6th Grade English Language Arts Worksheets and Study Guides

The big ideas in Sixth Grade ELA include applying reading and comprehension skills, identifying main idea, author’s purpose, point of view and drawing conclusions, and enhancing their writing skills.

English Language Arts Worksheets and Study Guides Sixth Grade

Language - conventions of standard english, grammar/spelling, parts of speech, punctuation, language - vocabulary acquisition, content vocabulary, high frequency words i, high frequency words ii, signal/transitional words, syllables/spelling patterns, using a thesaurus, reading informational text, extraneous detail, implied information, interpret text, reading literature, author's purpose/point of view, central idea/supporting details, different genres, fact/opinion/exaggeration, literary devices, literary elements, literary elements/poetic devices, literary techniques, parts of a book, text features, title/author of well known literature, reading: foundational skills, cause and effect, cause/effect, fact/opinion, context clues, decoding strategies, drawing conclusions, drawing inferences, making predictions, prefix/suffix, supporting details, speaking & listening, identify perspectives, informal language, personal experience, punctuation for comprehension, thinking skills, writing: ela literacy, purpose for writing, sentence purpose identification, simple/compound/complex sentences, newpath learning resources are fully aligned to us education standards. select a standard below to view aligned activities for your selected subject and grade:.

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Reading Worksheets, Spelling, Grammar, Comprehension, Lesson Plans

6th Grade Writing

For sixth graders, this Common Core area helps students gain mastery of writing skills by working collaboratively and producing written texts, understanding syntax and vocabulary, and organizing their ideas. Among the complete standards for this grade, sixth graders will be asked to: begin to effectively use evidence, reason, arguments, sources and language to support a written text, demonstrate command of formal style, improve reader comprehension of written texts by employing techniques like graphics, multimedia, and formatting, employ facts, definitions, quotations, details, and other information to develop written topics, use appropriate technology to publish writing and to collaborate on written projects, demonstrate keyboarding skill, go through the process of writing, editing and revision for their written work.

Haiku: Write Your Own!

Haiku: Write Your Own!

This worksheet features the Japanese poetry style haiku.

Write Rhyming Couplets

Write Rhyming Couplets

Time for some poetic rhyming couplets!

Abraham Lincoln Bio Poem

Abraham Lincoln Bio Poem

Your students will write a bio poem about Abraham Lincoln.

Back to School Diamante Poem

Back to School Diamante Poem

Teach your students a fun way to write diamante poems using our new back to school worksheet.

Bio Poem: My Mother

Bio Poem: My Mother

A fun Mother’s Day bio poem activity for your students!

Bio Poem: Pilgrim

Bio Poem: Pilgrim

A biography poem, also called a bio poem, is a short poem which describes a person or thing. This printable Thanksgiving Activity guides students through creating a bio poem about Pilgrims.

Bio Poem: Someone You Know

Bio Poem: Someone You Know

Students will write a bio poem about someone they know using the format set in this worksheet.

Christmas Tree Bio Poem

Christmas Tree Bio Poem

A biography poem, also called a bio poem, is a short poem which describes a person or thing. Sometimes writing a bio pem can be tricky! This printable Christmas Activity guides students through creating a bio poem about a Christmas tree.

Correct the Transition Words Mistakes – Worksheet

Correct the Transition Words Mistakes – Worksheet

Have your students revise sentences and correct transition word mistakes with this educational writing activity.

Diamante Poem: Antonyms

Diamante Poem: Antonyms

Students write an antonym diamante poem in the space provided.

Diamante Poem: Synonyms

Diamante Poem: Synonyms

A diamante poem takes its name from the shape it makes: a diamond. Diamante poems were introduced in 1969 by Iris Tiedt. Students write a synonym diamante poem in the space provided.

Edgar Allan Poe; Journalist Trickster

Edgar Allan Poe; Journalist Trickster

Students read about one of Edgar Allan Poe’s hoaxes when he was a journalist. Each student then write’s their own hoax!

Edgar Allan Poe: Secrets in Poetry

Edgar Allan Poe: Secrets in Poetry

Students read from Edgar Allan Poe’s “An Enigma” and decipher the name of the woman’s whose name is hidden within the text.

Father’s Day Bio Poem: My Father

Father’s Day Bio Poem: My Father

Enhance your students’ writing skills with this fun Father’s Day Biography Poem activity.

Fourth of July Bio Poem: America

Fourth of July Bio Poem: America

Encourage your students to learn about America with this Fourth of July Biography Poem activity.

George Washington Bio Poem

George Washington Bio Poem

Your students will write a bio poem about George Washington.

George Washington’s List of Rules

George Washington’s List of Rules

When George Washington was a young boy, he made a list of rules for himself. Students choose one of the rules and write what it means.

Halloween Bio Poem Activity: Ghost

Halloween Bio Poem Activity: Ghost

Create a bio poem about your own personal ghost with our fun Halloween printable activity!

Identify the Topic Sentence

Identify the Topic Sentence

The topic sentence in a paragraph states the main idea of the paragraph. While it is usually at the beginning of the paragraph, it also can be in the middle or end of it. Students underline the topic sentence in each activity.

Identify the Transition Words

Identify the Transition Words

Help your students identify different transition words with this printable writing worksheet.

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Common Core ELA

Common core math, math worksheet generators, printable game generators, sixth grade (grade 6) english language arts worksheets, tests, and activities.

Print our Sixth Grade (Grade 6) English Language Arts worksheets and activities, or administer them as online tests. Our worksheets use a variety of high-quality images and some are aligned to Common Core Standards.

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  • Language Arts Review (grade 6)
  • Personification
  • The Three Tradesmen - Informational (grade 6)
  • Mr. Acton - Fiction (grade 6)
  • Summer Review Quiz (grade 6)
  • Writing Review (grade 6)

Cause and Effect

  • Becoming a Runner (Fiction)
  • Cause and Effect - Short Passages
  • Cause and Effect Graphic Organizer
  • Cause and Effect - Informational Science
  • Cause and Effect Brainstorm
  • Compare and Contrast
  • Compare and Contrast - Non-Fiction
  • Cooking with Aunt Sheila (Fiction)
  • Historical-Fiction
  • Compare and Contrast - Fiction
  • Compare and Contrast Mix
  • Earth vs. Mars

Figurative Language

  • Figurative Language - grade 6
  • Figurative Language: Similes
  • Figurative Language in Poetry - grade 6
  • Hyperbole and Idioms
  • Recognizing Sound Devices in Poetry
  • Capitalization and Punctuation
  • Combining Sentences
  • Compound Sentences
  • Daily Grammar: U.S. Coast Guard
  • Grades 6-8 Subject-Verb Agreement Review
  • Indefinite Pronouns and Double Negatives Review
  • Intensive vs. Reflexive Pronouns
  • Mixed Singular and Plural Noun Review
  • More Singular and Plural Nouns
  • Nouns as Objects
  • Prefixes: IN or IM?
  • Pronouns Review
  • Reflexive Pronouns #2
  • Simple Sentences
  • Singular and Compound Subjects
  • Telling vs. Asking Sentences
  • Using Interrogative Adjectives
  • Vague Pronouns
  • Capitalization
  • Comparative and Superlative Adjectives
  • Coordinating Conjunctions
  • Grade 6 Grammar Review
  • Grades 6-8 Types of Pronouns
  • Intensive Pronouns Fill in the Blank
  • Irregular Plural Nouns
  • More Nouns as Objects
  • Nouns as Adjectives
  • Nouns Used as Verbs
  • Pronoun Types
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  • Sentence Structure
  • Singular and Compound Predicates
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  • Types of Conjunctions
  • Using Question Words

