Most any St. Paul graduate will remember with excitement the second grade Iditarod project, but did they realize it was a multi-disciplinary study that fostered independence while developing technology, math, and language skills?
Welcome to second grade at St. Paul, where students transition toward independent learning under the eye of experienced and loving teachers. Teachers skillfully build each day around whole-group, small-group, and individual activities where students refine reading and math skills and develop higher-order thinking skills. STEM activities are successfully integrated in a dedicated science class and through activities such as exploratory play with Keva Blocks.
Our second graders are active learners, and they love to engage in our special traditions: second graders choose a poem to recite for National Poetry Day, they become experts on Presidents and animals, and they become Pilgrims and Native Americans for the annual Thanksgiving Feast! From these and many other planned and spontaneous learning adventures, our second graders emerge prepared for the excitement and challenge of third grade.
Second grade students are introduced to the major characters and stories of the Old Testament. Also, daily character-growing devotional topics tie in to weekly memory verses. Each day, the class focuses on biblical topics such as the fruit of the spirit, friends, forgiveness, obeying, serving others, and telling the truth. These daily devotions help students grow in their love for others and for the Lord.
In second grade language arts, we continue developing students’ critical thinking skills along with their written expression. Reading comprehension, grammar, spelling, handwriting, and vocabulary development take on a more prominent role as students prepare for the third grade, transitioning from learning to read to reading to learn. Teachers meet with small groups and individuals to instruct and coach students in specific goals for literacy. During “The Daily 5” literacy rotations, students develop the daily habits of reading, writing, and working with peers that will lead to a lifetime of independent literacy. Students write everyday in some form, including responding to reading, writing creatively, creating personal narratives, and writing to inform. Our language arts curriculum introduces students to the building blocks of language and to the grammar rules that guide their use. In our spelling curriculum, students benefit from learning basic spelling patterns in conjunction with decoding patterns. Our quality resources and instructional methods inspire confidence with differentiated materials to personalize instruction for each student.
In second grade children continue using the Everyday Mathematics curriculum to build a solid number sense, mathematical vocabulary, and problem solving. The curriculum is carefully designed to build and expand a student’s mathematical proficiency and understanding. Throughout the Everyday Mathematics curriculum, students are encouraged to explain and discuss their mathematical thinking. Opportunities to verbalize their thoughts and strategies give children the chance to clarify their thinking and gain insights from others. Teachers utilize a variety of methods to build mathematical thinkers. Topics of study include addition and subtraction, money, time, geometry, measurement, fractions, multiplication, and division.
Students explore scientific concepts through hands-on activities both in their homeroom and in weekly classes with the lower school science teacher.
Social Studies in second grade is integrated with the reading curriculum, integrating biographies, historical pieces, and additional non-fiction resources. The We Live Together curriculum gives a framework for the basic themes of Social Studies: communities, geography, an overview of U.S. History, government, and economics. These themes come alive in the project-based learning that takes place at various points in the year. We complete an interactive First Thanksgiving study, a President Project, and follow the Iditarod dog sled race through Alaska (which includes map skills, current events, and technology). Time for Kids is a weekly current events magazine resource geared specifically for classroom use and is always very popular. In addition, students build relevant skills in their weekly World Languages and Cultures co-curricular class.
What is your favorite thing about second grade?
"In second grade it is cool to use computers to type stories and make Kid Pix slideshows."
"My favorite thing in second grade is the marble jar party because it means you are making good choices."
"I love my teacher because she understands me."
THE ADVENTURES OF SECOND GRADE
Follow a musher during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race
Choose a poem to recite for the Second Grade Poetry Recital in April
Choose and learn about an actual pilgrim child who traveled on the Mayflower
Choose a President to research and present a project to the class.
Dress up as a pilgrim or Native American and enjoy a First Thanksgiving feast
Choose an animal and learn about its habitat
Visit Hatcher Family Dairy, The Adventure Science Center, and The Country Music Hall of Fame
Learn what "T.A.S.A.P.I.O" means and how to pass it on
Sculpt, fire, and paint a clay piece in art
Enjoy your last year as a "little buddy" with a graduating 6th grade “big buddy"
... and many more adventures!