day. You will have some homework over the weekends, but once a month your teachers decide on a homework-free weekend so that you can enjoy being a kid and spend time with your family.

Deal gives each student an Agenda Book to write down his or her homework assignments. Homework is also posted online on your personal EdLine page. There are also many opportunities during the day during lunch and after-school, for you to receive help on any assignment.

Question: Which clubs does Deal offer? When and how often do clubs meet? Are clubs open to all students, including 6th graders?

Deal offers many great clubs that are open to all students. There is an art club, a fencing club, an audio-visual club, a board game club, a cooking club, drum line, a math club, a reading club, a school play, rugby, a singing club, many sports clubs, student council, a yoga club, and many, many more. If Deal does not offer a club that you are interested in joining, just let us know and we will work with you to start a new club. The clubs meet at different times, some are before school, some are during lunch, and some are after school. And yes, they are open to all students!

Question: Which music programs can I get involved in at Deal?

Deal is very proud of its music programs. We have exciting instrumental and choral options that should meet the desires of any musician! Join the jazz band, the concert band, the drum line, the concert choir, and a show choir! In your 7th grade year, your music class will put on a musical for the whole school and your parents. In addition to these yearlong music opportunities, Deal students also put on a great musical each year!

Question: Which sports teams does Deal offer to students? Do you try out for each team? Will all students, including 6th graders, have a real chance to join a team, or are teams mostly reserved for older grades?

We offer a variety of sports teams for both boys and girls. Some sports, such as volleyball, soccer, basketball, baseball, and cheerleading, are competitive and students try out for them. Other sports such as cross-country, ultimate Frisbee, indoor track, outdoor track, fencing club, rugby club, and dance club are open to anyone.

There is an opportunity for all students to participate on a sports team. For each sports team, there will be an approximately equal mix of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. This will ensure that all students get an opportunity to participate.

Question: Will all students, including 6th graders, be able to go to dances?

Of course! Sixth graders are a part of the Deal family and will have all of the same opportunities as other Deal students.

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