Informational Stories and Texts

  • Haunted House
  • Stranded in Italy
  • The First Human-Like Robot
  • The Wild Boar
  • Fun at the Beach
  • Jackie Robinson
  • One-Way Ticket to Mars
  • Sweden's Ice Hotel
  • The Golden Eagle

Literature - Books, Stories

  • A Christmas Carol: Stave Five
  • A Christmas Carol: Stave One
  • A Christmas Carol: Stave Two
  • A Wrinkle in Time: Chapter 2
  • A Wrinkle in Time: Chapter 4
  • Characters in Holes
  • Literature Review - grade 6
  • Lob's Girl
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  • A Christmas Carol: Stave Four
  • A Christmas Carol: Stave Three
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  • A Wrinkle in Time: Chapter 5
  • General Movie Analysis
  • Little Women
  • Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters
  • Main Idea - Space
  • The Battle of the Oranges
  • Main Idea - Informational
  • Main Idea and Drawing Conclusions

Reading Strategies

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  • Ethos, Pathos, Logos - grades 11-12
  • Reading Review - grade 6
  • Elements of Poetry
  • Forms of Poetry

Text Analysis

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  • Freytag's Pyramid Matching
  • Identifying Genre
  • Making Connections while Reading
  • Poem Analysis: The Flag Goes By
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  • Traits of Genres
  • Analyzing Informational Texts
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  • Poem Analysis: The Wind and the Moon
  • Reasons and Evidence
  • Accept vs. Except
  • Coarse vs. Course
  • Grade 6 Vocabulary Review #2
  • IN, IM, IL, or IR?
  • Prefixes and Suffixes
  • Rebus Word Puzzles 2
  • Synonyms and Antonyms
  • Vocabulary in Poetry
  • Advice vs. Advise
  • Aloud vs. Allowed
  • Boar vs. Bore
  • Grade 6 Vocabulary Review
  • Rebus Word Puzzles 1
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  • An Important Discovery
  • Celebrity Encounter
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  • No Field Trips
  • Thank a Veteran
  • Typical Day
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Curriculum  /  ELA  /  6th Grade

English Language Arts

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6th Grade ELA Course Summary

In 6th Grade English Language Arts, students explore the topic of “coming-of-age” through texts that feature protagonists from diverse backgrounds, places, and time periods, all of whom face significant challenges as they struggle to define their identities and claim their place in the world: The Watsons Go to Birmingham , The Giver , Life in Motion , The Outsiders , Refugee , The Unwanted , and additional supporting texts: articles, poems, and digital media. Across the 5 units, students deepen their writing skills through argumentative, informational, and narrative tasks, and continue to build their academic vocabularies, speaking and listening skills, and social-emotional competencies.

Throughout the course, students address all ELA Common Core Standards as they engage with increasingly complex texts , participate in class discussions, and write daily. Each unit helps build students’ knowledge and understanding of the world around them through thematically organized core and supplemental texts, embedded writing instruction and extended writing assignments in response to Essential Questions, and daily opportunities to engage in multiple tiers of academic discourse . 

Explore this curriculum

6th Grade Standards Map

Pacing Guide

6th Grade Book List

Developing Resilience: The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

Students explore the topic of "coming of age" through the story of an African-American boy growing up during the civil rights era, and his family's strong bond in the face of tragedy.

Challenging Authority: The Giver

Students explore the topic of "coming of age" through the story of one boy's life in a dystopian future, and his growing understanding that the world around him is not what it appears.

Expressing Yourself: Women in the Arts

Students explore the topic of "coming of age" through stories about the experiences of professional female artists of color who have fought to claim their space in a world that has long excluded people who look like them.

Finding Connection: The Outsiders

Students explore the topic of "coming of age" through the story of a young man struggling to determine right and wrong in a world defined by violence.

Fleeing Conflict: Refugee & The Unwanted

Students explore the topic of "coming of age" through the stories of young refugees from different time periods, all of whom face unthinkable hardships as they desperately seek safety.

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6th grade reading and vocabulary (improved and expanded)

Welcome to our improved and expanded 6th grade reading and vocabulary course, unit 1: the rules we live by...and the ones we break, unit 2: the rules we live by: long passage practice, unit 3: what defines us, unit 4: what defines us: long passage practice, unit 5: the living seas, unit 6: the living seas: long passage practice.

english assignments for 6th grade

Explore 6th Grade English Language Arts classroom activities to inspire and engage your students

english assignments for 6th grade

6th Grade English Language Arts

1,515 activities, community activities - english language arts, browse teacher-created activities from our community of seesaw ambassadors and seesaw certified educators..

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The Guide to 6th Grade: Reading and Writing

Review reading and writing curricula for 6th grade, including what to expect and resources to support learning..

In their first year of middle school, 6th graders embark on a new journey in their schooling, and with that comes new challenges and changes. In many ways, 6th grade is a year of significant transition for students as they use the skills they have previously learned and apply them to more complex and independent learning in deeper and more rigorous ways. 

While collaboration may still be an important part of the curriculum, students are often required to produce more extensive independent work, specifically in writing. This calls for greater independence and organizational skills, and it may certainly require some adjustment and practice in the beginning of the school year.

Read on to find out what to expect this year! You can shop all sixth grade books and activities at The Scholastic Store .

Sixth Grade Reading 

The ultimate goal of the 6th grade reading curriculum is for students to read increasingly complex texts over the course of the year, preparing them for high school, college, and careers beyond. Students read a variety of texts and different genres, including fiction, drama, poetry, and non-fiction.

There is a specific emphasis on and increase in the reading of nonfiction texts in order to prepare students to read, write, and research across subjects. As students read more complex texts, analyzing and understanding them in deeper ways, they strengthen their knowledge of all subjects.

In order to build reading skills, your 6th grader :

  • Uses evidence from the text in order to summarize the plot, make inferences about and analyze the text, and determine the central theme or themes in a text.
  • Understands and explains the point of view in a text; understands the significance of certain words and passages in a text.
  • Understands and relays the main thesis or claims of a non-fiction text and its supporting evidence.
  • Reads and compares different texts and genres that address the same topics.
  • Uses a variety of media and formats, including video and audio, to further enhance understanding of a topic or text.
  • Participates in class-wide and group discussions expressing the ideas and skills learned.
  • Practices a variety of vocabulary skills, including using the context in which a word is found to determine the meaning of words, recognizing roots of words, and using digital and physical reference materials (dictionaries, thesauruses, and glossaries).
  • Gains an understanding of and the ability to explain figurative language in a text.

6th Grade Writing 

In middle school, 6th graders are encouraged to push themselves further in their writing and write with increased complexity in terms of  length, subject matter, vocabulary, and general writing techniques. At the same time, 6th graders practice and refine many of the skills previously taught to them while enhancing them with the new skills and techniques they learn. 

