Our 2nd and 3rd Grades are housed together in a lively green building on our lower campus. Mixed age groups allow for a wider social network and an exchange of enormously creative ideas, as 2nd and 3rd Graders go about their learning and playing.
The goal of 2nd Grade Language Arts is to develop students’ ability to use language for information and understanding, for literary response and expression, for critical analysis and evaluation, and for social interaction. Reading lessons focus on comprehension, fluency, and strategies for decoding. Independent reading books lead to shared joy over favorite books. In Writer’s Workshop, students discover the pleasures of writing and sharing a story, along with the necessary skills of editing, and spelling high frequency words. We write to real life authors and illustrators, make class books, share work from the author’s chair, and write to penpals.
Our Social Studies curriculum takes us back in time for studies of Ancient Rome, Greece, and Egypt. Using the six lenses of culture students come to understand that all cultures share the same basic characteristics. Students also build on their basic map skills; they use, read, and create maps, and master geographical terms. Culminating projects include creating a living museum open to the entire campus and parent community, and epic feast days (in costume). Field trips include the Albany Institute of History and Art to visit the mummies and to the SUNY New Paltz Planetarium for star shows.
Major topics in Singapore Math for 2nd Grade include multi-digit subtraction and addition, metric and U.S. customary measurement systems, and whole number place value. We use math games, mental math exercises, and journal writing to enhance our daily lessons, practice and review skills, develop problem-solving skills, and reinforce concepts. Our emphasis is on learning to use a variety of problem-solving strategies so that students have multiple means of attacking mathematics (and other!) problems.
The focus of study for 2nd Grade science is on the life sciences. Through a hands-on study of plants — their parts, their needs, and their life cycles — students learn about the importance of plants to life on Earth. Putting their studies into action, 2nd Graders take primary responsibility for the plants in the greenhouse. They also identify and classify plants and trees in the forest on campus. To give them a more global perspective, we investigate tropical rainforests and all their inhabitants. This year concludes with studies of the human body and its systems.
In Spanish, students learn language through songs, games, and children’s literature. They make greetings and introductions. They acquire knowledge of topics like colors, body parts, shapes, seasons, weather, clothings, animals, numbers, telling time, and feelings.
In equal measure, 2nd Graders continue their exploration of the arts and movement. Each week, they spend time in our art room, continue their study of violin, learn rhythms and songs in music class, learn cooperative games and sports in Physical Education, and listen rapt to our librarian as she reads aloud to them. 2nd Graders also participate in our annual drum and dance residency and in our drama residency, rehearsing and performing an original play during a Friday Gathering. Weekly time with their older buddies rounds out a week of exploring, learning, and creating.