Learning Concepts and Goals for Second Grade
At Temple Beth Sholom Innovative School, the focus of our philosophy is anchored in emergent learning — we value being responsive to children’s interests, thus creating meaningful learning experiences. This way of teaching and planning of curriculum is developed in a collaborative, child-centered, and developmentally appropriate way. Learning habits and academic milestones are embedded and fostered. We believe that academic growth rests upon a positive foundation of social and emotional development. Classroom community is developed and strengthened through meetings and discussions — through such discourse, learners authentically witness, firsthand, the value of multiple perspectives. We believe this not only enhances children’s understanding of themselves as learners but also fosters their being flexible, empathetic and active members of a learning community. The goals of our academic program are to offer learners opportunities to: solve problems, access information, think creatively and present information to others.
Literacy: Reading, Writing and Word Study
Reading, writing, and word study skills and concepts are taught explicitly and practiced each day. In second grade, the emphasis shifts to more complex decoding skills and more sophisticated comprehension skills. The books evolve to take on more nuanced characters/traits and situations and exciting plots. We expect the children to share and express their thinking and specific ideas about their reading in both verbal and written form. Second graders will write in a variety of genres and deepen their understanding of the writing process: generating ideas, drafting, revising, editing and publishing. Children share their stories, thoughts and wonderings, enabling them to develop their own voice as they grow as readers and writers. Teachers introduce diverse mentor texts to inspire their students’ developing writing styles. The second grade literacy program also focuses on writing mechanics, punctuation, grammar, and capitalization. Spelling concepts advance to more complex patterns and syllable types; students’ sight-word repertoire expands as they continue to commit such words to memory.
Second graders begin the year reviewing counting big numbers and number sequence. They learn to recognize and identify coins and their values. Learners will review place value, focusing on how written numerals are representations of a base-ten number system. Learners develop fluency with addition facts and associated subtraction facts over the course of the year. To build a foundation for multiplication, students build and model multiplicative situations that involve the accumulation of equal groups. Learners observe and describe attributes of two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes. Work with fractions is directly related to geometry. Learners study measurement in a variety of contexts. Second grade learners use Venn diagrams, bar graphs, line plots and other visual representations to investigate data. Our curriculum urges learners to think mathematically by creating an environment where “students are doing, thinking, and talking about significant mathematics.”
Learners engage in deep studies around the social studies arc “Florida, Settling the Land.” As learners study different ecosystems in Florida, they develop many social skills, including problem solving and collaboration. Learners are guided by the essential questions: “How do different habitats affect ways of life? What is the relationship between Florida geography and Native American settlers?” Learners think deeply about Florida’s diverse habitats. Through this process, learners connect to and empathize with how Florida’s habitats affect people and animals. Learners use knowledge and perspective as they uncover a need the state ecosystems have, and then take constructive and collaborative steps to work toward solutions. Second graders feel empowered that their voice makes a difference. Learners will visit some of Florida’s unique environments to enhance their experiences and understandings.
As learners create theories of understanding during deep studies around the arc “Florida- Settling the Land,” they study the structure and properties of matter; explore interdependent relationships of plants and animals (including humans) in ecosystems; discover processes that shape the Earth, including the role of water; and learn about engineering and design. During the studies and playful inquiry opportunities, learners are given the time and space to ask questions, plan and carry out investigations, and analyze and interpret data based on their observations and questions.
The mission of our Spanish program is to instill a love of language from an early age. Our program is designed to teach students vocabulary, grammar and basic language skills. Our students will also learn to communicate and appreciate the various cultures of the Spanish-speaking world through projects. We will focus on topics such as: my city, the community, and other topics that are part of our emergent learning curriculum. In Hebrew, second graders will demonstrate growth in Hebrew vocabulary, continuing to practice writing and reading Hebrew words, understanding basic Hebrew phrases, and responding in Hebrew to basic questions. They also will read and write Hebrew words especially pertaining to the Jewish holidays.
Second graders investigate mitzvot (commandments, good deeds) within the Torah and hear stories about each week’s Torah reading. The primary goals of this investigation are to understand how mitzvot are appropriate for their life and family and to become aware of their individual responsibility to the Earth and all people. Judaic studies are woven throughout the deep studies.
Second graders learn the importance of warming up before exercising and cooling down by stretching afterwards. Learners follow directions and interact positively with classmates regardless of varying abilities in a physical setting. In Starfit, learners focus on different ways to develop strength, flexibility, agility and coordination. In addition to basic movements and drills learned in kindergarten and first grade, learners are introduced to multiple ways of jumping rope and more intense cardiovascular exercises. In dance, learners increase skills through creating dance movements with partners and in groups. In yoga, learners begin to trust their bodies and build emotional and physical strength. At the JCC, second graders learn the rules and skills needed to play various organized sports with a coach.