In order to build writing skills, your 6th grader :

  • Writes using more complex vocabulary and about more complex content.
  • Writes over extended periods of time, such as when writing long-term research or expressive pieces that may take a week.
  • Writes for short amounts of times, such as in one sitting.
  • Writes a variety of genres for a variety of audiences.
  • Use supporting claims and evidence based on credible texts and resources.
  • Include an introduction, a conclusion, and transitions.
  • Integrate other forms of media and formats, such as graphs, charts, headings, audio, or video when appropriate.
  • Descriptive detail of characters, settings, and experiences.
  • A clear structure, with a logical order and flow, thought-out word choice, and a conclusion.
  • Plans, revises, and edits writing, with guidance from teachers and peers.
  • Writes pieces that display the reading skills achieved, including analysis of text, making comparisons and claims, and developing arguments using specific evidence.
  • Uses technology and the Internet to produce and publish writing, work with others, and type a minimum of three pages in one sitting. 

Shop the best resources for sixth grade below! You can find all books and activities at  The Scholastic Store . 

Explore other grade guides: 

  • Kindergarten
  • First Grade
  • Second Grade
  • Third Grade
  • Fourth Grade  
  • Fifth Grade
  • Seventh Grade
  • Eighth Grade

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6th grade english language arts resources

Preview of Critical Thinking Text Puzzles Bundle | Sub Plans Middle School ELA | SEL

Critical Thinking Text Puzzles Bundle | Sub Plans Middle School ELA | SEL

english assignments for 6th grade

Cinco De Mayo Activities Reading Comprehension Print and Digital Boom Cards

english assignments for 6th grade

Writing Units Bundle Narrative Opinion Persuasive Biography Informative

Preview of Hands-on Literacy Centers for Kindergarten GROWING BUNDLE | Science of Reading

Hands-on Literacy Centers for Kindergarten GROWING BUNDLE | Science of Reading

english assignments for 6th grade

6th Grade EXPRESSIONS AND EQUATIONS Assessments (6.EE) Common Core | DIGITAL

english assignments for 6th grade

6th Grade Math Centers Task Cards Bundle, Games Stations, Math Review Activities

english assignments for 6th grade

END OF YEAR ESL Memory Book Activities PRINT and EASEL

english assignments for 6th grade

End of the Year Activities - Last Week of School Fun for Middle and High School

english assignments for 6th grade

STEM Bins® / STEAM Bins® Elementary STEM Activities: Morning Work,Fast Finishers

english assignments for 6th grade

Making Inferences Task Cards - Digital and Print Passages Inferencing Activities

english assignments for 6th grade

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Preview of Paragraph of the Week - Writing Prompts for Paragraph Writing & Editing Practice

Paragraph of the Week - Writing Prompts for Paragraph Writing & Editing Practice

english assignments for 6th grade

End of the Year Memory Book 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Grade Last Week of School Activities

english assignments for 6th grade

All About Me Selfie + Writing | w/ End of the School Year Reflection Activity!

english assignments for 6th grade

Paragraph Writing - How to Write a Complete Paragraph Graphic Organizer Posters

english assignments for 6th grade

Modern BOHO RAINBOW Calm Classroom Decor Bundle | Neutral Rainbow EDITABLE!

english assignments for 6th grade

Nonfiction Text Structures Unit: Passages, Worksheets, Anchor Chart, Task Cards

Preview of Figurative Language Stories ~ Close Reading for Common Core Grades 4-8

Figurative Language Stories ~ Close Reading for Common Core Grades 4-8

english assignments for 6th grade

Greek and Latin Root Words, Prefixes, & Suffixes Interactive Notebook Vocabulary

Preview of Book Tasting: Introduce Your Students to New Books and Genres

Book Tasting: Introduce Your Students to New Books and Genres

english assignments for 6th grade

Theme Task Cards with Print & Digital Versions Activity Reading Differentiation

  • Easel Assessment

Preview of Self Portrait Directed Drawing Art Project Craft GREAT gift for Fathers Day

Self Portrait Directed Drawing Art Project Craft GREAT gift for Fathers Day

english assignments for 6th grade

Planets of the Solar System Worksheets and Activities Unit with Craft Project

english assignments for 6th grade

RACE Strategy Practice Worksheets Writing Passages & Prompts Text Evidence

english assignments for 6th grade

Text Message Analysis Making Inferences Activity ELA Worksheets Language Arts

english assignments for 6th grade

First Day of School Investigate the Teacher Activity - Engaging - Print/Digital

english assignments for 6th grade

Classroom Library Alphabetical Book Spine Labels for Class Library Organization

english assignments for 6th grade

Prefixes Suffixes Roots Worksheets Morphology Activities plus Google Digital

Preview of Essay Writing Unit - Teach Your Students How to Write an Essay PRINT & DIGITAL

Essay Writing Unit - Teach Your Students How to Write an Essay PRINT & DIGITAL

english assignments for 6th grade

Reading Comprehension Passages and Questions ELA Test Prep Digital Resources

Preview of Theme Park Reading Comprehension Escape Room Fun End of Year Review Activities

Theme Park Reading Comprehension Escape Room Fun End of Year Review Activities

english assignments for 6th grade

Summarize It! Task Cards - Nonfiction Text Summary with Audio - Print & Digital

Preview of Bright Vintage Classroom Decor Bundle | Bright Classroom Theme

Bright Vintage Classroom Decor Bundle | Bright Classroom Theme

english assignments for 6th grade

Find English Language Arts resources | TPT

Importance of learning english language arts.

English language arts (ELA) concepts — reading, writing, listening, and speaking — empower students to become effective communicators, critical thinkers, and lifelong learners. They are the foundation for all other types of learning as students must rely on ELA skills to master content from other subject areas and communicate what they’ve learned.

Strong reading skills can help students make sense of written content, and gather information for further analysis. Writing skills can help students articulate their ideas, construct arguments, and synthesize information. And speaking and listening skills empower students to clearly present their ideas, participate in group discussions, and collaborate with their classmates. This is why teaching English language arts is critically important for student’s success in school and beyond.

Benefits of learning English language arts

Learning English language arts offers many benefits to students both in school and beyond. It helps students:

  • Develop effective communication skills
  • Build critical thinking and analytical skills
  • Nurture their creativity and imagination

By ensuring that students have a solid foundation in English language arts, teachers can help set them up for future success.

Discover printable and digital English language arts resources

On TPT, English language arts resources come in various forms: from interactive notebooks and task cards to small-group activities and individual worksheets. They can be used to enhance learning, assess a student’s mastery of ELA concepts, or to reteach a tricky concept. By incorporating ELA resources from TPT into your teaching toolbox, you can create an engaging learning experience that strengthens students’ understanding of ELA concepts.

If you’re a teacher or parent looking for printable and digital English language arts worksheets, TPT has an extensive collection of resources across topics and grade levels. No matter what ELA topic your students are working on — whether you’re teaching the parts of speech to 1st graders or argumentative essay writing to 10th graders — TPT has instructional materials that are designed to help with any ELA learning need. With plenty of TPT resources at your fingertips, teaching and learning ELA will be so much easier.

Frequently asked questions about teaching English language arts

What types of english language arts lessons are available on tpt.

There are many different types of English language arts resources sold by Sellers on TPT. Some popular ELA lessons include reading, writing, phonics, vocabulary, spelling, and creative writing.

How do I find English language arts lessons on TPT?

