Second grade teacher with two students observing tree features

Grade 2 Curriculum

Second grade students apply what they have learned about the meanings of letters and numbers to more complex challenges and to further develop their analytical abilities. They are eager to look outside themselves, compare their experiences to others, and discover the broader world. Second grade students learn about animals, the environment, and the Earth’s resources. Opportunities for community service harness their emerging planning skills and their eagerness to help others and influence their world. They earn more responsibility to resolve conflicts and demonstrate themselves as integral to the classroom community.

Program Highlights

  • Continent studies
  • Endangered animals research
  • Class play
  • School garden
  • Folktales and fables
  • Year-long service learning project for Gaining Ground
  • Community building activities
  • French vocabulary
  • Change-makers unit
  • Math lunch

Specialist Time

  • French once a week for 30 minutes
  • Art studio once a week for 45 minutes
  • Music once a week for 30 minutes
  • Theater arts once a week for 45 minutes
  • Woodworking once a week for 45 minutes
  • Physical education three times a week for 30 minutes
  • Library once a week for 30 minutes

Grade 2 Subjects

  • Language Arts

    Creating independent readers and instilling a love of reading and literature are primary goals in second grade. Our reading program is literature-based, using leveled texts. Small group instruction focuses on developing sight words, sound-symbol knowledge, decoding and encoding skills and comprehension strategies. By the end of second grade, students progress from learning to read to reading to learn.

    Students begin to see themselves as authors who can write confidently, clearly, and creatively. Writing workshops begin with mini-lessons on grammar, mechanics, or style. Students learn how to plan and draft a story, how to have a writing conference with a teacher or a classmate, how to edit and revise, and how to produce a final piece of writing.


    Our second grade students will:

    • understand the concept of a sentence and a story
    • identify and use phonic generalizations appropriately
    • use context clues to help decode and understand meaning of text
    • self-correct when comprehension is compromised
    • recognize sight words in the environment and in text
    • retell text with accuracy and detail
    • organize and sequence events
    • identify and summarize main ideas
    • identify supporting details
    • predict outcomes
    • define new vocabulary through context clues
    • draw conclusions
    • differentiate fact from opinion
    • work on making inferences
    • understand story structure: setting, main character, goal, problem, solution, and resolution
    • understand cause and effect
    • compare and contrast information
    • recognize style


    Our second grade students will:

    • contribute to class experience charts
    • write using standard uppercase and lowercase letter forms
    • use sound/symbol correspondences to write words in phonetic spelling
    • write increasingly complex sentences
    • write ideas in a meaningful sequence
    • use the strategies of the writing process such as planning, drafting, revising, and editing
    • share writing and receive feedback
    • incorporate suggestions from peers and teachers in their writing
    • add fiction writing to their writing genre repertoire
    • demonstrate an understanding of the process involved in writing research papers

    Speaking and Listening

    Our second grade students will:

    • demonstrate clear and logical reasoning through oral expression
    • develop appropriate articulation and modulation
    • develop a confidence to speak in a variety of situations
    • develop appropriate ways to interact and communicate with others
    • listen respectfully to others
    • respond meaningfully in conversation
    • follow multi-step verbal instructions
    • recall specific information

  • Math
    A boy works on a hands-on math activity

    The second grade mathematics curriculum creates mathematical thinkers who love to solve problems, riddles, and challenges. They know that mathematics is more than arithmetic although they also delight in computational proficiency. Our program is designed to help our students understand the utility, practicality and attraction of mathematics. Our students love to engage in mathematical thinking, one of their favorite activities is to verify their estimations by using many computational strategies to find precise answers. Topics of study include time, money, standard measurement, multi-digit addition and subtraction, geometry, and an introduction to multiplication, division, and fractions.

    Our second grade students will:

    • understand, read, and write increasingly large numbers
    • have facility with addition and subtraction facts
    • employ multiple effective strategies for computation such as decomposing, landmark numbers, and open number lines
    • skip count beginning with random numbers
    • look for, recognize, and create patterns and relationships
    • understand the structure of place value
    • collect, organize, represent, and describe data
    • solve and create story problems involving computation and logical thinking
    • confidently explain mathematical thinking and relationships
    • attend optional math challenge lunches

  • Social Studies
    A small group of students works on a writing project

    The social studies curriculum is designed to give students an understanding of an individual’s social responsibility within a community. The program gives students an opportunity to explore heroes in history and notable figures who have worked to make positive changes in the world. The students are introduced to geography through the study of continents and mapping skills. Together they foster a knowledge and appreciation for different world cultures and lifestyles.

