Gary Paulsen is one of our favorite author's and he said it best when he said, "We read like wolves." In second grade we read to learn, we read to ask questions, we read to figure our life's lessons, we read for pleasure. Students are free to choose different genres that interest them. Choice is a big part of learning to love reading. In our daily reading curriculum we will always start with a minilesson reading strategy such as exploring character development. We also have a shared chapter book time where we all read the same book with everyone having a copy in which they learn to track, learn the joy of a chapter books, notice the elements of reading, and make sense out of life's lessons buried within every chapter. Last of all--everyone has their own book bag in which "Just Right Books" are ready for independent reading time. Conferencing with me is a way of assessing skills and which of the "Big Five" areas of reading need work. ( Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Fluency, Comprehension, and Vocabulary.) Each student keeps a Reading Notebook where skills are noted, strategies given, running records taken, and personal connections to stories recorded.
One of the Big Five components of Reading is phonics and phonemic awareness. This goal is met with a comprehensive Spalding Spelling Program. Children learn the 70 most used phonograms in the English languages and then apply them to spelling words which then transfer to skills in written communication throughout their lives. Each child keeps a Spelling Notebook and learns 20 new spelling words each week. We create our own spelling books throughout the year. We learn the rules to the English language, such as why are there so many silent final e's in words? We also teach that penmanship matters. Daily lessons and hints are practiced throughout the year in manuscript with a wonderful surprise during the month of May--a taste of cursive before third grade! It is really better than Christmas!
Second graders love writing about their own life experiences. We call that "Memoir." Notice the first two letters of "Memoir" -- "ME." That's what we write about in our classroom. We start with a book such as Cythia Rylant's book "When I was Young in the Mountains" and we make connections to our own life. We also have minilessons as to what we notice in what famous writers do in their books and then we invision how that might look in our own real writing. A minilesson might be how we could use a repeating word throughout our piece, or did our story have an "Explode a Moment" to capture the attention of our audience. Never a day goes by that we don't remind about correct capitalization, punctuation, sentence structure, and question "Does it make sense?" We publish on our bulletin board for the world to enjoy and make a treasured portfolio that is worth more than gold, silver, diamonds, rubies, or platinum!
We teach Saxon Math curriculum. Saxon Math encourages number sense, with hands-on manipulatives and mental math. This enables children to develop a solid foundation in all basic concepts of mathematics. Children are asked to memorize all the addition and subtraction facts to 20. They will be able to pass a 60 problem timed addition and subtraction facts test in 4 minutes with 80% accuracy by April. We encourage parent support and help at home. Knowing these facts will make each second grader successful in adding and subtracting 2 and 3 digit numbers with and without regrouping.
Throughout the year, intertwined within our Reading and Writing Units, we will learn about maps, time-limes, our country's heritage and important symbols, our money, wants versus needs, and so much more.
August/September - Civics and Government - Reasons for Holidays, Our Country's Symbols, The Constitution, Political Leaders, Responsibilities, Being a Good Citizen
October/November - Economics - Saving Money, Consumers versus Producers, Wants versus Needs, Natural, Human, and Capital Resources
December/January - American History - Important Events, Looking to the Past, Native Americans, Colonial Times
February/March - Geography - Maps, Environment, Settlements, Regions and Places, Characteristics
Alternating with Social Studies, and intertwined within our Reading and Writing Units, we will learn about the Inquiry Process, Life Science, Physical Science, Earth and Space.
August/September/October - Weather and the Inquiry Process
November/December/January - States of Matter and the Inquiry Process
February/March/April - Butterflies and the Inquiry Process
April/May - Breath, Blood, Guts and the Inquiry Process
*The Inquiry Process is taught throughout the year because it is the the process of creating, asking, and answering questions to help you learn and discover more about a topic.