Educators can save time preparing English language arts lessons with resources created by experienced teachers. Simply start a search for ELA resources on the TPT marketplace, and filter by grade level, price, and/or resource type to find materials that've been proven to work in classrooms like yours. No matter what you’re teaching, there are plenty of ELA lessons and activities sold by Sellers on TPT that are tailored to meet your students' skill levels.

How can I make my English language arts lessons fun and engaging?

Students learn best when they're engaged! Sprinkle a little fun into your English Language Arts lessons by using manipulatives, pairing unusual texts like poems and short films together, or doing an escape room activity.

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Free Printable Sixth Grade Worksheets For Easy Practice!

Printable Sixth Grade Worksheets

It amazes me how most curriculum skips practice. Publishers must figure that parents and teachers will simply go the extra mile.

Enter: printable sixth grade worksheets that offer practice!

I've based this site upon the principle that there are ways to practice the basics without having to "guess and check" or spend hours and hours dreaming up drills for kids to learn their facts.

Most printable worksheet sites offer what amounts to quizzes. Now your students can have a practice run first! 

Since there are so many different topics and levels taught in any one sixth grade program, you will find many useful worksheets outside this level. If you've been following through this site through the last several years, these pages are the next level up.

Scroll down to these sections:

  • 6th Grade Math
  • 6th Grade Reading
  • 6th Grade Spelling
  • 6th Grade Writing

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Free Online Worksheets For School, Homework, And Homeschool Practice

Free Online Teacher Resources  -  Free Homeschool Curriculum

For teachers and parents:  PrintNPractice free printable worksheets are all copyright-free, digital activities for students . Use in homeschool, interactive notebooks for online classrooms, Google classroom, distance learning, tutoring and learning pods, and hybrid school. 

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  • Most need no answer key or key is included.
  • Videos for audio and visual learners. God bless headphones!

See free  teacher ,  homeschool , digital interactive school-at-home learning exercises with no login, no sign-up, no voucher, no account, and no credit card. Loads of digital activities for device-based learning. As seen at  TeachersPayTeachers .

Teaching Sixth Grade

So often, our children reach sixth grade without the basics.

Or they've forgotten everything they've ever learned. Somehow.

This is the very reason that many teachers and parents find our site. If you're hoping to remedy a deficiency in your students' learning, different levels from this whole site can be very useful. 

Simply use the search bar at the bottom of every page for the concept your students need to practice, like "fraction worksheets".

Usually there's less need for practice worksheets in this grade because students are beginning to read to learn about other things in a more comprehensive way. 

Learning to read is one thing, reading to learn opens the whole world. This is the beginning of the journey of a lifetime for each of your children.

1. Printable Sixth Grade Worksheets For Math

Review and practice the basics.

Many sixth graders are not familiar enough with their early  math  facts because they never had the time and the help necessary to memorize them, or because they've been using calculators and are a bit rusty.

In this case our Math facts videos, printable flash cards, and other printable sixth grade worksheets are sooo helpful.

Move On To Bigger And Better

These next worksheets require low teacher or parent involvement once your students have been introduced to the concepts.

Kids can work on their own once you download (print or share files) the math worksheets. Print and practice!

See our higher level math worksheets below.

Practice Writing Checks

Printable Graph Paper

Roman Numerals Charts

Prime Numbers Charts

Equivalent Fractions  

Order of Operations Worksheets

Pre-Algebra Worksheets 

Sixth Grade Math Word Problems

So many times math is not the problem for those who struggle with math word problems.

Sometimes it's a grammar difficulty where the logic of the sentences does not make sense. See if diagramming the sentences helps them see the actual question being asked.

Often it's a reading problem. See below for my heartiest recommendation, if reading is hard for your sixth graders.

Mathway Problem Solver

Mathway has awesome problem solvers for more technical math problems and higher level math. 

It is one of our visitors' favorite math tools .

Buy The Bundle!

You can buy all our K-6 math worksheets in one bundle here .

Math Worksheets for Kids: Buy the bundle to print and practice.

Check your answer with this Math problem solver .

2. 6th Grade Reading

Phonics basics.

I frequently see sixth graders who cannot read well.

Our phonics videos, flash cards and worksheets can be a big help here because they offer quick review in a painless format - not another quiz.

Refresh these concepts first.

Our advanced phonics video lessons work well with our printable phonics worksheets and make quick practice for older students. The phonics rules can be a giant help for both 6th grade Reading and Spelling. 

Printable Worksheets for Phonics download.

Will The Real Sixth Grade Reading Level Please Stand?

By the time your students are at the sixth Grade Reading level they're usually not simply learning to read. They are able to read to learn. Kids learn all the time, yet now they're learning and learning how to learn from their reading.

Supposedly.

Usually there's not much teaching left to do in 6th Grade Reading, at least as far as the mechanics of reading go.

Really, if kids will write more they'll learn to read better so be sure to take a look at  Karen Newell's creative writing ideas in her Write On book . Both are available as downloads.

Teaching Grammar

Printable Grammar Slammer - Easy Grammar Lessons

Hang In There, Reading Gets Easier

For some students, all they have to do is to keep on "keepin' on".

The more writing and reading that your students do in other classes, the more chance they'll have of improving their comprehension. This is good to know when things look overwhelming. A child may struggle today, and may thrive later - even real soon if they're working at it.

Be encouraged.

Only rarely is it true that a whole sixth Grade class is at the same experience and maturity level, so their comprehension of ideas is affected here as well.

You already know that the best reading activity is to read.

Writing Helps Reading Skills

By sixth grade most students have had a hand at writing their own essays and book reports so they appreciate reading from a different perspective.

Generally, they have an idea of the work involved in creating a story and are a bit more interested in the stories of others. This is when good histories and biographies become interesting.

If your students are interested in the books they are reading, they'll read them better.

Either edify the books you require or suggest light titles that are of interesting topics. Be excited so that your students will be excited.

Many students really appreciate suggestions of books to choose because it can be hard to stand amongst the shelves wondering which book to is a good choice. Not to mention the siren call of electronics.

You'll find that your students will work harder through books in which they have an interest, even if the reading level is a bit high. Once they've read several tougher books they'll have an easier time reading the day to day material. One hard book covers most of the skills needed for a lifetime.

Remember the value of writing. Old timers like in Laura Ingalls Wilder's stories wrote from a book to a slate as the main way to practice their work. They did not have reams of loose leaf paper to spend on writing.

Writing? It's a great way to learn. Teachers and college students take notes from their reading all day long. Writing does aid both reading and memory work.

Romalda Spalding's Writing Road To Reading

How to teach reading.

We're not usually teaching reading to sixth graders as most usually have this skill. I say this often this site, yet I'd be remiss not to mention it here; I really learned "how to teach reading" as an art after using the  Writing Road To Reading  by Romalda Spalding.

Reading came fairly easily to me. It did not come easily for some of my children, and that was heart breaking for all of us.

In our family  Grandpa  came to the rescue in this case. He decided to take the Spalding courses in Phoenix, Arizona and came home ready to teach the basics to all of his grandchildren.

Go Back To TRUE Basics

Within two months Grandpa had had such good results with our children and local nieces and nephews that others were asking to join us at our homes.

Soon he opened his own home for the purpose of teaching phonics and in the course of the next few years before his final illness he had helped over 60 other families for free.

