INTRODUCTION:

The traditional education materials (textbooks and workbooks) utilized in the second grade complete the series of textbooks and workbooks used in the first and second grade.  The second grade materials, at a higher level, parallel the academic areas practiced and learned in the first grade.  By instructing with related materials, the students more quickly make connections with prior knowledge and understandings to extend into new levels of learning, practice, thinking, and application.  Montessori hands-on-manipulatives continue to be used to support understanding of math concepts if needed.   As the students work and learn through the year, the academic level grows from an advanced second grade level to a third grade level.

The second grade day is divided into two parts.  Like the first grade students, the morning focuses on the core subjects of language arts, reading, reading comprehension, composition, math, and problem solving. The second grade teacher plans, instructs, and guides students in practicing and learning multiple skills and concepts in each academic subject each day.  Focus is on both extending skills and utilizing understanding and knowledge to do more complex work.

CORE SUBJECTS:

In mathematics, second grade students are increasing their recall speed of all the addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts (100 problems in 3 to 4 minutes).  Recalling math facts quickly frees the mind to focus on process and problem solving.  Second grade students strengthen their skills in determining what specific operations in mathematics are needed to solve single-step and multi-step story problems.  Students determine the steps and equations needed and solve the problems.  Drawing and illustrating multi-step problems reinforces understanding and demonstrates that the students can transfer understanding to new math situations. Students do third grade level of abstract thinking in addition, subtraction, and multiplication calculations. The year ends with success in the ability to solve division facts with remainders.  Students continue to grow in understanding of geometry, fractions, measurement, time and money.  Math skills and concepts are reviewed throughout the year. In the area of language arts, reading, reading comprehension, and composition multiple practices are completed each day.  The second grade students use third grade resources in spelling and phonics.   In language arts, reading, and reading comprehension, students use both an advanced second grade level and third grade level resources.

When considering the broad spectrum of language arts concepts in second grade, one focus is to apply skills to improve in communicating ideas, thoughts, and information clearly.    At Cascadia, writing is fun. In written composition, emphasis is placed on developing flow and ease of writing creatively through the technique of free writing:  students write multiple sentences to finish a beginning story prompt, “One day, I was raking leaves when—.  Students also extend their ability to develop writing plans by creating more detailed story webs or outlines to guide their compositions.  Throughout the writing process, students are guided to apply their knowledge of sentence structure, grammar, spelling, capitalization and punctuation that they have practiced in their workbooks. Students have experience in descriptive writing, narrative writing, expository writing, report writing, and persuasive writing.  In the areas of reading and reading comprehension, students develop fluency through group reading in the reading anthology.  In addition, throughout the year, short novels are read aloud by students and discussed.  Discussions deepen understanding; then the students demonstrate their comprehension by writing their observations and answering questions in writing.

SOCIAL STUDIES AND SCIENCES:

In the afternoon, special studies in sciences and social studies are again the focus.  The topics presented range from a first through third grade level. As previously noted, the first and second grade students are taught together and work together.  In activities that will be challenging for the first grade, the teachers partner the first and second grade students.  The second grade students give assistance to the younger students and experience a leadership role. As the topics are studied, the second grader’s higher level thinking capabilities are evident.  These students contribute more advanced insight and thought to the discussions, benefiting the first graders’ learning.  When completing writing assignments in special studies, second grade students answer with more detailed and expanded responses.

ENRICHING SUBJECTS:

Second grade students are engaged in enriching activities.   Enrichment classes combine first and second grade students in hip hop dance class, art class, and vocal singing.   In their French class, the second grade students are beginning work with verbs “to be” and “to have.”  They are practicing using pronouns and conjugating verbs.  In addition, students are learning the tricky rules of the spelling of adjectives to be in agreement with the nouns they describe. Students talk in sentences, giving good effort to pronounce their French.  In soccer, the second grade students have their own coach to guide practice.  The students show their growing physical agility and maturity to sustain effort and focus.  In both hip hop and singing, the second graders’ growth in maturity adds depth and supports the first graders’ learning.  Highlights of the year are the hip hop performance for parents and singing in the All-School-Concert.