In second grade, students continue to strengthen their number sense (good intuition about numbers, their magnitude, relationships and how they are affected by operations) through their study of operation, geometry, measurement, data analysis, probability, patterns, functions and algebra. Our math curriculum, guided by the Investigations in Number, Data, and Space program, encourages students to begin to shift from counting by 1s to counting by groups of tens and ones, laying the foundation for students’ work with place value and the base-10 number system. Students develop ideas about angles and fractions through their study of two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes. They also solve different types of story problems by using increasingly efficient strategies. In addition, they play a wide variety of math games that reinforce a broad range of concepts and help them develop fluency with addition and subtraction combinations through 20.
Second grade literacy focuses on word study, reading and writing concepts to improve fluency, expression and confidence. Instruction is aligned through the Lucy Calkins and TCRWP Colleagues Units of Study. To become stronger spellers, students use word sorts, dictation activities and games to identify patterns through hands-on learning, and they practice individualized lists of sight words (or “high-frequency” words). Through exposure to books that reflect diverse cultures and genres, students broaden and expand their understanding and appreciation for different perspectives. Second graders read independently, with a partner, or in a small group to apply new ideas. Whether it’s knowing a lot about a specific nonfiction topic or making observations about a character across series books, second graders become experts through reading several books across a topic. They also answer questions such as “How did the information grow across my books?” and “How does this character change or what patterns remain the same?” Using Brain Frames, student writers address “What kind of writing am I doing?” before they create their own graphic organizer to plan their thinking. This brainstorming helps students decide what the most important subtopics are before turning them into chapters. Students “publish” books across different literary genres, including nonfiction, small moment narratives, realistic fiction and fairy tales.
Second grade students expand their understanding of science practices through units that take place within our science classrooms, outside on our 30-acre campus and in a variety of environments across the North Shore. While second graders make glue and soda, they are constantly testing and redesigning their creations, acquiring science practices along the way. Second grade scientists learn to group plants and animals and begin to understand the ecological role of insects, reptiles, amphibians and mammals. In an iterative environment, students gain an appreciation of how scientists conduct research, ask questions and collect evidence.
Second graders deepen their understanding of the world and their place in it through our social studies curriculum. Discussion, literature and service learning experiences invite and encourage students to examine how their actions and contributions can enrich communities. Students study concepts such as ancestry, cultural heritage and stereotypes, and they explore how these factors impact family traditions and affect communities. Additionally, second graders study native people from five regions in the United States and explore how geography shapes culture, and they learn about the concepts of peace and conflict through their study of the Civil Rights movement.
Second graders continue their exposure to French, Mandarin and Spanish languages on a rotating basis, building upon the skills and knowledge gained in first grade. Songs, games and stories develop listening and speaking skills and simultaneously expose students to the cultures in which the respective languages are spoken. First-hand experience with French, Mandarin and Spanish in second grade helps families and their children make educated decisions about their more “permanent” language choice in 4th grade, when students select a language to study for the remainder of their time at Brookwood.
Second grade students visit the library at least once a week for a dedicated library class where they become more independent in their selection of books, audio books, and magazines. Students serve as members of a Mock Caldecott Committee. They read, review and analyze possible Caldecott contenders, vote, and select a winner, culminating in viewing the live Caldecott Announcement in January. Students become more proficient at locating favorite authors’/illustrators’ books, series and studying topics of interest through children’s literature. Students learn to use author letters to locate books on the shelves. They also learn to recognize a simple citation (author and title) to indicate an information source and appreciate the difference between fiction and non-fiction. Our extensive 18,000+ volume collection serves as a valuable resource for students and faculty throughout the school year as part of our integrated curriculum model, and it also provides families with a variety of child and adolescent development resources.
Boom! Clank! Honk! Wiggle, shake and dance! Second graders spend their music classes singing, dancing and playing Orff instruments (xylophones and rhythmic instruments). They continue to broaden their singing range to include rounds and canons, as well as the ability to sight-sing simple notations such as whole, half, quarter, eighth notes and rests. The Lower School Play is a highlight in second grade: they participate as an ensemble in the annual musical. In the spring, second graders learn folk dances and share them with fellow Lower School students as well as their grandparents and special friends on Grandparents’ Day.
Second grade students actively utilize and practice basic art skills and techniques. They are encouraged to take creative risks to further develop and expand their visual repertoire. They paint, draw, sculpt, sew, weave and construct, while working on both individual and collaborative projects. When possible and when it makes sense, we work across the curriculum—creating pieces that represent what students are learning in science, literacy or social studies. Second grade artists are encouraged to make connections between what they learn, what they do and how they do it, whether it be doing a colored pencil depiction of a sea turtle or crafting a terra-cotta pot inspired by the work of Pueblo potter Maria Martinez.
Second graders engage in a variety of games and exercises in P.E. class. in order to refine and hone manipulative skills. An assortment of equipment including scoops, scooters, balls and hula hoops are used to help students develop and improve both fine and gross motor skills. A significant aspect of the second grade P.E. curriculum is to keep all children moving at all times in order to increase cardiovascular endurance.
Second graders continue to deepen their understanding of circuits and electronics through our Lower School-wide electronics project that takes place each fall. Cross-curricular projects occur throughout the year, such as making mind maps of their Native American studies and researching their country of origin. LEGO® WeDo projects enable students to experience computer-based programming environments: hands-on building platforms are paired with coding software, which provides students with first-hand exposure to the building blocks of coding algorithms. Additionally, students create augmented reality projects by recording videos then encouraging their parents to “find” their messages.
A dedicated outdoor space located just steps from our second grade classrooms is used year-round to support and broaden concepts and observations from a variety of projects and curriculum. Since 2010, second grade students have cared for chickens—from incubating and hatching eggs to designing and maintaining their coop—as an extension of the cross-curricular, hands-on learning experiences that take place both in the classroom and outdoors. Students benefit from the responsibilities and decision-making skills that are required when taking care of animals, and the experience provides them with firsthand knowledge in seeing where a food source comes from.