He's the reason we keep our PrintNPractice resources free.

  • Yes, you can buy our worksheets in bundles ; but all of them and more are available free on this site.

We were all astonished at how basic phonics lessons really improved the reading skills of our older children , too.

At first they felt awkward learning the sounds and the rules; but by the time the next quarter came they could already see an improvement in their reading. They were unanimously grateful to have had to study phonics even at a late time.

One child conveyed to me her joy that not only did her spelling grade improve, but it was so much easier to study her history and science classes. Even Math was a bit easier simply because her reading was easier.

The  Writing Road To Reading  also has a great sixth grade reading list so you have an idea of some classic books that have interested children for years. I heartily recommend this book.

3. Printable Sixth Grade Worksheets for Spelling

Printable 6th grade spelling words & worksheets.

Half the battle with children learning their sixth grade spelling words is making sure that they copy the words correctly the first time.

Our spelling list for sixth grade has much longer words than the words in our lower levels. They frequently use several variations on a base word for easier Vocabulary work.

Your students will see the Spelling rules in action in the different spellings of derived words and be able to make connections when learning other new words.

Seeing the different versions of words with their different prefixes and suffixes also teaches Vocabulary skills. These same Vocabulary skills transfer to other words, too.

6th Grade Spelling List, 8 Pages

The first download has an eight page list of Spelling words to use through the year. Print them double sided for reference to keep on your desk or in your binder.

8 Pages Of Printable Sixth Grade Spelling Word Lists

6th Grade Spelling Worksheets, 98 pages

The second download has ninety-eight pages including the same Spelling word list on the left; so, at first, it will look to be the same download.

It has the Spelling worksheets for these same words that have space to copy the words three times.

Printable Sixth Grade Spelling Words Worksheets And List

Buy All Our K-6 Spelling Worksheets In One Bundle

Printable Spelling Worksheets: Buy them all to print, copy, customize and file.

Sixth Grade Spelling Ideas

Create spelling lists from reading books.

This is a super efficient way to improve spelling for anyone.

One hundred years ago most readers used this method and they even marked the phonics sounds .

Use your students' reading books to find new words or complicated words and then create your own Spelling list for those words.

Do it ahead of time so that the reading is easier and makes better sense. Once your students have then read the material, they'll have a better understanding of the meaning of the words used.

You can use this idea in History and Science classes, too, even Math classes since reading is half the trouble with word problems. We have ruled spelling sheets on our  Lined Writing Paper  page that you can use to make your unique spelling lists for copywork.

You can buy our  K-6 spelling worksheets in one bundle  with convenient files. This also includes our phonics spelling words.

Personal Spelling List

This is an ancient idea and you can do it two ways.

  • Write words your children have trouble reading.
  • Have them write those words.

Assign those words to practice three times each till they are no longer hard to spell.

Do you know what?

Knowing that there's more work later for not knowing their words often motivates kids to get it right the first time. :-)

Speller Notebook

I know several children who simply kept a separate notebook to study the words that they had missed.

Others simply kept a list at the back of the notebook they were using for class. This keeps the words close and handy through the year.

4. 6th Grade Grammar And Writing

Sixth Grade is a time when students should be able to construct sentences on their own, capitalize and punctuate, and even diagram simple sentences.

By 6th Grade writing class, most children are able to write from memory, but it is grammar that is the bugaboo. Check out our grammar pages for diagrams, capitalization, and punctuation.

Understanding the use of words can be a trick. How do words describe other words? Seeing the use of words on a diagram can be most helpful. Our diagramming worksheets show the parts of speech in their correct places.

The next trick is finding creative writing ideas that appeal to 6th graders.

We have practice Grammar worksheets that include diagramming charts and the definitions as well as place for the children to practice what is being taught.

My favorite writing courses for children include creative Writing ideas .

Thank you for visiting our sixth grade worksheets.

English Grammar Worksheets

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Mary Fifer, BSBA is webmaster, author, and researcher at PrintNPractice.com. She has created elementary school practice exercises using digital interactive worksheets. Printable and perfect for today's teachers, tutors, homeschoolers, and students!

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Home » Blog Posts » Literacy Centers » 6th Grade Literacy Centers Ideas

6th Grade Literacy Centers Ideas

Unfortunately many people assume that literacy centers are only for elementary students. However, middle schoolers benefit greatly from independent, small group instruction. Especially for reading and writing. So this post takes a deep dive into effective 6th grade literacy centers ideas. These stations will help your students grow stronger with their ELA skills in no time!

Plus, you can grab some free reading and writing activities to use in your classroom.

6th-grade-literacy-centers-ideas-and-reading-centers

This post may contain affiliate links to Amazon for your convenience. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, which do not cost any extra for you. Please see the  full disclosure here .

What is Literacy in 6th Grade?

According to a study on struggling readers conducted by Renaissance , 82% of sixth graders who fail ELA do not graduate high school.

Reading and writing increase in complexity once kids hit middle school.

And the stakes are high for these students.

Literacy in 6th grade includes inferencing of much longer texts and writing longer passages with more details.

In addition to this, Grade 6 students must also master:

  • identifying Greek and Latin roots
  • citing text evidence
  • analyzing more complex plots, settings, characters, etc.
  • grammar skills that include reflexive and intensive pronouns with their antecedents

So, making sure every student gets targeted practice on what they need becomes critical for middle school ELA teachers.

Which is why I highly recommend literacy centers in 6th grade!

Breaking students into small groups allows them to have hands-on practice with various reading concepts.

Let’s take a closer look at some centers ideas for sixth graders.

english assignments for 6th grade

But Wait…Aren’t They Called “Literacy Stations?”

For anyone who is hesitant to try literacy centers in 6th grade, some of that relates to the word “centers.”

Since most early elementary teachers use centers, the assumption is that older students are too big for that.

As an upper elementary teacher, I still call them literacy centers.

However, if that seems too babyish for your big kids, feel free to call them literacy stations.

That doesn’t change how you will set them up or organize them in your classroom.

The Plot Flip Book–6th Grade Reading Centers

Since literacy in 6th grade includes a lot of analyzing, this activity will build up that skill.

The Plot Flip Book can be used with any book and it requires students to identify plot summary and supporting details.

6th-grade-reading-centers

6th Graders need to fill out sections in their flip book with the following:

  • a brief summary
  • supporting details for setting
  • OR supporting details for characters

They also must write a few sentences telling how the settings or characters impact the plot of the story.

This reading comprehension skill shows up in my state academic standards, including Common Core.

The fact that you can use these plot flip books with any story makes them great 6th grade reading centers.

You don’t have to switch it out for a different activity every time you have a new story to read!

Greek and Latin Land Maze Game–Word Work for Big Kids

Socializing is a big deal for middle schoolers!

So, when you gameify your 6th grade literacy centers, students will stay engaged longer.

That’s what Greek and Latin Land offers: a fun, small group game where sixth graders get to practice their root words.

6th grade literacy centers ideas

Here’s how the game works:

  • Players spin (using a spinner that you provide) on a game card that has Latin or Greek prefixes and suffixes.
  • Then they move their “game piece” on the board with Latin or Greek root words.
  • Students must combine the affixes with the root word to form a new word, then use it in a sentence.

The student who forms the most words using affixes and roots wins.

