The Second Grade Curriculum
Reading and Language Arts
Our goal is to help children become avid and skilled readers, writers, and thinkers. Reading instruction occurs throughout the day and is incorporated into all other areas of instruction. Students are involved in Shared, Guided, and Independent reading activities. We use the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project curriculum guides, the MUS core literature list for second grade, small group sets of books for Guided Reading, classroom library collections, and directed reading-thinking activities. We work to develop more fluent readers by promoting reading for meaning and increasing word attack skills.
Independent Reading is part of our daily routine. During this time students read books of their choice at their own developmental level. Students keep a reading record and conference with the teacher regarding selections. Daily reading practice at home supports developing readers and reinforces classroom learning.
Our Reading and Writing Workshop program includes activities in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students do choral readings, memorize poetry, use Reader's Theater, and do short plays and dramatizations. Daily writing on self-selected topics is an integral part of the reading-writing process. Individual writing conferences help us to get to know the students and find out what is significant to them. Conferencing with students also allows us to assess developing skills and provide instruction in language, spelling, and writing mechanics in the context of their actual writing. During workshop writing time students estimate spellings using whatever visual and letter-sound knowledge they have. Students are also encouraged to use a spelling handbook of high frequency words and reference charts and materials in the room. Regular teacher-directed spelling and word study lessons help children move toward conventional spelling. Children publish books and reports and learn to use writing to communicate for a variety of purposes and audiences.
The goal of our second grade math program is to develop understanding and insight of the patterns of mathematics. Our program is designed to help students see relationships and interconnections in mathematics. Our priority is to enable them to deal flexibly with mathematical ideas and concepts. As we move students to the abstract symbolic level, we provide them with ample opportunities to explore concepts at the concrete level. Students work on a variety of concepts including number; patterning; sorting and classifying; geometry; graphing; place value; estimation; measuring; statistics and probability; and beginning multiplication and division. We continually encourage our students to express their understanding verbally and in writing. Our guides are the California Content Standards, the Bridges Math program , and other resources.
Our science program is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and the 2016 Science Framework for California Public Schools. The unifying theme of California landscapes introduces the shapes of mountains, valleys, and coasts, plants and animals that live in them, the properties of rocks and materials that make up the landscape, and the forces that cause change. Students develop an understanding of the the three dimensions of the NGSS including Science and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Crosscutting Concepts. For example, in the study of Biodiversity in Landscapes, students ask questions and define problems, plan and carry out investigations, obtain and communicate information, and engage in argument from evidence. They make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats and develop simple models to show the interdependent relationships in ecosystems. Students identify patterns, cause and effect, scale and proportion, structure and function and apply math and language skills integrated into the science program.
Our Harcourt Social Studies program is closely integrated with literature, reading and writing. Using the literature list in the California Social Studies Framework, we explore people who make a difference; our parents, grandparents and ancestors of long ago; and people of other cultures. Students also use map skills describing the absolute and relative locations of people, places and environment. The institutions and practices of government are presented with regard to law making and the resolution of problem solving. Field trips and special visitors to the classroom enhance our studies. Self-esteem, getting along, conflict resolution, and community outreach activities are interwoven throughout the entire curriculum.