2nd Grade Academics
As they enter second grade, students evince an acceleration in maturity and begin to truly establish their individual identities. Thus,they are more self-focused and able to express specific likes and dislikes. In addition, they are able to work more independently than before. Precisely because they are embarking upon life and work more independently and such a paradigm shift is a bit frightening, input and encouragement from their teachers is very important to them as are set guidelines, rules, and routines. While students experience a newfound liberty to intellectually and creatively question, experiment, and make mistakes, they are not always comfortable with the stigma of being “wrong.” Thus, the second grade classroom is one that cultivates and encourages such intellectual curiosity, risk taking, and extemporaneous observation and analysis, reminding students always that wandering off the presumed “right” path can often lead to the wonder of new discovery.
From a social-emotional point of view, second graders are at an age where they begin to define themselves based on their achievements and attributes. While their newfound sense of independence is so vital to their intellectual growth, it also finds them testing limits and questioning authority. Thus, second grade is a time for students to test limits intellectually and emotionally and a time for teachers to grant students the latitude to test those boundaries while also assuring them that those boundaries do indeed exist.
From a social perspective second graders tend to gravitate towards peers of the same gender and often seek out best friends. While such bonds are important, they can also lead to other students feeling “left out.” Thus, integral to second grade is an emphasis on the positive use of social language skills and social education.
Reading skills are developed and enhanced with a focus on decoding, accuracy, vocabulary and comprehension. Students learn to describe different elements of a story such as the setting, main characters, plot, conflict and resolution. A solid foundation set in place in preceding grades, second grade is a time to hone even more each student’s writing skills via assignments which embrace a wide spectrum of genres including expository, descriptive, persuasive and narrative exercises. The foundations of grammar (nouns, proper nouns, adverbs, and adjectives) are introduced both as an independent discipline and for their application in student writing. Second graders will be asked to remember proper conventions dealing with capitalization, punctuation usage, and spelling patterns when writing. In terms of classroom participation, second grade is a time to learn to ask questions that relate to the topic under discussion while also feeling unafraid to venture intellectually brave and curious hypotheses that might take classroom discussions on new and exciting trajectories.
In second grade, students will strengthen their number sense. They will focus on addition and subtraction and fact fluency while also learning to mentally add or subtract numbers in tens or hundreds. Students will be exposed to multi-digit numbers and learn that the digits in each place represent amounts of thousands, hundreds, tens, or ones. This understanding will be essential when they learn to add and subtract double and triple digit numbers with regrouping. Second graders will spend time working on measurement. To this end, they will learn standard units of measure and practice using rulers and other measuring tools. Students will learn to describe and analyze shapes by counting their sides and angles. They will also work on solving word problems and learn to express their answers in written form.
In science, students will review the states of matter covered in first grade but now begin to understand how a substance changes from one state to another. With the focus in second grade science being on living things, students will learn about plants and animals: how they move, how they get food, and what keeps them safe from harm.
The solar system unit includes understanding the order of the planets, the phases of Earth’s moon, and the function of the sun. Additionally students will learn about rocks and minerals and the forces which inform weather.
In second grade social studies, students will learn to describe what a neighborhood is and how maps and globes are used to describe an area. Building on this knowledge, they will then investigate the way neighborhoods and the arrangement of people within them can affect the advent of inventions and immigration. Applying this conceptual knowledge, students will then analyze the society of the first Americans, American Indians, including their homes, food, and culture. The students will also learn about the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving.
The focus of the curriculum then shifts to the inner workings of neighborhoods and society. Students will learn about needs and wants and how different goods and services are manufactured and procured. Why do people work? What are the different types of jobs? What is money? How is it produced? What are taxes? All of these questions will be posed and addressed in a classroom which encourages students to seek answers in collaboration with their teacher in a dynamic and Socratic classroom.