An interactive game like this provides word work practice for big kids that they enjoy. Which is a win-win for you and your students!

Sentence Flippers–A Writing Center for Middle Schoolers

Since a lot of 6th grade writing involves longer paragraphs and essays, it’s helpful to work on building good sentences.

Not only that, but students need to know the difference between simple, compound, and complex sentences for grammar standards.

That’s where Sentence Flippers comes to the rescue.

It’s another partner game, but can still be used for independent practice when needed.

literacy centers for 6th grade

6th graders have a piece of paper that’s the card deck holder. The three “card decks” are:

  • Conjunctions
  • Sentence Types

Students flip over one card each and must form a sentence based on what the cards show.

For example, let’s pretend the noun card says “dog,” the conjunction says “but,” and the sentence type says “compound.”

Then your students would need to write a compound using using the words “dog” and “but” in the sentence.

Students have a recording sheet where they write all their sentences, making it easier for you to take this center up as a grade.

You can even encourage students to make it competition with their partner by turning the cards over quickly, then “racing” to see who can write their sentence first.

It’s Time For an Argument–6th Grade Writing Activity

Several states have ELA standards for 6th graders to use persuasive skills in writing:

  • Common Core–Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
  • TEKS–Analyze characteristics and structures of arguments by identifying the claim.
  • VA Core–Present a convincing argument.

So this writing activity can be used with whole group lessons or with your other 6th grade literacy centers.

Students are given two topics. They must choose one and present the case for why one is better than the other.

middle school literacy centers

This writing assignment comes with graphic organizers that help 6th graders form their arguments.

Some of the topics included are:

  • Xbox vs. Nintendo Switch
  • Minecraft vs. Fortnite
  • Emojis vs. GIFS
  • Instagram vs. Snapchat
  • Floss Dance vs. Infinite
  • E-readers vs. Printed Books
  • Netflix vs. YouTube
  • iPhone vs. Android
  • School Uniforms vs Regular Clothes at School

There are also blank copies that let students come up with their own two topics to debate.

In addition to this, pages with sentence stems are also included for students who struggle with writing.

This allows them to still work independently while getting the extra support they need to be successful during center rotations.

How Long Should 6th Grade Literacy Centers Last?

Now that you have ideas for the types of literacy activities to do with 6th graders, let’s talk about planning your centers.

The frequency and amount of time for your centers will depend on several factors:

  • the total periods or classes you teach each day
  • how many students are in each class
  • what types of centers you’ll be using (some take longer to complete than others)

On top of this, you will also need to determine how many days of week you will have centers and whether you will do rotations or not.

If you want more nitty-gritty details and tips on how to set up your literacy block, I have this free guide.

It breaks down different time frames and what you could do during each block of time:

The best part about this guide is that I put the information on bookmarks that you can laminate to keep as a handy reference when planning your 6th grade centers.

Free 6th Grade ELA Activities

The ideas shared above are just some of the centers or stations you can try with your 6th graders.

If you want to test the waters with some free inferencing, writing centers, and reading activities, grab these free ones from my TpT store HERE .

Please be sure to let me know your thoughts on the freebie by leaving a rating on them.

Speaking of thoughts, comment below on the center idea above that you’re most interested in trying with your 6th graders? 🤔

Happy Teaching

The Butterfly Teacher

2 Responses

Thank you. I am a full time long term sub, I feel if students can’t read and comprehend in Middle School or when done, it’s gonna be a hard life. I try everyday to be present and pour my heart in their learning. Reading and writing are so important. Thank you.

This is awesome i will use it as a resource teacher to support the gen.ed classroom

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english assignments for 6th grade

  • Grades 6-12
  • School Leaders

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57 Tips, Tricks, and Ideas for Teaching 6th Grade

Brilliant ideas from brilliant teachers (like you).

two options for how to tackle teaching sixth grade, having students progress monitor their work and having a place for students to hang work with no name on it

Ah, teaching sixth grade. Students fall into that sweet spot of demanding to be taken seriously but aren’t too cool to act out stories or play a group game. The wide range of sixth grade interests, abilities, and skills can be tricky to navigate, so we’ve gathered tips and ideas from our teacher community and around the web. You’ll love these ideas whether you’re a newbie to sixth grade or a longtime veteran.

Here are our favorite ideas for: The First Days of School, Classroom Management, Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, Science, and the Arts. Check it out!

The First Days of School

1. introduce yourself creatively.

Puzzle piece and magazine collage in the shape of a profile as examples of ways to introduce yourself when teaching 6th grade

There’s nothing quite like the very first moment of the first day of school when you’re teaching sixth grade. You stand at the front of the classroom looking at all those expectant faces for the very first time. Then you have your chance to introduce yourself to your students, to let them know who you are and what they can expect over the year to come. We love these creative ways to introduce yourself .

2. Start the year with an icebreaker

Get to know your students right away—they’re likely new to the school as well as your class. Check out our icebreakers for middle school students .

3. Ask thoughtful questions

Four questions on colorful backgrounds to ask students when you're teaching 6th grade.

Sixth graders (and most middle schoolers, for that matter) aren’t known for offering up their opinions or thoughts as readily as younger students. Come prepared with questions that are easy for kids to answer. Check out our favorite introduction questions for middle schoolers .

4. Ask silly questions too

You’d be surprised at the depth and complexity of your students’ answers to silly questions, like “Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck?” Their responses will tell you so much about their personalities in the best ways. You may thank me later. Get a list of fun questions from our icebreaker question list .

5. Know how to handle student differences

Sixth graders often struggle to understand and deal with other kids’ behaviors. Here’s how one teacher handles it: “I often ask my sixth grade students, ‘Did he choose to be like that?’ If they are reasonable, they will say no, and then I say, ‘Well you have a choice about how you will respond to that, and that will show everyone what sort of person you are.’ End of matter.” — Amy K.

6. Establish a culture of kindness

Free kindness posters for teaching 6th grade. Includes illustration of hand tossing confetti.

Print these free downloadable posters  to remind your students that kindness matters most of all.

7. Build your students’ social-emotional skills

Five social emotional books laid out on a mauve blanket with reading glasses and a succulent.

Teaching sixth grade means building SEL skills. Use these read-alouds  to talk about everything from kindness to courage to trying your best.

8. Give students jobs

Examples of classroom jobs, including botanist and paper passer

Even big kids like jobs. And assigning jobs like keeping the classroom library organized or managing the day’s worksheets keeps your classroom operating smoothly. Check out this big list of classic and unique classroom jobs .

Tips for Classroom Management

Sixth graders are nothing if not squirrelly. But they will fall in line and will enjoy helping you manage the classroom. Here’s how to manage your gaggle of sixth graders.

9. Build routine

“It’s the nature of the middle school beast. You just have to get used to having to say the same thing day in and day out. We are two-thirds of the way through the school year and I still say, every day, ‘Turn around, look at the person behind you, take their paper, hand it up.’ Build routine and then stick to routine.” — Tracy S.

Also, check out these must-teach classroom procedures .

10. Be prepared for cyberbullying

Sixth graders seem young, but they’re no strangers to the internet—42% of kids have been bullied online. Make sure you know how to address cyberbullying. One of the best ways to do so is getting kids to report it and address it by being “upstanders.”

We also have a bunch of anti-bullying resources here .

