Second Grade balances active, hands-on academic and social engagement with quiet reflection.
We push aside the tables of the classroom to build forts, engineer water balloon catapults, imagine and construct a model neighborhood, discover how birds use their beaks, and observe the decomposers in our compost pile. We also sit quietly listening to the mindful bell, spend silent sustained reading out in our garden, and sketch the birds around us.
Second graders push out into the community and bring the outdoors into the classroom. As part of our project time, we read maps as we explore our local neighborhood, visit Toluma farm and bring back baby goats to raise, and we enjoy the produce at the Farmer’s Market as we calculate the miles it traveled.
Learn more about our 2nd Grade curriculum:
Second graders read and study a diverse array of authors trying to understand both the authors’ biographical information and their story development techniques
Applying what they’ve learned, students brainstorm, write, revise, edit and publish their own work. For example, they write small moments, “I Am From” poems, persuasive letters, nonfiction books and short fiction. Second graders share their work with peers daily and with family members during publishing celebrations.
Students read “just right” books independently, meet in small groups and conference one-on-one with the teacher. They learn word-solving strategies, and practice comprehension strategies: making connections, asking questions, inferring and synthesizing text.
As second graders explore fiction and nonfiction, they read like detectives,
examining characters in their series books, and reading for most important information. They talk about books and share their own perspectives constructively by learning how to “piggy back” on someone else’s comments, how to disagree in a respectful manner, and how to go back to the text to support their answers.
Spelling and Grammar
Second graders learn word patterns and features by completing activities such as word sorts, word hunts, games and drawing and labeling.
Students learn grammar in conjunction with other language arts activities. We write letters and learn about commas. We edit our stories and practice punctuation and capitalization.
Handwriting is taught by the method Handwriting Without Tears method, which uses a simple, continuous, vertical stroke that is easy to learn. The continuous stroke style prevents reversals and prepares children with a smooth transition to cursive.
Second graders are problem solvers who learn to communicate mathematically and explain their thinking.
In Second Grade, students develop their number sense, deepen their understanding of place value and become flexible thinkers. Students learn strategies for math facts to 20 and use their understanding of place value and math facts to solve more complex problems. They learn to:
Swap numbers (92+9 becomes 99+2)
Split tens and ones (57 +33 becomes 50+30 and 7+3)
Use compensation (84-19 becomes 85-20)
Students also apply math in the real world: creating a store for a fundraiser, going shopping at the farmer’s market and measuring the distance their water balloons fly.
As new concepts are introduced, mathematical learning is supported by the use of manipulatives (such as hundreds boards, cubes, and numbers lines) allowing students to grow from a concrete to a more abstract understanding of numbers. Advanced problem solving and other extensions are offered to those who finish early or who have mastered a concept.
Project Time (Science & Social Studies)
Project Time units are our interdisciplinary approach to science and social studies. There are set units of study. However, we are also responsive to the interests of each group of students and some areas of focus emerge dynamically each year from the students themselves.
Students explore the role of community members in a neighborhood and what impact they can have on safety, beauty, and accessibility. They build a model neighborhood, role-play different scenarios, go on several walking field trips and engage in several service learning projects in the Portola neighborhood.
Students explore force, friction, gravity and the mechanics of simple machines. Students make models of inclined planes, pulleys, levers, wheels and axles, and wedges. The unit culminates with a week of fort building, incorporating all these simple machines.
We learn about local birds, their habitats, nests, physical features, and migration patterns. We explore wings and the mechanics of flight, examine maps to better understand migratory patterns, and study some of the symbiotic relationships they have with their surroundings. Each student studies one local bird in depth and compiles their understanding into a book.
Where Our Food Comes From
Students compare the difference between locally and mass produced foods. They learn when foods are available in the Bay Area and trace the path food takes to arrive at our tables.