    Our second grade students will:

    • identify, classify, and differentiate among a range of landforms, countries, and cities
    • utilize a variety of maps such as transit, weather, and geographical to gather information
    • develop mapping skills: scale, keys, and direction
    • identify positive behaviors and values of leaders and heroes
    • apply and practice research skills including familiarity with a variety of nonfiction sources
    • learn to use primary, secondary and electronic sources
    • compare and contrast cultures, customs, and celebrations around the world

  • Science

    Second grade students take full advantage of the Belmont Day School garden where they utilize the scientific method: prediction, observation, analysis, and conclusion to increase their knowledge of the natural world. Their explorations also take them into an extensive study of water: the water cycle, uses and properties of liquid and frozen water, and the protection of this natural resource. Research skills, including note taking, drawing, labeling, categorizing, summarizing, theorizing, and drawing conclusions are introduced through the extended research project on endangered animals.

    Our second grade students will:

    • begin a study of a new area of science by generating a list of questions to answer and information already known
    • record experiments, observations, and theories about evaporation, condensation, freezing/melting, surface tension, and water pressure
    • know about the recovery efforts and organizations that support endangered species
    • use research skills to complete a research project
    • formally present information to the class
    • know the characteristics of animals
    • use science tools with confidence
    • record and interpret scientific data

  • World Language

    At Belmont Day exposure to world languages begins in pre-kindergarten. The students have a variety of informal language experiences in the classroom based on languages spoken by members of the classroom community. Once a week, students are also introduced to French through puppets, songs, poems, and games. From pre-kindergarten to second grade, the emphasis is on developing oral skills.

    The topics are revisited and broadened each year, and include:

    • greetings and civilities
    • expressing moods, needs, and feelings
    • numbers
    • colors
    • shapes
    • foods
    • family members
    • animals
    • body parts
    • days, months, and seasons
    • weather expressions
    • prepositions
    • action verbs, including classroom directions
    • geography of France (three main towns, bordering countries)

    Students develop their aural skills and notice patterns, similarities, and grammar through learning songs and poems. They learn to play games as a group, then in partners, practicing their social skills in French.

  • Visual Arts

    Students in second grade continue to explore a wide variety of materials and processes. As they engage in visual expression, students learn about artistic concepts such as color, shape, texture, contrast, form, and pattern. They draw, sculpt, paint, print, and combine materials to create two and three-dimensional artworks. Self-expression and connections between visual art, nature, daily life, other artists, and cultures are explored as students design and develop their artworks.

    Artists construct their own sketchbooks in which they draw from observation and imagination. Student art making experiences also include combining materials to create sculptures and other artworks connected to classroom curriculum related to social studies and science, printing to create repeated imagery, painting to create imagery and designs that are combined to create new artworks, and learning about different artists and cultures that inspire their textile artworks.

    Past second grade projects include:

    • watercolor weaving
    • constructing ceramic sculptures
    • illustrating bookmarks connected to social studies
    • papier mache local wild animals
    • resist painting fabric kimonos inspired by the Yuzen dyers
    • painting scenery for class performing arts production

  • Music
    Two students and their violins in music class

    The second grade music program is organized into units that introduce students to specific skills such as beat, dance, note reading, performance, musical styles, the role of the conductor, and singing alone and with others. The heart of all music classes includes a core period of group and solo singing. The units and class time also allow students to explore their natural curiosity and love of music.

    Our second grade students will:

    • Learn how to play open strings with pizzicato on violin and cello
    • Read beginning basic notation (such as quarter notes, quarter rests, eighth notes, treble and bass clefs, and open string notes)
    • Perform violin accompaniment to folk songs using pizzicato for the Winter Concert
    • Learn how to play recorder with proper embouchoure
    • Listen and learn about various instruments such as oboe, saxophone and clarinet from guest artists
    • Learn how to play ukulele with proper strumming patterns, individual string plucking
    • Learn how to play drums through call and response
    • Improve vocal technique and develop tone through vocal warm-ups and exercises
    • Listen and study music from various cultures

  • Theater Arts
    A student on stage

    In second grade students build on the fundamental skills of theatricality they acquired in first grade. They learn how to become more confident speakers, how to better control their vocal projection and stage diction, and practice additional microphone techniques for assistance on the stage. Through the use of drama games, creative movement, choreography, puppetry, poetry, and theatrical critique, they continue to expand upon their performing arts skills. In addition, students take part in the first and second grade musical production as the lead performers. They are then tasked to learn lines and lyrics, acquire choreographic moves, and help with the creation of costumes and sets.

