The Second Grade Curriculum
The primary focus of the second grade reading program is literacy. In second grade, we transition from learning to read to reading to learn. Students reinforce their phonics skills and learn comprehension strategies such as summarizing, clarifying, questioning, and predicting. Students are exposed to various forms of literature such as fiction, non-fiction, poetry, folk tales, realistic fiction and fables. Additionally, characters, plot, and settings are discussed at length in class. Students often work in groups and skills taught in these groups are core phonics, fluency, word attack skills and comprehension. As the year progresses, students move into reading beginning chapter books in groups. Students are required to do 20 minutes of silent reading a day as well as 10 minutes of reading at home each evening. A variety of texts are used to reinforce specific skills.
Students are introduced to many forms of writing in second grade. Throughout the course of the year, students learn how to write letters, descriptions, directions, stories and simple paragraphs. Story writing requires students to create a problem and a solution for each story. For paragraph writing, students are required to have a topic sentence, details, and a closing sentence. Additionally, each morning students complete a journal entry as well. Through writing and Daily Oral Language activities, students learn parts of speech and sentence structure. Students learn that writing is indeed a process, and that the first draft of any writing can be improved through the revision and editing process.
Students begin second grade printing letters. They use the standard brown lined paper, and, over the course of the year, they begin to use binder paper. In February, cursive writing is introduced. Students are exposed to both printed letters and cursive letters so that both forms can be practiced all year. Some writing assignments are required to be in cursive in May and June. It is important that students use the proper form while writing and that they are comfortable as well.
In second grade, spelling and reading are intimately connected. Each week students are given a list of spelling words. Every night for homework, they are asked to do different activities and assignments using these words. The activities and assignments prepare students for the test, and serve to increase their vocabulary thus increasing their reading fluency. Each week, the words have a similar phonetic skill that is studied. Students also learn dictionary skills to help them with both reading and spelling.
In the second grade, students continue to hone their mathematical skills. Manipulatives, hands-on activities, problem solving, and games allow students to explore and gain proficiency in 2 to 3 digit addition and subtraction with regrouping, place value, estimation, fractions, measurement of time, length, capacity, the use of money, geometry, graphing, and the discovery of number patterns. Students also finish second grade with a firm foundation of basic skills including multiplication basic facts through 6 and the ability to use mental math to compute quickly. Base ten blocks, pattern blocks, everyday math cards, dominoes, tangrams, Judy clocks, and fractions blocks are examples of manipulatives used throughout the year.
The second grade social studies curriculum follows the California State Standards. Students learn about communities and their role in different communities. Part of our Social Studies curriculum focuses on immigration—how people immigrate and why they immigrate. Additionally, people who have made a difference in history are studied, such as Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, and Susan B. Anthony. Students also learn about the three branches of the federal government, the United States voting system, and the basic theory of laws and what happens when people break laws. Second graders are required to memorize the states and capitals as well as basic geography of the United States. A variety of texts and media, primary sources, and supplementary materials are used to reinforce concepts and skills taught in the Social Studies curriculum.
Students in second grade begin to develop the skills necessary to become independent learners. Students use a weekly homework chart to track assignments and complete all of their work for each new day of school. They learn time management by using a weekly spelling contract and home reading log that gives them the opportunity to complete assignments several days in advance. During the school day, the teacher assesses their learning by asking questions that help them learn to analyze and observe the world around them in new ways. In addition, the teacher facilitates their school day by helping them to stay organized, seek out help when needed, use the dictionary and listen attentively. By the end of second grade, students have many strategies to retain and recall information, work independently, and make important decisions throughout the school day.
Click here for Ms. Carli’s spelling words.
Click here for Mr. Bevan’s spelling words.