11. Have a “No Name” rack

rack to hold papers with no name on them, a tip for teaching 6th grade

When you’re teaching sixth grade, you’re bound to get a few (read: a zillion) papers with no name on them. Here’s a place to put them!

Learn more: 3 rd Grade Thoughts

12. Include student photos in your sub folder

OK, this idea comes from a kindergarten blog, but we’ve known enough mischievous sixth graders who like to trade places when there’s a substitute. As part of your sub folder, include student photos along with their names so there’s no confusion about who’s who.

Also, check out these tips for preparing a tough class for a substitute teacher .

13. Remember that consequences don’t always need to be immediate

When I first started teaching middle school, I’d often get stuck feeling like I had to have the perfect response on the spot. What do you do when you turn around to see a student moving ceiling tiles with a wand he made from attaching 13 markers? (Note: I still don’t know. I think I would just laugh.)

Instead of putting pressure on yourself to respond perfectly in that moment, say something like, “I need to think about how to respond to this. I’ll let you know what I’ve decided at the beginning of class tomorrow.”

Also, check out these logical consequences for the classroom .

14. Laminate your checklists

Collage of Best Laminators

“I gave my middle school art students a blank laminated flow chart titled ‘What do I do next?’ They used markers to fill in the instructions while I told them verbally and also filled out one on the board. When they asked what was next, I told them to check the chart. It worked great! They can erase the chart when moving to the next activity.” —Abbie B.

Check out our picks for the best laminators for teachers .

15. Help students make up for lost time

Put all the materials that an absent student will need upon return—homework assignments, worksheets, discussion notes—in one place. Then, when the student returns, they can quickly select the material they missed without disrupting class.

16. Use expert groups

Group students into four equal “Expert Groups” that are strategically organized into heterogeneous groups by ability. Then, give each group a topic to cover or a task to accomplish. After the experts have learned about their topic or completed their task, they move into new groups to share what they learned with one another. This idea comes from Go to Teach .

17. Get to know executive functioning

infographic about what executive functioning is

Waiting their turn, not acting on impulse, and handling setbacks are all important for navigating middle school. Here are the executive functioning skills students should have in each grade .

18. Have students monitor their goals

daily monitoring sheet that students can use to record when they achieve a goal

Speaking of executive functioning, when you’re teaching your sixth grade students a new topic or or having them review, have them practice goal setting and their own progress monitoring. Idea Galaxy Teacher shares one way to have students monitor their progress, not perfection, in math.

19. Plan to let kids move

If you don’t plan it into the lesson, sixth graders will fidget, squirm, or find an excuse to get out of their seats. Assigning them partners that require them to get up and move, passing out sticky notes that they can record answers on and post them on the wall, or having them stand during math fluency drills are all ways to keep them moving.

Also, here’s a tool kit of free printables to help get your students up and moving during the day.

20. Don’t shy away from a theme

Paired image of a coastal-themed classroom and quotes from historical figures

“Kids will say silly things about a theme being childish, but if you watch them, they love it. Go with your gut if you choose a theme — your kids will love it.” —Laura K.

“My theme for teaching 6th grade was ‘Be More Awesome’ from Kid President . We watched his videos, set goals, and brainstormed ways to be more awesome as individuals, as a group, and in the community. We did service and writing projects, and the kids and parents loved it.” —Sharon R.

If you need inspiration, here are our favorite middle school classroom decorating ideas .

21. Celebrate more than meeting standards

“I make it a habit to celebrate everything. It is easy to become discouraged if your goals have to be ‘meet standards,’ ‘be proficient,’ ‘read at grade level,’ etc. In many classrooms, there are a few (or more!) kids who may not meet those goals during your year together. I tell my students that we celebrate moving forward. I try to recognize kindness and good character whenever possible, and I try to recognize those moments that matter in a different way. Whether it is having a pencil two days in a row, finishing a book, remembering 8 x 7 = 56, or using the word of the week in written or spoken language. In many ways, the encouragement buoys my spirits as much as the students’!” —Joy

22. Get ahead of the piles

Sixth-grade teacher blogger Joy in 6th uses a work basket to keep papers from piling up. Her rule: No double basketing! She makes sure she checks in each paper and takes care of it (grades it, returns it, etc.) so papers don’t get stashed or pile up. Set a consequence or reward for keeping that basket clean, because more papers are always on the way!

23. Bring your sense of humor

A meme illustrating a student delighted to pick their own partner

Teaching sixth grade will try your patience. Students will exercise their excuses, their lack of rationality, their insistence on fairness, and developing a sense of justice. The best way to deal with it is a healthy dose of humor. To start, find the funny in the things your students say (including the names they give you), and bring in comics and memes to reinforce your lessons and directions. Also, check out these cheesy teacher jokes , as well as math jokes , science jokes , and history jokes .

Tips for Language Arts

ELA is a sweet spot for sixth graders, who are young enough to enjoy read-alouds and old enough to have deep discussions.

24. Give students choice in literature circles

Several book covers of books good for teaching 6th grade

Sixth graders love literature circles, which encourage strong discussion and ownership over reading. Build choice into your literature circles by providing them with a few novel choices and a blank calendar to plan out their reading. Check out these life-changing books for middle school and classic middle-grade books .

25. Introduce short stories—we have over 50

When teaching sixth grade, it can be a challenge to get your students interested in reading. The thought of tackling a thick novel can be overwhelming, especially during distance learning. These short stories for middle school are always a great choice .

26. Blackout poetry is the best

Blackout or erasure poetry is not only fun for kids, it’s super easy to scaffold for students who need more of a challenge or a little more help. Check out this blackout poetry how-to guide with examples and ideas . (P.S. It’s also a great second life for your torn and battered books!)

27. Include other poetry too

It can be hard to know which poems will spur your sixth graders into deep, meaningful discussion and which will leave them yawning. So we asked experienced teachers to share their favorite poems that always get a reaction, even from tweens. Check out the list of poems for middle school here .

28. Build vocabulary

description of academic vocabulary or words that are specific to a domain

Sixth graders are exposed to more and more academic vocabulary, or words that are related to specific topics. Think: adjacent , metamorphize , isotope , Mesopotamia . Teach these words, then have students work with them using visuals and games, with ideas from MiddleWeb .

Learn more: EAP Foundation

29. Introduce students to Socratic seminar

Sixth graders are ready to start more formal discussions of open-ended questions. Socratic seminars require work on the front end to create the questions and prepare students, but they’re worth it when students really get into rich discussion. Here’s an easy way to do Socratic seminar .

30. Give students choice in how to present their work

Sometimes you’ll want a traditional writing assignment to build students’ analytical skills. Other times, you may want to give students options. “I let my students work in groups and read part of a chapter and then teach it to the class. They do various things such as present graphic organizers, skits, raps, acrostics, etc.” —Brittney R.

31. Do close readings of movies

Help students apply the same critical thinking and analysis they do during close reading to movies by using short movies and TV clips. Have students watch the movie clips with purpose and spend time analyzing the clips in depth. Here’s more on the idea from MiddleWeb .

32. Stock your library with graphic novels

Collage of three diverse middle school graphic novels on a shelf

Graphic novels are a great way for any sixth grader to get interested in a new story. They’re particularly helpful for students who struggle with reading and can use the pictures to do the high-level thinking required in middle school. “Graphic novels help struggling readers and also help with writing.” —Meaghan G.

