Second-graders build on and broaden all skills learned in first grade. The program integrates reading and language arts instruction across the curriculum, enabling students to make connections to all subject areas. Whereas manuscript letters are reinforced during the first half of the year, cursive handwriting instruction typically begins mid-way through the school year. Instructional methods include teacher-directed activities, collaborative projects, small group work, independent study, and one-on-one help. Learning centers are used to reinforce skills and concepts taught. Homework is used for children to revisit skills taught at school that day and to pursue occasional longer projects. Field trips relevant to our curriculum have included the Baltimore and D.C. Zoos and the Maryland Hall for performances.
Language Arts: Reading and Literature
Harcourt Brace Reading Series and novels are used at this level. Independent reading is also encouraged. Children may select materials from our classroom library. Oral and written book reports and projects are assigned to promote appreciation for books. (Text: Treasury of Literature, Harcourt Brace; trade books such as Molly’s Pilgrim, Freckle Juice, The One in the Middle Is the Green Kangaroo, Nate the Great, The Real Thief)
Language Arts: Writing
Writing is incorporated throughout the curriculum in the form of journal writing, letter writing, one-paragraph stories, creative writing, book report projects, and writing workshop sessions (students use the writing process to write about topics they choose). Second-grade grammar lessons include nouns (common, proper and possessive), action verbs, helping verbs, contractions, pronouns, adjectives, compound words, homonyms, synonyms, capitalization, and punctuation. (Text: Language Handbook, Harcourt Brace)
Language Arts: Spelling
Spelling skills are taught by using a phonics-based program. Words are also gathered from content areas and student work for spelling tests. (Text: Spelling, Scott Foresman)
Language Arts: Handwriting
The manuscript handwriting skills taught previously are reinforced, while neatness, correct letter formation, and letter spacing are emphasized. Cursive handwriting is introduced, using the D'Nealian method. (Text: D’Nealian Handwriting, Scott Foresman)
Addition and subtraction through three-digit numbers are introduced. Place value to 999, money, time, measurement, geometry, fractions, multiplication, and division are explored. Graphing, estimation, and problem solving are also taught at this level. Manipulatives are provided to give hands-on experience. (Text: Mathematics, Scott Foresman)
The theme, “The People We Depend Upon” allows second-grade children to explore the ways individuals depend on themselves, family members, community members, and ancestors. In approaching the theme of dependence in a global sense, our studies take us to the countries of Germany and Brazil and emphasis is on rainforest of Brazil. Throughout the year, the curriculum also incorporates cultural holidays, calendar occurrences, and current events that we monitor during the school year.
Areas related to the theme, “Living in our Country.” provide the class with an opportunity to focus on citizenship and learn more about individuals who were, and still are, influential to the people of America. Map study skills are integrated with regular instruction. (Texts: Some People I Know, Houghton Mifflin; Core Knowledge, E. D. Hirsch, Jr., various trade books; related literature from the library)
Art emphasizes design and color. Students are encouraged to show self- expression. We incorporate further studies of line, shape, color, texture, rhythm, and work on composition. Printing, clay, color mixing, paper cutting, weaving, and drawing are part of the curriculum. Famous artists are incorporated into art lessons. Students create projects coordinated with units in language arts, science, math, and social studies.
Students continue to expand their knowledge of the keyboard, backspacing, deleting, and adding lines while typing. Students learn to save their work to a hard drive and re-open it in later classes. More use is made of programs that involve reading skills as well as computer skills, and students use encyclopedias on CD-ROM and the Internet to conduct research.
Students practice alphabetical order and use it to find library materials and information easily. We also investigate the location of fiction materials and biographies and practice dictionary skills. The students begin to use the catalog to search for materials by author, title, and subject and to then find the desired materials on the shelf. The Chessie Reading Program is again open to students, helping them to bridge the gap between picture books and the more difficult fiction materials they will read in the upper grades.
Students continue to explore basic music elements such as pitch, tempo, rhythmic patterns and basic music notation. They learn to sing by reading and are offered opportunities to sing solo. They also continue to learn two-part songs and rounds, and to play various percussion instruments. Another focus is expanding their knowledge of the four major instrument groups and exposure to different music genres through a composer of the month and multicultural music. Cross-curriculum approaches will be integrated into music lessons in cooperation with the homeroom teachers. Exposure to performance opportunities occurs in class and during the December Holiday Program and through Assembly Programs.
The students participate in activities that include use of locomotor skills, movement, rhythmic expression and group organization patterns. The fundamental skills of throwing, catching, dribbling, jumping and bouncing balls are reintroduced and practiced. Playground games, sportsmanship, cooperation and safety are emphasized. We continue to practice team games (skills, strategy and rules). Students are introduced to the Physical Fitness Assessment Program. They also begin to understand why their muscles work in their bodies.
The students practice a hands-on approach to life science, and study physical science, earth science and the human body, as well as weather, sun, moon, earth and their effect on each other. Also studied are the human body parts and functions as well as forces, motion, light and heat energy. Students use previous knowledge and experience in developing inquiry-based questions and content learning goals. They build upon these authentic questions using the appropriate steps of the scientific method. Class experiments and exploration involve the nature trail and pier. Field trips have included a visit to the Chesapeake Environmental Center. The second grade will monitor weather patterns using the school’s weather station and will communicate the data with a weekly forecast to the school at All School Morning Meetings.
The students review and expand vocabulary and conversation previously presented. They do fun activities with the alphabet, numbers, clothes, body parts, transportation and lots more! Students recite the days, months, date, seasons, and numbers, and learn to describe their homes and some furniture, using colors, both masculine and feminine, and other adjectives. To reinforce learning and communicating, we use visuals, songs, games, realia, poems, and stories. Students begin to “see” the written Spanish words, but they are not emphasized. They learn an appreciation of language, people, and the cultural similarities and differences of Mexico, Spain and other countries, including their own, through books, discussions, and visitors.