SECOND GRADE CURRICULUM OVERVIEW
The most important goal of language arts is to enable each child to communicate as effectively as possible. Listening, speaking, reading, and writing activities strengthen communication. Students are challenged through regular instruction to develop critical and creative thinking skills. In second grade, the five areas of Language Arts concentration are productive thinking, communication, forecasting, decision-making, and planning.
Second graders are introduced to and work toward mastery of spelling skills. The spelling lists are taken from the phonics skills introduced with each lesson in our Open Court Reading Series. Words from the Dolch word list are also used. Our phonics program uses a supplemental structure phonics book as well as skills taught in the Open Court Reading series. Second graders also gain experience in using dictionaries, exploring other reference materials, and arranging words alphabetically.
Our second-grade integrated reading program is the Open Court Collections for Young Scholars, which combines a systematic, structured phonemic awareness and phonics program with quality literature. Each unit in the reading anthology explores concepts that provide many opportunities for reading, discussing, exploring, and writing. Students gain comprehension skills through supplemental activities, questions and answers, predicting, and problem-solving. They also learn to distinguish between fact/fantasy and fiction/non-fiction. Students develop an appreciation of good literature through listening, reading, and responding creatively to stories, poems, and plays. Two additional programs, the computer-based Accelerated Reader and the self-paced SRA, provide additional practice in reading comprehension.
Students work toward mastery of all upper- and lower-case letters in manuscript. Emphasis is placed on the proper formation of the manuscript style, uniformity, and correct spacing as taught through the Handwriting Without Tears program. We do not teach cursive handwriting in second grade.
Second graders practice speaking skills by participating in class discussions, expressing opinions and ideas, and presenting oral book reports. Students also participate in dramatic presentations and chapel responses. Emphasis is placed on nurturing and developing fluent, organized, and meaningful oral expression.
Second-grade students focus on the practical applications of basic writing skills, creating complete sentences, and writing simple paragraphs. They learn to identify and use the basic parts of speech, recognize and write declarative and interrogative sentences, and name the subject and predicate of a sentence. We use Shurley English, a supplemental grammar program, to provide practice in grammar mechanics, basic parts of speech and sentence structure.
Students have many opportunities to express themselves in written form. Throughout the year, they keep creative-writing journals and complete extended literature activities. As their written expression develops, emphasis is placed on sentence order and function, development of basic paragraphs and basic elements of story writing, and creative responses. Students write brief book reports, stories, and poetry. They also learn to use reference materials like glossaries, dictionaries, and encyclopedias in the writing process.
Second graders study Everyday Mathematics (EDM) a rigorous curriculum designed by the University of Chicago School Mathematics project. EDM builds a foundation of mathematical knowledge that, in time, enables students to move from the basics to higher-order thinking and critical problem solving. Rocket Math (a basic math-facts program) supplements the EDM curriculum. Students participate in a daily class math meeting, which includes number facts practice, written practice, and homework. There are also oral and written assessments of math proficiency throughout the year. It is our goal at the second-grade level to develop a strong foundation in the language and basic concepts of mathematics.
In second grade, students explore their role as individuals in their community and country. Second graders combine social studies and geography by using the Map Essentials skills book by National Geographic and other geography and history resource materials. They expand their map skills by learning to identify countries, continents and major bodies of water. World history units will include ancient Greece, ancient China, India and Japan. Us history will feature units dealing with the westward expansion of the US, the making of the constitution, the War of 1812 and the Civil War.
St. Mary’s science curriculum is a hands-on approach to learning the fundamental processes of science. Through direct laboratory, classroom and outdoor experiences, students will be exposed to observing, measuring, recording, classifying, interpreting, analyzing, inferring, predicting, and investigating. The second grade science curriculum will focus on the earth/space, life and physical sciences and has been developed with the National Science Education Standards as its foundation. Hands on Elementary Science, AIMS, Project Learning Tree and Delta Science Modules have been used in the development of activities and learning experiences. The topics covered include: weather, seasons, plants, habitats, insects, matter, simple machines, cells digestive and excretory systems and healthy diets. Students will be responsible for participation in outdoor education, conducting lab investigations, keeping lab notebooks and completing various assessments throughout the year.