Some great graphic novels to use with sixth graders are Bone: Out From Boneville by Jeff Smith, Drama  by Raina Telgemeier, and Lewis & Clark by Nick Bertozzi. Also, check out our full list of middle school graphic novels .

33. Read aloud

Sixth graders still love to hear a read-aloud. Take advantage of this to read aloud a book that inspires your sixth graders to expand their world, and build empathy for characters similar to and different from themselves. Here’s a list of great read-alouds for 6th grade .

Tips for Math

Sixth graders need as much math connected to their actual lives as possible. Use these strategies to reactivate their math knowledge and keep them engaged.

34. Take up real-world math problems

Middle schoolers need to see math connected to the real world. Frame math lessons in actual scenarios with these lessons from PBS that will have students using ratios and proportions in a vending machine, or measuring variability with data from wildfires.

35. Post the essentials

Check out these sixth grade math essentials posters from Teachers Pay Teachers (free). To start, project the posters at the start of a lesson. Then have hand-outs ready for students who need reminders.

36. Get graphing dry-erase boards

Graphing dry-erase boards for use when teaching 6th grade

Check out these graphing dry-erase boards to engage students in graphing work.

37. Build in writing time

Whether your school requires it or not, having your math students write not only builds interdisciplinary connections but helps sharpen literacy skills (which benefits everyone!). One teacher I know has students write children’s books using geometry concepts with accuracy, and then they actually read them to K-2 students.

38. Keep math centers moving

When teaching sixth grade, math centers are a great way to differentiate your classroom and engage sixth graders in math practice. For example, here’s how Middle School Math Man organizes math centers.

39. Assign an unforgettable math project

Every sixth grader is wondering what they’d do with a million dollars, so let them try it out with The Million Dollar Project .

40. Make math problems relevant

Ask your colleagues, staff, and administration how they’re using math in what they’re currently doing or planning. Then have your students help out! “Mr. Reynolds is making a sweet potato casserole for the English department Thanksgiving potluck and wants to make sure he can feed everyone. If he’s using a 9 x 13-inch pan, what size pieces should he cut to feed all 12 teachers in the English department?” Have them make a video with their answer to send to Mr. Reynolds. Word problems feel so different when they’re real .

41. Have math resources on hand

Sixth grade math covers a lot of ground, so you’ll want a lot of help at your fingertips. “We use Illustrated Math, the Georgia State resources, and EngageNY. Also brush up on ratios.” —Ingrid S.

Check out this list of our favorite math supplies for middle school .

Tips for Social Studies

From ancient Mesopotamia to government, sixth grade social studies covers a lot of ground.

42. Bring GRAPES to your ancient civilizations lesson

Mr. and Mrs. Social Studies help students understand the main elements of ancient civilizations with the acronym GRAPES:

  • Achievements

Incorporate the GRAPES structure into your lessons to make sure students have all the essential info.

43. Teach the branches of government

Five images of activities to teach kids about the branches of government when teaching 6th grade.

More than ever, our country is examining the laws that were put in place to protect and guide us. It can be overwhelming, however, to explain exactly how that works. To help you give your lesson plans a boost, we’ve put together this list of resources that help teach kids about the branches of government.

44. Start the movie projector

Films are a great way to make history come alive or offer another representation of a favorite novel when you’re teaching sixth grade. Some middle school movie recommendations from our community: Remember the Titans , The Color of Freedom , Pay It Forward , Rudy , Mad Hot Ballroom , October Sky , Stand and Deliver , Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken , and Mr. Holland’s Opus. All these films clearly present characters and themes that your students will remember long after middle school. Also, check out this big list of educational Netflix shows .

45. Get ready to go back in time

Here’s how one of our community members handled teaching ancient civilizations, a topic that can seem out of touch for sixth graders: “Students created cubes (made of poster board and cut and glued with hot glue) to create an informational cube about Egyptians. Then, students made commercials to get ‘tourists’ to visit their locations and they made brochures. For ancient Egypt, they make a sarcophagus. And for the Renaissance, they make a medieval feast.”  —Brittney R.

46. Use online learning

There are some amazing websites out there for teaching sixth grade social studies lessons. Check out this big list of social studies website favorites .

47. Introduce debate

“We do a debate between the Patriots and the Loyalists (with costumes). The kids LOVED this activity.” —Sherrie R.

Check out this big list of debate topics for middle school .

Tips for Science

Sixth graders are budding scientists—curious about everything and just starting to work on more advanced experiments. Just keep a close eye on them when the Bunsen burners are out.

48. Bring SpongeBob into science class

spongebob squarepants incorporated into a science safety presentation for use when teaching sixth grade

Middle school is likely the first time that students are in a lab. Teach lab safety with some humor and a friendly sponge. Use this SpongeBob science safety lesson from Middle School Science and we’re sure students will refer back to it all year.

49. Conduct appropriate science experiments

Collage of science experiments to try when teaching 6th grade

Like kids of every age, sixth grade students love hands-on science! Teachers do, too, because when you’re teaching sixth grade, the learning is a lot more meaningful when students see concepts in action. This roundup of sixth grade science projects and activities has a little something for everyone — from biology and ecology to physics and chemistry.

50. Schedule labs first

“Try mixing up your teaching style by introducing topics with a lab first. Let the students get a hands-on feel for the material before any type of lecture is used.” —Christie E.

51. Pull up a science website

Science is exciting. Unfortunately, students may say they don’t like science because textbook lessons can be a little dry. Whether you’re in the classroom or teaching online, finding the right resources can bring these complex concepts to life! To help you get started, here’s a list of the best science websites for middle school .

52. Read the newspaper in science class

“Throw in current events as much as possible! My students love when a topic we cover relates to something happening now … for example, when we touched on viruses, we took a day to discuss the truths and myths of Ebola!” –Christie E.

Tips for the Arts

Sixth graders are all about self-expression. They’re at the start of that middle school journey. Use art to help them understand and express themselves.

53. Give them the stage

“I use a great company called Bad Wolf Press for plays. They sell short musicals (curriculum based). They are funny, and you can be as simple as you like with costumes and scenery.” —Rhona C. 

Plus check out these steps to create your own readers theater scripts.

54. Incorporate classical music into art class

Have students chill out or merge art and music by having them draw along to a score. Spread out butcher paper or give each student their own piece of paper and let the music flow. Here’s our favorite classical music for the classroom .

55. Social media is your best friend for artsy ideas

Narwhal student art project as an example to try when teaching 6th grade

Instagram in particular is a great resource for collecting ideas when you’re teaching sixth grade art classes. My favorite? Lambie_k on Instagram. I mean, just look at this backpack-wearing narwhal. The ocean swirls! The northern lights!

56. Get crafty

Even sixth graders like to make crafts like duct tape hearts for Valentine’s Day, flower pens for Mother’s Day, or 3D shaped flip-books in math. Also, it’s even better if crafts overlap with other concepts!

57. But don’t assume they can handle glitter

“My sixth graders cannot handle glue or glitter. Found that out the hard way this year.” —Sharon R.

Do you have any great tips for teaching sixth grade? Share them in the comments below!

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Teaching sixth grade can be challenging. Follow these tips, tricks, and ideas to find success in all areas of the classroom!

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