Bringing language to life
Stories come to life in Reader's Theatre, a language arts program in which second graders act out stories they are reading in class. This confidence building opportunity gives girls a chance to practice public speaking skills while developing their reading and acting skills. The mechanics of writing are explored through a variety of activities including Daily Edit and journal writing. Daily Edit is an exercise in which a sentence is placed on the white board for students to correct for spelling, punctuation and grammar.
In Lower School art, a student is encouraged to discover her own artistic voice, express herself with confidence, connect with the physical world, and think and feel in new ways. Students are introduced to basic design principles as they mix colors, paint, draw, weave, sew, make books and construct in numerous other ways. The art teacher works closely with homeroom teachers to plan art projects that enrich and personalize core curriculum themes. Meets once weekly.
Using several genres, including multicultural fiction, non-fiction, legends, biographies and plays, girls are exposed to the natural rhythm of language. In language arts, read-alouds, mini-lessons, and independent reading time complement whole-class shared reading, flexible small groups and individual instruction at each student's level. Students learn to read with comprehension by focusing on the strategies of making connections, visualizing, inferring, questioning, determining importance, and synthesizing. Students also develop their listening, writing and speaking skills by publishing and sharing their writing. The writing workshop, using mini-lessons, teacher conferencing, and publication celebrations, allow the students to develop a multitude of writing skills. Meets daily.
Second graders expand their knowledge of the library by reading many different types of fiction and non-fiction books. Students learn to take responsibility for their books and enjoy sharing favorite illustrations and pages with each other in class. Library terms are used and discussed. Meets weekly.
With the goal of building an understanding of math concepts, skills, and critical thinking abilities, girls explore whole numbers and place value. They learn to master addition and subtraction, including three-digit computations. The concept of multiplication is introduced. Girls work in collaborative groups to solve multi-step word problems, play games, and use manipulative materials. Real world connections help students apply the concepts of time, measurement, money, geometry, simple fractions, and graphing. Meets daily.
By second grade, students are ready for the introduction of two-part singing through rounds and canons. Instruction builds on the folk songs, musical games and rhymes they have learned, as well as the written language of music notation. Students further refine their skills with matching notes and scales, and practice increasingly complex musical forms in rondo and fugue, learning songs and musical compositions from different historical periods. They also continue instruction in playing the soprano recorder. Meets three times a week.
As physical education continues to emphasize the importance of movement introduced in earlier grades, students develop a love for exercise, build confidence in their ability to perform skills, and learn to function effectively in a group. The second grade course teaches increasingly difficult skills through small group activities, dance, cooperative games and large group games. Competition is used positively as a means of self-testing and teaching socialization skills necessary to play team sports. Meets four times weekly.
Our Lower School science program uses the BSCS Science TRACS curriculum, an inquiry-based program that incorporates many cooperative-learning opportunities in a modular format. In second grade, this includes a Life Science module on the study of plants, an Earth and Space Science module on weather, and a Physical Science module on position, motion, forces and measurement/capacity. Over the course of the year, students learn about topics ranging from elements that allow plants to grow to how simple machines such as levers and gears can make work easier. Meets twice weekly.
Second graders develop an appreciation and understanding of the life choices people have made over time as they learn about the history of the Delaware Valley and Mexico/Central America. They learn about factors that influence the choices people made, and build on previously introduced geography skills while learning how to use a compass rose, keys, and symbols to interpret maps. Students are engaged in a reforestation project as part of the Service Learning component of the curriculum. Meets three times a week.
In second grade, students learn a variety of concepts and complex phrases through literature, songs, games, videos, and conversation. They have the opportunity to write and read as well as the opportunity to create their own sentences by combining simple words. The concepts to be learned are related to the students’ daily activities and their community as they become more comfortable and familiar with practice. Topics include: school, subjects in school, likes and dislikes, the city, the country, transportation, house, clothing, and vocabulary to talk about themselves and other people. Students develop an appreciation for diversity as they learn about different cultures. Geography, food, music, dances, arts and crafts, holidays, costumes, and traditions of different Spanish-speaking countries are incorporated into the program through the study of Mexico and Central America Spanish-speaking countries. This 30-minute class meets daily.
Early in the year, students work on laptop computers equipped with a wireless network in order to hone their word processing skills and learn to use a file server. To support what they are learning in various subject areas, students also master simple search techniques on the web. By the spring, students are using software programs such as HyperStudio and Virtual Manipulatives. They also use online resources for various projects and assignments. Meets once a week, with additional time scheduled as needed.
In the second grade Wellness program proper nutrition and staying active are examined. Students also use hands-on-activities to learn about germs and the importance of going to the doctor. The program also features role-playing to promote healthy relationships on the playground and playing field all the while demonstrating cooperative play to help students handle successes and disappointments.