In second grade, language arts instruction begins to employ novel studies, as discussing books has been shown to help children read in a more thoughtful and reflective manner. This then translates into more fluent writing and improved oral communication, as students become more skilled at sharing their thoughts and reactions to text. In addition to novel studies, students read independent chapter books that are appropriate in age and reading level and appealing to the individual interests of every child. The Units of Study for Teaching Reading program further explores both fiction and nonfiction pieces and provides examples of elements to examine when reading any text. During Writer’s Workshop, students conference individually with teachers throughout the many steps of the writing process, from prewriting through publication. They enjoy publishing parties each month to share and celebrate their growth with relatives, faculty, and classmates. Students transition from print to script writing as well as formally learning to keyboard so that all modalities may be used to put their thoughts on paper.
Mathematics instruction solidifies students’ grasp of place value to allow them to add and subtract fluently through the thousands. Strategies for understanding multiplication and division are presented through multiple modalities with a goal of helping students to recognize the relationship between the two operations. In second grade, students move from learning concrete concepts to more abstract ones as they focus on concepts such as problem solving, fractions and geometric shapes.
Science probes essential questions such as how one can predict and explain interactions between organisms and within systems. Students conduct experiments which investigate forces, balance, and simple machines, developing a growing understanding of the scientific method. Coupled with that is a focus on engineering, as students build bridges and design products using simple machines. Other areas explored include dinosaurs, fossils, and the universe. By focusing on topics that are of natural interest to children of this age, student questions fuel the direction of instruction, engaging our young scientists and sparking an interest to take their learning even further.
Second grade social studies revolves around the study of the state of New Jersey. Students examine three dimensions of our state: people, place, and time. Through these themes, teachers pose essential questions such as “What does our state look like?” “Who lives in our state?” and “How do the events of history affect us today?” Lessons are taught through a variety of resources including field trips that allow students to experience the unique history and culture of New Jersey in a hands-on way. Several projects are assigned that introduce the research process, as well as how to conduct an interview.