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Second Grade focuses on solidifying concepts and skills learned in previous grades. Within this review students are able to extend understanding by investigating each discipline using a specific, individualized approach. These disciplines are integrated as much as possible within an overall theme of New York City.
Each year second graders experience, painting, printmaking, and collage and create a 3D sculpture using clay, wood or papier mache. While the specific projects may change from year to year, they are designed to focus on developmentally appropriate skills and to inspire curiosity as well as a love of art. The focus of the Second Grade social studies curriculum, New York City, serves as inspiration for many art projects throughout the year. Awareness of composition and perspective are stressed as students create paintings and collages of cityscapes while learning about foreground, background, and horizon line. After observing their surroundings and examining works by Harlem Renaissance artist and writer Romare Beardon and Ashcan School painter Edward Hopper, students build a multi-medium skyline using paint, pastel and collage. Students enjoy the multi-step process of printmaking and find it rewarding. They draw an image, transfer and engrave it into Styrofoam plates, and then go through the process of creating multicolor prints using ink, brayers, and barrens. Each year we do at least one in-depth artist study. In the past we have studied, Calder, Klimt, and Louise Nevelson to name a few.
In Second Grade, the focus shifts to written Hebrew. Students review how to form their letters and learn the script equivalent; once they have mastered script, they are expected to use it in their own writing. Students review and study vowels and the rules governing them. Students examine simple sentence structure and craft their own sentences. They learn the rules governing masculine and feminine nouns. They also learn the plural forms of verbs. Verb use is confined to the present tense, with an increasing number of verbs to be mastered. Pronouns are introduced as well as the construction for “I am in/I am not home” and proper placement of nouns and adjectives. Bridges are made to topics studied in Jewish Studies.
Second Grade focuses on the Torah and the many blessings that are part of Jewish sacred text. Students dive into a study of Breisheit that engages students in the narrative, but that also asks students to read closely and to ask questions. Students review the brachot they have learned thus far and examine the structure of a blessing, both in Hebrew and in English. They contemplate the meaning of prayers and examine their role in the liturgy. Second graders give a d’var brachot that centers on blessings including; blessings for what God gives us, blessings asking for help, and blessings of thankfulness for what we have. They learn about the morning blessings and blessings that are specifically related to Israel. At the end of the year, students participate in a Shavuot Torah assembly that summarizes their yearlong study of Torah. Jewish ethics are tied to classroom rules as well as learned through text.
The Second Grade language arts classes participate in guided, shared and independent reading activities during regularly scheduled reading periods and throughout the rest of the school day. The decoding and comprehension skills introduced during these periods address the needs of each student, or group of students, ultimately reinforcing and supporting the unique course of their reading development. Materials for these sessions are selected according to the skill being taught, as well as the interests and reading levels of the students involved. Genre studies are also introduced throughout the year and are connected to the writing curriculum.
Writers Workshop is a favorite period in Second Grade classrooms. During workshop time, children explore the process of taking a writing idea from its original seed form to a complete, published piece. Each workshop period begins with a mini-lesson that focuses on writing craft, structure, or genre. When the lesson is over, the children apply the knowledge gained to their own work. Students organize and create their own written pieces and also conference with teachers and peers regularly. One the highlights of the year is the Expert Expo where students showcase their knowledge of non-fiction content and structure.
Students solidify their understanding of phonics rules and begin to apply spelling rules in their own writing. Students continue to practice their handwriting both through discrete exercises as well as in their daily work.
Librarians present literature that integrates elements or the broader curriculum as well as Jewish values and tradition. Librarians’ suggestions, book talks and comprehensive reading lists encourage reading at different levels throughout the year. Second-grade fluency skills include reading motivation, selecting resources to meet individual and information purposes, learning strategies for transitioning into chapter books, learning to search for books in the library catalog and understanding appropriate library behavior in a shared environment. Librarians also teach media literacy, including the building blocks of good digital citizenship.
Students continue to develop and deepen their number sense. They use strategies such as doubling and compensation to build fluency of addition and subtraction facts. They understand number relationships and ways to represent numbers and number systems. They can select the appropriate algorithm to solve a problem and identify the place value of two, three and four digit numbers. Students collect,interpret and represent data in multiple forms. In geometry, students recognize, name, draw, and sort both 2D and 3D figures. Students learn the components: sides, vertex, face, and edge and work with the concepts of transformations and symmetry. By the end of the year, students can find the perimeter of basic two-dimensional shapes. Students can tell time to the quarter hour and in five-minute intervals, measure length in inches and centimeters, and understand the value of coins and bills. Students continue to estimate and make predictions using basic probability. Initial algebraic concepts include forming inequalities and analyzing change on a number line.
Students develop general movement skills, fundamental game and sports concepts and social awareness through group activities. As the program and the children progress, each of these areas becomes increasingly specialized. Specific goals in Second Grade include adding more complex skills, rules and games and introducing fitness activities, cooperative games and games of low organization. Children also play introductory games for sports, such as basketball, kickball and soccer.
The curriculum includes life science, physical science and earth sciences. The year begins with a life science unit in which students create a controlled experiment using pea plants after reviewing the anatomy of a plant and its requirements for growth. Students also observe the life cycle of the mealworm and learn the four stages of its development. The physical science unit begins with electricity, specifically, current and static electricity. Students learn through experimentation and reading nonfiction. The second part of the physical science curriculum concerns magnetism. Students then turn to their health unit on oral and dental hygiene. The year concludes with earth science, and students learn about New York City waterways and landforms as they examine topographic maps. Trips to Riverside Park and Central Park complement students’ understanding of local land formations.
New York City is the focus of the Second Grade social studies curriculum. Children begin the year by defining community. Using this foundation, students begin to investigate the city around them and the elements that make it unique. This investigation specifically targets learning more about the five boroughs. Through research and class field trips, students learn about specific neighborhoods and then create their own ideal neighborhood, which they display in the grade’s New Neighborhoods Exhibit. As the year closes, second grade students begin to look at the characteristics of New York State to prepare for the transition to Third Grade.
Located in New York City, Rodeph Sholom School is a coeducational nursery through eighth grade Reform Jewish independent school.
10 West 84th Street and 168 West 79th Street · New York, NY 10024