~Second Grade Curriculum at a Glance~
Writing Workshop is a method of writing instruction developed by Lucy Calkins and educators in the Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University in New York City, New York (Calkins, 2006). This method is used at MES in all grades and focuses on the goal of fostering lifelong writers. It is based upon four principles; students will write about their own lives, they will use a consistent writing process, they will work in authentic ways, and it will foster independence. Writing time will be four to five times a week for 45 to 60 minutes. Over the year students will have experience in three different text types: narrative/story, informational, and opinion writing. During the month of September, students will be introduced to writing workshop routines, set expectations, and build their writing stamina.
MES uses Handwriting Without Tears in grades Pre-K through 5 this year. We will incorporate handwriting into our Writing Workshop block. Second graders will continue to work on improving the sizing and spacing of their printing. Students will also receive pointers to reduce letter reversals.
This year MES will continue to use the enVision Math program. This program is aligned to the Common Core Standards and is separated into topics to cover all the second grade standards. Your child will be working hard on many different mathematical concepts this year. It is important to know that students will be exposed and encouraged to use a variety of math strategies when solving problems. They will not always be using traditional algorithms. Some of the strategies they will be encouraged to use are; number line, expanded notation, decomposing and composing numbers, and using friendly numbers. Math time will be everyday for 90 minutes and spread throughout the day.
The major concepts covered in math during second grade are:
- Place Value (value of where the digit is in the number, such as ones, tens, hundreds, etc. Example: In 352, the place value of the 5 is “tens” and is equal to 50 or 5 tens)
- Problem Solving (one and two step word problems)
- Adding and subtracting within 1,000 (with and without regrouping)
- Odd and Even numbers
- Graphs and Data
In science there are three different units of study. In trimester one we study rocks and soil with an emphasis on comparing and contrasting different properties and making scientific observations. In trimester two we study states of matter. Students participate in and create inquiry-based experiments that follow the scientific method. In the third trimester we study life cycles by hatching chicks! We follow their development inside the egg and make observations along the way.
Our goal in reading this year is to build the foundational skills students will need in order to flourish in the upcoming years. We focus on fluency, accuracy, inference, phonics and critical thinking while digging deep into many rich texts. We use a Reading Workshop model where students are divided into groups and read books appropriate to their levels. While the teacher is meeting with these groups, students silently read, partner read, listen to reading, or respond to texts. This year spelling will be integrated into our reading program.
During the first half of the year we focus on fiction. First, students identify the story elements, major events, and challenges in a book. Then students are asked to compare and contrast two versions of a fairy tale based on the story elements. We finish our fiction study on perspective and learn about character’s point of view.
After January we focus on informational texts. Students learn about the structure of a nonfiction text ad all the nonfiction text features. Students also compare and contrast two information books on the same topic. We finish the year by researching, drafting, and writing an information report on a topic of their choice.
Interactive Strategies Approach (ISA)
ISA is an approach we use to teach and support readers. It teaches children to self-monitor, meaning to figure out challenging words on their own and to correct their own reading errors. You can support your child by using these strategies when your child reads to you.
The most important (and hardest) thing to do is sit and wait when your child comes to a puzzling word. Be silent. Keep your eyes on the book. Give your child time to work through the puzzle. If after 15 seconds or so (and it will feel SO much longer than that), you might prompt your child to use one of the strategies listed below.
- Look at the picture.
- Look at the word; think of your sounds.
- What would make sense? Or, does that make sense?
- Do you see any word parts you know?
- Read past the mystery word and then go back and reread.
- Reread the sentence.
- Flex your sounds. (This is especially good for long and short vowel sounds)
- Break up that big word.
In social studies there are three different units of study. The first, rules and roles in a community focuses on community building within the classroom and the roles and responsibilities of students. During the second trimester we study people in a community, in which we look at the roles and responsibilities of people in our community. In previous years this included a presentation by administrators on their roles and how they help students. In the third trimester we study map skills and geography resources. Students learn “where we are on the map” and how that related to the world around us.