Second grade is a time for students to develop greater capacity for independent thinking, reasoning, and problem solving. They do so in the midst of exploring new friendships, taking on more responsibility and counting missing teeth.
Consistent homework routines help to develop positive work habits and accountability.
Click on the subjects below for a summary of the Grade 2 curriculum.
A 90-minute literacy block is scheduled daily in Grades 1 through 5. Reading instruction is an integral component of literacy. Our goal is first and foremost to foster a love of reading. Research data indicates that in order for students to develop as readers, they must be afforded ample time to read. Therefore, we are committed to providing large periods of time for students to immerse themselves in reading books of their choosing as much as possible. We steer children toward books that they can read with fluency, accuracy, and comprehension. Our approach supports the five essential foundational pillars of reading:
- Phonemic awareness,
- Vocabulary, and
The Reading Workshop approach provides a consistent framework and continuum of literacy progression through the Lower School grades. Each child's performance assessments provide the basis for informed decisions to plan and individualize instruction through a gradual release of responsibility model. Students receive explicit instruction to build skills and strategies that promote reading automaticity, and stamina, helping them learn to become engaged, strategic readers. Comprehension strategies are taught through mini-lessons, modeling, read-alouds, discussion, small group instruction, and one-on-one conversations/conferences with the teacher.
Phonics, Spelling, Vocabulary and Word Study
In Grades K – 2, the Fountas and Pinnell program serves as our guide to teaching phonics, spelling, and how words work. Through direct instruction in early literacy concepts, letter sound relationships, spelling patterns, sight and high-frequency words, children learn how to put these skills into practice when reading and writing. When they are empowered with a range of strategies to solve words with efficiency and automaticity, the mind is freed up to attend to the more complex skill of comprehension.
Reading and writing skills develop in tandem. Children learn to write for a variety of purposes and audiences. Choice and creative ideas are at the heart of the writing process. A common language is used to provide continuity across grade levels. Writing strategies are taught through mini-lessons, modeling, mentor texts, discussion, small group instruction, and one-on-one conversations/conferences with the teacher. Planning, structure, graphic organizers, grammar, and mechanics are essential tools for developing writers.
Reading is an enormous part of a second grader’s life. Students receive the support they need to become fluent and expressive readers, and the encouragement to take on more challenging books. Children are provided with consistent opportunities to thoughtfully choose a variety of text independently.
Structured assignments and creative writing projects allow students to strengthen their writing skills. Weekly phonics/word study and grammar lessons provide second graders with the tools they need to succeed at a variety of writing tasks. An introduction to cursive handwriting is met with much enthusiasm!
A 60-minute math period is scheduled daily for students in Grades 1 through 5.
Our approach draws on best practices, and highlights problem solving as the focus of mathematics. Opportunities to engage in conversation about the process are promoted and valued. We expect learners to construct and maintain positive attitudes toward math, to persevere, and to monitor their own thinking.
We begin each day with Every Day Counts: Calendar Math. As additional math experience, this provides time for preview, review, practice, and discussion of critical math concepts and skills. It increases engagement and motivation while building mathematical understanding.
Math In Focus with a coherent sequence of topics forms the core of our mathematics curriculum. It affords learners the opportunity to engage in model drawing experiences, which tap into their visual-spatial and reasoning strengths. At each grade level, time spent on topics allows for depth of exploration followed by mastery. This deep level of understanding eases the journey into higher levels of math.
Investigations include a look at air and weather; an exploration of balance and motion; a civil engineering project of designing bridges; life in the tropical rain forest; and growing plants.
The Grade 2 Art curriculum continues to work on the development of fine motor skills while exposing the students to many art processes and art mediums. The elements and principles of art are taught through a discipline-based art education approach. This approach works very well within the Lower School, as it combines art history, aesthetics, and art criticism with process and production.
In Grade 2, children study the rich cultures of Japan and Egypt. A variety of art projects have been developed so that the students can share what they have learned in Central Subject and create artwork that is related to it. It is more than a “who made what when” approach. It is the study of people and other civilizations through art.
The students find it fascinating and enjoy creating clay pieces as well as colored pencil drawings with the symbols and designs of another world.
In the spring, creativity abounds as they work two and three dimensionally while creating a colorful rain forest. Watercolor paintings are made that reinforce what they have learned about color mixing and the many types of vegetation in this environment. Large-scale plants and animals made out of paper mache and found objects are also a favorite activity that requires research and ingenuity.
In second grade computers, students learn the names and functions of the important components of a computer system, proper use of computer equipment, and manipulation of the mouse. Procedures for starting and closing programs and how to save and print files continue to develop with mastery. This year keyboarding shortcut skills are taught and supported. In addition to word processing, graphics, and programming, students create computer projects to enrich the subjects they are learning such as writing, science, and mathematics.
The Lower School Drama program offers a mix of drama games, skit-work, readers' theater, and improvisation that lets all the students develop ease speaking before a group. These games are times to practice quick thinking, teamwork, self-control, leadership, ability to let others lead, and patience.
The program is geared to stretch the imagination. Lower School Drama also provides a venue in which bold declarations and bashful remarks are welcome, valued, and practiced by all.
We sing songs about the rainforest, ancient Egypt, and Japan as the second graders study these Central Subject areas. We use two-part Orff accompaniments and read music from a two-line staff.
In Grade 2, Spanish classes are designed to increase students’ comfort with the sounds of the Spanish language and to provide an enriching and enjoyable foreign language experience.
Students engage in lessons enhanced by group activities, projects, games, plays, and songs to build their verbal and comprehension skills. Topics complement much of the second grade curriculum and include house and home, clothing, holidays, food, emotions, time and daily routines, and money. In addition to language learning, the class also fosters an appreciation of the differences and similarities between the children’s culture and the culture of Spanish-speaking countries.
The one-hour class is broken up into three parts that include reading a story, locating and checking out books, and completing an extension activity. Highlights of the school year include locating information from resources about mummies for a mummy accordion book, exploring the most recent World Almanac for Kids book in order to complete a folktale unit, creating a kamishibai after reading, discussing and analyzing classic Japanese kamishibai stories.
Basic motor skills continue to be emphasized in these grades. Movement education is re-enforced through creative warm-ups, running/chasing games and motor skill activities. Throwing, catching, and kicking skills continue to be developed and practiced. The curriculum incorporates more games and activities that involve teamwork, cooperation and skill development. Basic stunts and tumbling, jump rope, obstacle course challenges, movement skills and group games are all experienced at this level. Games become more involved as more rules and strategy are developed.