Independence is the hallmark of the second grade student. Children take greater responsibility for organizing and completing school projects. They continue to strengthen decoding skills and expand their choice of reading material to emphasize more complex comprehension of texts. Second graders choose high-interest, “just right” books and practice a variety of comprehension strategies. Books cover many genres, both fiction and non-fiction. Additionally, the children write in multiple genres, including narrative, opinion, and information writing, by tapping into their own schema and personal experiences.
Our teachers build strong, personal relationships with their students, helping them navigate through academic and social challenges that come with maturation. Mathematics becomes more abstract and delves into place value exploration. Using a hands-on, differentiated workshop model, the 2nd graders use multiple addition and subtraction strategies and build the foundations for multiplication and division concepts. Math problem-solving includes algebraic reasoning, time, money, data, measurement, and fractions. In science, students learn to explore physical, life and earth sciences, ask questions, analyze and evaluate information, and draw conclusions.
The curriculum provided in the second grade recognizes that each child is an individual with a unique style and approach to learning. It is responsive to the differences in stages of development, interests, and learning styles. Each child is challenged to use his or her own innate sense of curiosity to explore the learning environment. Various strategies are used to increase each child’s self-esteem, sense of achievement, and positive feelings towards learning. The learning atmosphere addresses the needs of the whole child, with a goal of developing skills, knowledge, and positive feelings that instill a desire to explore their own learning.
A variety of instructional strategies are used to increase interest and reach all learning styles. Some diverse strategies used are:
- Short-term and long-term projects
- Teacher-initiated and child-initiated activities
- Individual and collaborative tasks
- Variety of ways to present information using all senses
The program is based on child development knowledge and provides a safe, nurturing, and challenging environment for the child to explore. The opportunity for hands-on experiences and the availability of expanded opportunities in languages, music, art, library, and physical activity greatly enhance the classroom environment.
The second grade curriculum provides opportunities for integration across subject areas. For example, their study of families today and in the past integrates the following areas:
- Science – Reading and developing maps to represent land and bodies of water in an area.
- Social Studies – Tracing family history through the use of primary and secondary sources, including photographs, interviews, and documents.
- Mathematics – Placing relevant dates on timelines of events.
- Language Arts – Creating photo journals, biographies, and “Day in the Life” recountings in order to compare and contrast their daily lives with those of their parents, grandparents, and ancestors.
- Arts – Investigating, designing, and creating a paper doll representing a cultural heritage.
- Technology – Interweaving this tool into all subject areas to reinforce content skills, create final products, and expose them to concepts of digital citizenship.
Curriculum integration allows for stimulating and flexible teaching and learning, increasing participation, appreciation, and application of all concepts. By leading children to discoveries that all knowledge is connected, their learning becomes more real, meaningful, and memorable.