The second grade year builds on the foundation laid in first grade in all academic areas and the development of independence in each student is a year-long goal of second grade. Children are encouraged to assume increasing personal responsibility for their assignments and their materials, as well as for establishing continuity in their home/school communication and interpersonal relationships.
In Language Arts, students read a variety of print material as they participate in shared reading, group reading and independent reading. A basal series, leveled readers, fiction and non-fiction books and poetry are just a few of the materials used. Instruction concentrates on phonemic awareness, spelling and vocabulary, oral language, writing, grammar, usage and mechanics, reading comprehension and information, and study skills. A wide variety of instructional strategies are employed including word sorts, flip books, poetry, phonics readers, original sentence writing, Daily Language Review, Drops in a Bucket, phonics centers and word work.
The Lower School uses Math in Focus, an American edition of the Singapore Math program. Students are exposed to a rich curriculum that enhances the acquisition of a solid sense of numbers, their relationships and also place value. Based on Piaget’s stages of development in which children begin learning with concrete objects, manipulatives are used extensively for early learners. Students next encounter pictorial representations of problems, and finally reach the level of abstract reasoning and understanding. The program stresses mental math and problem-solving skills, using “bar modeling” as a visual representation for word problems. Developing strong computational skills is a primary objective in Math in Focus.
In science, second graders investigate topics such as weather data, where they gather and record observations of weather patterns, magnets and their characteristics and properties, the properties for solids, liquids and gasses and how they change from one state to another, how some animals go through distinct changes during their life cycles while others generally resemble their parents, the changes that affect habitats over time, rocks, weathering and erosion. During these units, students are called upon to compare and contrast, demonstrate, examine and describe, identify, measure, predict and interpret. Students also plant and care for a garden and study how plants grow from seeds and what is necessary for plants to thrive.
In social studies, topics of study include a comparison of natural resources and capital resources, including making choices when resources are limited, responsibilities involved in citizenship, famous Americans who improved the lives of others, customs, traditions and characteristics of North American Indian tribes and where they live, mapwork identifying the continents, oceans and where the student lives. Second graders also learn from each other by sharing current events.In addition, all second graders have instruction in library, technology education, Spanish, music, art and physical education.