Welcome to 2nd Grade at Lombardy!
Welcome to second grade! Our days are busy and exciting at school. Here is an overview of an ordinary school day. (But as you probably already know, no day is truly ordinary when you have lots of eager learners gathered together.J) Learning time begins as soon as the children enter the classroom each morning and continues until they exit the building in the afternoon. The Common Core Standards drive our curriculum content and lesson objectives.
Morning Meeting: This is our opportunity to greet each other and share our special news of the day. We also use this time to build a sense of community in our classroom. Our classroom is a caring place where everyone respects one another and develops a sense of responsibility. The children look forward to greeting one another and reading our morning message, which helps us to focus a positive attitude toward our daily learning objectives. At morning meeting we discuss our classroom goals for the day, celebrate special events, share exciting news, and problem-solve when the need arises. This gives us a chance to practice our speaking and listening skills in a meaningful context. Sometimes our morning meetings include fun games and movement activities to stimulate our brains. What a great way to begin the day!
Language Arts: We begin the year by reviewing basic phonics, reading, and grammar skills. Students also complete a variety of reading assessments in September, so that teachers can gauge their skill levels. We use this data to guide us as we plan instruction to meet individual students’ needs. Various reading assessment tools are used at regular intervals throughout the remainder of the school year to track each student’s progress in the five language arts domains.
Here are some of the core elements of our reading program:
- Journeys reading anthology: we use a 2 volume textbook set in second grade.
- Leveled books & phonics instruction: provide support and/or extension as needed for each child
- Accelerated Reader (AR): promotes independent reading. We will begin using AR computerized comprehension tests later this fall; AR tests allow students to earn points so they can work toward reading goals.
- Teacher read-aloud time: provides exposure to quality literature and enhances comprehension skills
- Independent reading, writing, and word work activities
- Nightly reading at home: a good routine and way for parents to help
their children grow as readers
Another major component of the second grade language arts curriculum is phonics. Our curriculum systematically introduces the children to letter and sound combinations. Direct instruction and dictation exercises help children develop decoding and spelling skills. We begin by reviewing basic short vowels sounds and advance to word building skills that include the use of prefixes, suffixes, and various vowel combinations. Our weekly list of spelling words are generated from the phonics patterns we are studying in class. We choose 16 core spelling words each week to use in weekly homework assignments. Our weekly spelling tests are usually given on Fridays. These assessments consist of two dictated sentences that incorporate the weekly word list, plus eight individual spelling words. Proper spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are expected on weekly spelling tests.
We round out our language arts curriculum with a writing and grammar component. Here are some of the tools we use to develop young writers:
- Journal writing: gives children the opportunity to express their feelings and thoughts about school, family, friends, and personal interests.
- Grammar lessons in the Journeys textbook: sentence formation, capitalization, punctuation, parts of speech
- Writing lessons: focus on crafting paragraphs for specific writing genres (persuasive, research, explanatory, and narrative) each marking period
- Author’s Craft lessons: embedded in reading and literature lessons
Math: Our second-grade math curriculum utilizes the Eureka series, which emphasizes sound concept development, mental math skills, critical thinking, and problem-solving strategies. Components of our math instructional block include basic fact (addition and subtraction) fluency, timed sprints, word problems, number talks, and daily math content lessons. As we explore math concepts, our goal is to help students advance their understanding from the concrete level to the pictorial level, and then finally the abstract level.
We also utilize the Math 4 Today program to review and reinforce previously learned concepts. This helps students to retain skills from earlier units while we introduce new concepts form the Eureka math curriculum.
Mastery of basic addition and subtraction facts is very important in second grade. Parents can help students immensely by reviewing basic addition and subtraction facts at home with flashcards and/or encouraging your second grader to utilize xtramath.com on a daily basis. Students who have memorized these math facts will generally be more successful with the challenging concepts we introduce in the Eureka math curriculum.
For math enrichment opportunities, teachers provide second graders with various activities, which may include math games & centers, problem solving tasks, STEM activities, etc. DreamBox is an additional online math enrichment website/iPad app, which students can access both at school and at home. Each child receives a unique sign-on for DreamBox, which develops a customized learning path to meet each student’s specific math learning needs. Fun and motivational math games assist students in mastering key math skills.
Science: Second grade science also utilizes a hands-on approach. Our first unit focuses on insect life cycles. Students look forward to seeing butterflies and darkling beetles emerge from their chrysalises at the conclusion of this science unit. In the second marking period, we begin our Building Bridges Unit. This unit develops STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills. Our third science unit of the year focuses on soil. During our Soils Unit, we learn about the components of soil, study the composting process, and learn about the importance of worms. Throughout the year children develop classification skills, identify physical characteristics, construct scientific inquiries, conduct safe experiments, and analyze their findings.
Social Studies: Second grade teachers use the Scott Foresman series. We supplement this program with the Map Essentials text and meaningful materials from other social studies resources. Students develop a more complete understanding of the world around them as we study key concepts about geography, economics, government, culture, and history.
Parents can help their children to become more knowledgeable about the world around them by encouraging the use of maps, taking family trips to historical places, and viewing age-appropriate programs on the Discovery Channel. Please also help your child to memorize his/her street address, as well as the names of the city, state, country, and continent on which he/she lives. (This is a grade-level expectation for second graders.)