Second grade is the Golden Gate of Lower School. It bridges the foundational skills learned in grades K – 1 with the more developed thinking and application skills used in grades 3 – 4. It’s also exceptionally fun.
The first thing you notice when you walk the second grade hallway is that it’s lined with kids’ self-portraits. The pictures signify that each child is unique, and each child matters. Look closer and you’ll see that each hand holds a clothes pin. Throughout the year, as we put lots of student writing and artwork on display, kids are also learning, “My voice matters. I have something important to say.”
A centerpiece of second grade is the much-anticipated bird unit. It’s deep, sustained learning at its best. The work begins with the conventions of non-fiction writing: table of contents, index, glossary. From there, students delve into general research. They assimilate new vocabulary such as “molt,” “preen,” and “incubation” and practice note-taking by studying feathers, eggs, and migration. Then the creativity begins! Every student chooses a species of bird for an individual research and writing assignment, culminating in a book that he or she writes, edits, and illustrates. The grand finale is a celebratory book reading and signing for the 80 authors and their parents.
But there’s so much more to the second grade curriculum than robins and wrens. Students grow as mathematicians by seeing, doing, and talking math. In Social Studies, they explore their personal identity with a rich cultural heritage unit that includes a family crest and research on their family’s country of origin. Even the fishing field trip has a strong curricular component: Kids are creating, collecting, and analyzing data in a memorable mash-up of science and math.
Our students’ critical thinking is growing right alongside their independence. They are getting ready to make a big leap.