Students enter second grade with a solid academic foundation. They’ve been honing their skill set since early childhood and are ready to apply them in even more diverse ways. Second graders show more stamina for learning and begin to think even more critically about everything they do and learn.
The emphasis on building a strong community continues in second grade and is formed through morning meetings and social emotional learning. Students begin their day by connecting with their peers through morning greeting, short sharing activities and a morning message—all components of the responsive classroom approach they’ve experienced since early childhood school.
Second grade at MVS places an emphasis on geography and the study of countries and cultures from around the world. In keeping with this focus, the culminating project is the Heritage Day celebration. Students present their detailed country reports, perform multicultural songs, and share their heritage with parents and friends.
- Language Arts
- Social Studies
- World Languages
- Visual Arts
- Physical Education
By second grade, our students are familiar with the literacy program. Students continue to be accountable for daily reading and reading assignments, and—at this point—transition from learning to read to reading to learn.
They are more skilled and literate and are capable of more rigorous homework. Each night, our second graders take home a book accompanied by a literacy log. They are expected to read for 20 minutes and answer questions in their literacy log, recording things like main character and a summary of the story. Since students are reading chapter books at this point, they may take home the same book for a week or more so it’s important that they log daily. As with kindergarten and first grade, students are encouraged to take home a book that they can read comfortably and with ease.
During class time, students are taught what a good literacy log entails: complete sentences, observations, predictions—all factors that increase a student’s engagement with the literature. Every day, second-grade teachers comment and carry out a written dialog through the previous night’s log.
Research projects are a large component of second grade. Throughout the year, students do one group research project and three individual research projects. They familiarize themselves with nonfiction texts and are challenged to use their higher level reading skills while incorporating summarization, critical thinking and inferences. Through research projects, they learn to highlight, take notes and ask questions.
Our young learners write constantly, making connections and using their research skills by retelling information in their own works and teaching others what they learn through their research.
Frequent and formal assessment is used to help differentiate instruction and support everyone's learning according to their individual skill level.
Students learn and develop the six traits of writing: conventions, sentence fluency, word choice, ideas, organization and voice.
Towards the end of second grade, teachers also introduce cursive in second grade, which our students develop more fully in third.
In second grade, Math in Focus is the program of choice. While we review and practice everything from basic computational skills to fractions and geometry, our main focus is on problem- solving skills. Using a hands-on approach, second graders develop a variety of ways to solve problems, collaborate with peers, and demonstrate their thinking process.
By second grade, students begin learning about life cycles and animal classification. They use the Outdoor Exploration center to observe various animals in their natural habitat and record their observations, draw pictures and answer questions in individual science notebooks.
Students also get a taste of animal dissection for the first time. They dissect starfish and squid using proper scientific tools and, again, record all of their observations in their science notebook—just like a real scientist!
World geography drives much of our language arts program. Developing an awareness of cultures from around the globe is another focus of social studies in second grade, and teachers emphasize global connections. Students compare and contrast different cultures and are challenged to think critically about the larger world. This focus, as well as incorporating current events encourages students to continue developing their identity as a compassionate global citizens.
Once students are in second grade, they’re familiar with learning different languages and are eager to continue their studies one to two days a week (depending on the color schedule) with both languages, each one lasting a semester.
MVS’ world language program focuses on the cultural appreciation and the development of listening and speaking skills. In second grade, students expand their vocabulary through a variety of methods, including singing, hands-on activities, games and TPR (Total Physical Response) teaching strategies.
Students gain cultural awareness through the introduction to different native speaking countries and by comparing and contrasting them to the United States.
Just as in kindergarten and first grade, our second grade students are in the art studio twice in the color block week. Students continue to explore different techniques working individually and collaboratively, and work with a variety of materials. MVS’ visual arts program follows a spiral curriculum, where lower school students continue to learn the same concepts, mediums and techniques but in a more in-depth and interrelated way.
We believe three musical traits are crucial to a student’s development during grades K through third. Based on Dr. John Feierabend’s research, we want students to become beatful (clap appropriately on beat), artful (move to music and appreciate a performance), and tuneful (be able to match pitch and sing familiar songs). In order to accomplish this, our lower school music program uses the Orff approach in the music classroom. The Orff approach uses speech as the basis of rhythm and uses movement and activities to engage students in the learning process. Students sing using solfege syllables (i.e. do, re, mi) to learn and reinforce pitch relationships. Pitched and non-pitched percussion instruments are used to build independent musicianship and ensemble skills. Beginning songs are created by students through short phrases of music through improvisation. By utilizing this approach in the music classroom, students are actively engaged while using creativity, communication, critical thinking, collaboration, confidence, courage, and building relationships within their learning community.
In second grade, students begin learning traditional, more sophisticated pieces and learn how to improvise. They focus on creating patterns to the beat, reading rhythms (quarter notes, eighth notes, half notes), singing in tune while using solfege syllables and body signs, circle dances, folk dances, creative movement and learning songs using both non-pitched percussion (rhythm sticks, hand drums, etc.) and barred instruments (xylophones, glockenspiels & metallophones). Second graders host a Winter Concert each December.