Through whole class, small group, and one-on-one instruction in Readers’ Workshop, teachers model and teach skills to help students grow their independent reading practice in second grade. The reading curriculum starts with shared reading from books read aloud, allowing the opportunity to model reading comprehension strategies as a class before students practice in small groups and independently. Students practice reading and responding to literature in small groups, applying comprehension strategies in guided exercises and in independent written response. All group practices support readers toward self-identifying “just-right books,” and developing stamina for robust independent reading practice.
Writer’s Workshop also extends from the books that students read aloud, as the books become mentor texts to highlight the elements of craft that students practice in their own work. Workshop lessons begin with a mini-lesson that teaches a specific writing skill, often drawing upon the work of published authors to identify strategies on which students can model their own writing. Engaged organized, and purposeful storytelling is the preeminent objective, whether writing reflections about literature, personal narratives or inventing fictional stories. The endangered animal reports that students write are a multidisciplinary project involving reading for information, determining importance of facts, note-taking, organizing, drafting and revising an original, expository text. The second grade spelling curriculum focuses upon spelling patterns and rules, and exceptions that fall outside those expectations for conventional spelling.
The second grade students reinforce the basic addition and subtraction facts they learned in Kindergarten and first grade. They learn to add and subtract up to four digit numbers with regrouping. They also learn to tell time more precisely, count money higher than $1 and give change. They begin multiplication and division, and work on graphing and probability. The children are also asked to apply math concepts to real life situations and teachers emphasize both creative and practical strategies for problem solving.
The second grade Science curriculum covers earth, life, and physical sciences. Students are introduced to the scientific method, factual research methods, and scientific report writing. The students engage in a variety of hands-on activities and experiments to explore units such as The Survival of Living Things, Investigating Matter and Energy, Biomes, and Simple Machines. Basic coding and engineering projects are integrated into the curriculum.
Second grade students explore geographic regions of the Earth, including the continents and oceans to prepare for extensive immigration and westward expansion units. Students examine the various routes and experiences of people leaving their homelands to come to the United States in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries. Primary sources—interviews, letters, and autobiographical texts—biographies, and historical fiction inspire students to explore questions of why people left their homes, what they hoped to find, how they traveled, what they missed, and what they found in their new homes. Students participate in comprehension activities that relate to the themes of the texts and assemble timelines to distinguish the sequence and duration of historical events and the people who shaped them. An immersive experience in pioneer living opens many opportunities for interdisciplinary learning about the daily life of pioneers. Students compare and contrast pioneer and modern households, schools, and work; and they study what it was like to travel the Oregon Trail. The annual Pioneer Day event simulates pioneer work and play activities to help students imagine themselves living within the pioneer experience.