Second grade is a time of transition, when students learn to apply and build on the skills learned in kindergarten and 1st grade. They are able to read more fluently and write more prolifically. And because the developmental spurt in 2nd grade happens at different times for different students, we support them to keep moving forward at their own paces.
Our job as teachers and parents is to encourage children to feel comfortable with the things that come easily, but to also support them to work hard in the areas that challenge them. Importantly, we allow them to take responsibility for their own actions as learners and people.
Second graders continue the art history time line, comparing the art and figures of Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Persia. The elements of art; line, shape, pattern, balance, and color are studied in depth through the work of modern artists such as Matisse, Van Gogh, and Seurat. Assignments include drawing from life, learning the techniques of gesture, understanding mass to detail, measuring for proportion, and many others that focus on creating from the imagination.
In 2nd grade, the theme of our lessons is tov bakita u’vabait – good in class and at home. We follow the Tal-Am program, based on the idea that the best learning environment for children is one in which vocabulary and language rules are acquired through a variety of activities that use our five senses. In addition, we explore linguistic patterns using clues such as symbols and color-coding. This way, students develop their Hebrew and heritage literacy in a gradual and spiraled process, building new ideas and concepts based on their previous knowledge. Our students:
Continue to develop a love and excitement for the Hebrew language
Review and master writing Hebrew letters and vowels, both in print and cursive
Improve their reading fluency
Improve their writing skills, including writing sentences that incorporate the rules of the Hebrew language
Enrich their vocabulary and improve their conversational skills
Talmud Torah (text study)
Second graders pursue an in-depth study of the Joseph stories from the end of the book of Bereshit(Genesis) and the life of Moshe in Egypt from the beginning of the book of Shmot (Exodus). To prepare them for the many themes that echo through this saga, students read earlier stories from Genesis about foremothers and forefathers. Together, they summarize the main points of these stories, as well as formulate questions and responses that require inferential thinking. They use chumashim, picture books, oral stories, and slide presentations to bring the texts to life and help them understand the meanings of the stories.
Parashat HaShavuah weekly Torah portion)
Each Friday, students and teachers break from the curriculum to focus on a small section of the weekly Torah portion. Hopefully, students take these lessons with them and share them with their families at dinner that evening.
Second graders review the prayers learned for the siddur ceremony in 1st grade and then build upon their knowledge by mastering the singing of Yotzer Or, Or Chadash, Mi Chamocha, Birkat HaMazon, and the first two sections of the Amidah. A focused unit on Havdalah (the ceremony to close Shabbat) will lead us to a morning of family learning and a community celebration. Students will continue to participate in the school’s weekly rituals of Monday Havdalah, Thursday Tefillah, and Friday Kabalat Shabbat.
The symbols, traditions, and blessings of the chaggim will be studied in preparation for the holidays. Each holiday unit will culminate in a hands-on project to bring our learning to life. For Purim, for example, 2nd graders write and illustrate a giant megillah that is read aloud to the school during our school-wide celebration.
Mitzvot (commandments and value concepts)
Tzedakah (giving justly), ma’achil re’evim (feeding the hungry), bikur cholim (visiting the sick), and hachnasat orchim (welcoming guests) are a few of the mitzvot students focus on during the year. Sometimes our studies lead to activities in the community through field trips. Other times, students bring these mitzvot to life at home with their families. With each mitzvah students explore, they learn the textual basis for the commandment and Rabbinic commentary that helps put the value into action.
Students focus on many of the sights and sounds of four regions in Israel: the upper Galilee, the coast, the Negev, and the Jerusalem area. Through movies, songs, and art projects they learn more about the landscape, the people, and the culture of Israel.
In February, 2nd graders take a journey back to ancient Egypt by touring the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose.
In April, 2nd graders and their families gather for a morning of learning and action. They study the ritual of Havdalah–what it is, why we do it, and how we can make it meaningful for the family. Together, we make the objects required to perform the Havdalah ritual.
Language arts teaches children a variety of strategies that help them grow as readers and writers, learn to communicate with others, and help them make sense of what they read. We hope to instill the desire to become lifelong readers and writers, and to show that a literate person uses language as a tool to communicate about different purposes and to different audiences.
Students are exposed to a variety of genres, such as biographies, folktales, poetry, etc.. We also focus on two author studies of Tomie de Paola and Patricia Polacco. We employ the Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop model, which allows us to further integrate our curricular areas and helps the students develop critical thinking and communication skills.
Building on the math foundation students developed in 1st grade using the Math in Focus curriculum, 2nd graders move on to more complex concepts, including:
Numeracy and routines
Addition and subtraction facts with regrouping to three decimal places
Bar Models, picture and line graphs
Multiplication and division
Metric and U.S. customary measurement
Mass and Volume
Mental math strategies
Time and money
Geometry: lines and surfaces, shapes and patterns
In 2nd grade, begin the year by learning about different styles of music. After that, students begin to learn basic music notation that will allow them to read notes and rhythms on a staff and play and compose small melodies on Orff mallet instruments. Second graders begin to understand form and how patterns affect music in the world. They also learn about musical instruments and their families, including how to identify them by sight and sound.
Students in 2nd through 8th grade can join Hausner’s choir program. Meeting twice a week for 25 minutes during lunch or snack break, students practice in preparation for two performances a year, one before Winter Break and one before Summer Break. There may also be additional performances, as needed, i.e. Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Day. Class includes singing voice warm-ups, learning fun pop tunes to sing for fellow students, and choreography to go along with the tunes. Students with all ability levels are welcome to join in this fun activity!
Second graders practice skills that focus on locomotor development (galloping, hopping, jumping, leaping, running, skipping, sliding, and walking), as well as flexibility and movement exploration (dance and gymnastics). Students strengthen hand-to-eye coordination and spatial awareness by learning skills such as striking an object with precision, overhand/underhand throwing, catching and/or striking a moving object with their hands.
To help with all this development, students participate in a variety of sports, including baseball, basketball, bowling, soccer, and street hockey.
In 2nd grade, students participate in hands-on activities that stimulate curiosity and motivate them to be scientists. Their studies are designed to explore several key learnings, including:
- That all living organisms have adaptations that make them well suited for survival in their habitat/environment.
- That predicting and understanding patterns and systems leads to understanding the physical and natural world.
- That scientists work in systematic ways collecting, recording, interpreting and analyzing information to understand the world.
Second graders explore the seven continents and focus on several unifying elements:
Why people emigrate from one country to another
How people bring their cultures, customs and foods from their home country to a new place
What types of homes and commodities are encountered in different places
How does the geography of each location dictate lifestyle
As each country is explored, students will create a unique representation of their understanding of important facts and qualities of each unit of study employing different modalities (poster, report, visual display, food, craft, or game).
Building on core skills learned or fine-tuned in 1st grade, our 2nd grade technology class helps students develop their word processing, Internet search, programming, and graphics abilities.
Second graders technology classes include:
- Learning to program with Hopscotch and Tickle
- Learning to program with Scratch
- Programming to learn other subjects with Scratch
- Storytelling with stop motion movies and time lapse pictures
- Programming Sphero robots with Tickle
- Using the Book Creator app to support Writer’s Workshop