JAMS Humanities Department

  • 6th Grade Humanities Course Overview


    Welcome! We are so pleased to invite you into the John Adams Middle School humanities community. In this course, each student will develop an identity as a middle school reader, writer, and thinker. To reach this goal, we are committed to creating a student-centered space rich in literature, discussion, and authentic learning experiences. In turn, students will be held to high standards of active engagement and personal responsibility. We have an exciting year ahead, and with your partnership, we are confident that each student will make significant academic and personal gains.
    Class Structure
    Humanities is a unique course that integrates both English Language Arts Common Core State Standards and History Social Science Content Standards. 6th grade humanities students are provided with a rigorous literacy program that integrates social studies content. At JAMS, 6th graders see their humanities teacher Tuesday-Friday in an 80-minute synchronous block. Students should also expect to complete 15 minutes of asynchronous humanities work independently after Tuesday-Friday blocks. On Mondays, students will engage in a shorter 50-minute synchronous block with extended asynchronous activities. If students or families need additional support, they are encouraged to attend Office Hours on Wednesdays from 2:15-3:15pm.

    Course Objectives

    • Students will develop stronger academic language and grade-level vocabulary.
    • Students will develop critical thinking skills by forming ideas and supporting those ideas with evidence.
    • Students will strengthen independent reading habits.
    • Students will mature through the writing process by engaging in a variety of short and sustained narrative, informational, and argument writing experiences.
    • Students will learn about ancient cultures and explore their connection to our daily lives.

    Student Expectations

    • Students must log onto class session at scheduled class time, and be online for the duration of the class.
      • Be Ready: Be on time and visible, have materials, and mute your mic when you are not talking.
      • Be Present: Be engaged and studious. Sit up and put away all distractions such as other electronic devices.
      • Be Respectful: Be patient, wear proper attire, and refrain from chewing gum/food on camera.
    • Students must have cameras on for attendance, direct instruction, and small groups. Students must get permission from the teacher to turn cameras off.
    • Students are encouraged to find a place to work that limits distractions.


    Students may access textbooks online via Clever.

    • California Collections
    • History Alive! The Ancient World

    Possible Reading Experiences

    • Short Fiction: realistic fiction stories, myths, legends, folktales, poetry
    • Short Non-Fiction: history and science picture books, articles
    • Novel Study

    *Students are expected to be reading a self-selected independent book at all times. Students may read an independent book from home, or choose from a variety of free eBooks through SORA. Students can also add Santa Monica Public Library accounts to access even more books through SORA by following the instructions here.

    Social Studies Units

    • Unit 1: Early Humans & the Rise of Civilization
    • Unit 2: Ancient Egypt & the Middle East
    • Unit 3: Ancient India
    • Unit 4: Ancient China
    • Unit 5: Ancient Greece
    • Unit 6: Ancient Rome

    Work Expectations & Grading Policy
    Each week, students will complete a variety of work products: Google Classroom assignments, asynchronous projects, assessments, and quizzes. All graded work products will be entered into the Illuminate gradebook on a 100-point scale. Students and families are expected to check Illuminate at least every two weeks to track scores.

    Letter Grade & Percentage - Description
    A 100-90% - Exceeds Standards
    B   89-80% - Meets Standards
    C  79-70% - Approaching Standards
    D   69-55% - Does Not Meet Standards
    F   54-0% - Missing (did not turn in)

    Students and families should work with their teacher to make a plan to resubmit assignments, projects or assessment before the end of the grading period.

    Grading Categories & Weights
    Projects & Assessments - 45% of grade
    Daily Assignments - 45% of grade
    Quizzes - 10% of grade

    Stay in Touch!
    The best way to contact teachers is via email.

    Teacher Name and Email
    Ms. Lee-Garcia, mlee-garcia@smmusd.org
    Ms. Scotland, ascotland@smmusd.org
    Ms. Duff (Department Chair), hduff@smmusd.org
    Ms. Cruz, tcruz@smmusd.org