    Our second grade students will:

    • hone their ability to memorize
    • demonstrate their understanding of the parts of a theatrical production
    • expand their theatrical vocabulary
    • utilize physical expression techniques (with focus on Edwin Wilson and Alvin Goldfarb methodology)
    • learn more about who William Shakespeare was and delve into his biography
    • use basic improvisation to create dramatic events and characters
    • continue to build their confidence as an orator and presenter

  • Woodworking
    A second grader constructs a model for a woodworking project

    Second graders enter woodworking with the opportunity to build upon their woodworking skills and develop new skills throughout the year. They create wooden people, paddle boats, a “hole in a box,” as well as a wooden figure of their endangered animal. Construction involves accurate measurement, marking and making parts at specific lengths, and use of a miter saw and drill. During class, emphasis is placed on cooperation, the ability to share, and the willingness to offer assistance to peers.

    Our second grade students will:

    • use tools to cut, measure, smooth, join, and finish projects
    • design, draw, and discuss plans for projects
    • recognize and use appropriate terminology
    • identify basic hand tools
    • demonstrate the proper use and care of tools
    • use accurate measuring skills
    • learn techniques for the manipulation of wood to achieve design choices
    • understand the properties of wood
    • demonstrate good safety habits

  • Physical Education

    The second grade physical education program provides the opportunity for students to refine fundamental movement skills. Students engage in sustained physical activity, cooperative play and team building games. They participate in various movement activities including dribbling, striking, rolling, shooting, tag games, playground games, and games that promote positive group dynamics.

    Our second grade students will:

    • perform locomotor and nonlocomotor skills proficiently
    • demonstrate more advanced skills in physical activities
    • gain an understanding of rules, regulations, and safety practices
    • work cooperatively with others in team activities

  • Social Competency and Health and Wellness

    The social competency and health and wellness curriculum provides an opportunity for students to learn about structures and importance of community, personal relationships, and healthy individual choices.

    Our second grade students will:

    • understand the elements of positive social skills: cooperation, assertion, responsibility, self-control, and empathy
    • recognize that there are similarities and differences in people in terms of needs, emotions, and cultures
    • respect and care for their body
    • demonstrate connection to community members through the use of respectful language, actions, and attitudes
    • create and follow classroom rules
    • share helpful and positive feedback
    • include one another in activities and play
    • demonstrate an understanding of personal space
    • learn to work well in small and large groups
    • recognize the need for adult intervention when problem solving
    • learn about friendships: healthy relationships, name-calling, labeling and stereotypes
    • understand the human lifecycle
    • be increasingly capable of self-reflection

    Topics of study:

    Social Competency

    • Getting to know one another
    • Classroom rules
    • Building community
    • Discovering our commonalities
    • Being a good listener
    • Nonverbal signals
    • Body language
    • Calming down
    • What to do when you feel angry
    • Speaking up
    • Interviewing
    • Giving and receiving compliments
    • Including one another
    • Personal space
    • Cooperating with one another
    • When to tell a responsible adult
    • When to deal with situations yourself
    • Teasing
    • Making mistakes
    • Leadership skills
    • Role playing
    • Friendship
    • Showing respect for one another
    • Understanding feeling words

    Health & Wellness

    • Human life cycle: elderly
    • Learning about disabilities
    • Friendship
    • Family

  • Information Literacy and Technology

    In second grade, the librarian works closely with the classroom teachers to familiarize students with a variety of research tools and databases available to them both at school and at home. Skill-based information literacy lessons introduce the students to the research process as well as particular databases. The students begin to use these tools when learning about a change-maker as well as during their in-depth research project on endangered species. Second graders discuss books ranging from trickster tales to the recipients of literary awards during their weekly visit the library when they also have an opportunity to borrow books to take home.

    Our second grade students will:

    • gather information from several sources
    • find, organize, and present information based on research
    • navigate online research tools and understand that we use different tools for different purposes
    • understand that there are awards for quality literature
    • appreciate the different uses of humor in stories
    • extract and communicate the meaning of text and illustrations in picture books, both fiction and nonfiction
    • follow process for library checkout and return
    • identify common patterns and themes in fables, folktales, and fairytales
    • locate and select fiction and nonfiction resources with help
    • make connections with the elements of a story—plot, main characters, and setting
    • navigate a table of contents and index
    • restate main idea and important facts from a text heard or read
    • select and use books for recreational reading and information
    • use key word skills in note taking, skimming, and print/online

Our Teachers

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