Grade 2 Curriculum
Students learn to take pleasure in their emerging mastery of reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. In Grade 2, children grow in their ability to work independently in all areas of language arts. They improve their word attack skills using phonics and contextual clues and their structural analysis, all through reading activities. Through the use of children's literature, they grow to appreciate reading for pleasure and for information. Writing activities continue to focus on progressive skills of grammar, punctuation, and spelling, and on creative expression. The writing process is formalized through the use of drafts, peer and self-editing, conferencing, and publishing. Students write journals, research papers, stories, autobiographies, and poetry. Students engage in many dramatic arts activities including reading, writing, and performing plays. Print is reviewed and cursive handwriting is introduced.
The math program incorporates computation, real world problem solving, reasoning, communication, and connections in mathematics. Children explore geometric shapes, fractions, measurement, time, and the mathematical relationships of numbers through hands-on learning using manipulative materials, games, and paper and pencil assignments. They master the concepts and operations of addition and subtraction with regrouping, which leads them into an understanding of multiplication as repeated addition.
Students work on problem solving individually and in cooperative groups. They are encouraged to be aware of how they arrive at their solutions. IXL, a computerized program utilized in the classroom, advances students at an individualized pace, which allows both remediation and enrichment.
In social studies, study is focused on learning about New York City. Students explore many aspects of present-day New York City, such as neighborhoods and the five boroughs. They compare and contrast rural and urban communities. Beginning map skills are introduced. Students then move back in history to the New York of long ago, specifically during the Lenape and the New Amsterdam eras. Explorers of the region are introduced; lifestyles of the Lenape and the Dutch are explored, contrasted, and compared. Students utilize discussion, films, trips, readings, drama, and special projects as they begin their first exploration of the historical past.
The Grade 2 students continue supporting their language arts curriculum in the library and engage in playwriting and theater production with a main-stage production in the school auditorium for the entire school. The piece is developed through the social studies and language arts curriculum.
The science curriculum in Grade 2 incorporates both physical and life sciences. Students focus on scientific literacy and processes, using age-appropriate activities. Our hands-on program combines units such as magnetism, life cycles, the solar system, and birds. As part of the life science sequence, students learn how to observe and record the behavior of wild animals. Using birds as their experimental subjects, students practice setting up investigations, analyzing the results, and drawing conclusions. Children use models and drama to simulate the movement of the planets and stars. In this way, abstract concepts such as what causes day and night are made clear. Students complete they year by comparing the life cycles of different organisms and conducting investigations to determine the needs of these organisms at each stage.
Grade 2 French is a year for children to grow even more as French speakers. They are eager to speak in front of their classmates and love to participate in daily routines such as telling the date, the day, and the weather. They continue to use French in games, songs, TPR (total physical response) stories and activities, and thematic units. Topics are those that are pertinent to their everyday lives, such as family, friends, weather, clothing, hobbies, and food, as well as traditions and culture of countries in the French-speaking world.
In addition to clay, watercolor, and tempera paints, students explore various art techniques and traditions by experimenting with collage, wax resist, printmaking, and simple papermaking. Students work on projects that are related to other aspects of their academic program. The emphasis in Grade 2 is on enhancing the handling of materials.
Students develop a strong sense of musical self-worth and music skills. Singing is a skill for everyone to acquire. Classroom activities employ a variety of musical styles, performing utilizing Orff and other percussion instruments; composing; and improvising. Traditional pitch notation is introduced and Kodaly hand signals are also used for reinforcement. Music is coordinated with other areas of the curriculum, including incidental music for class presentations or plays.
Students acquire ball skills, learn about and implement physical fitness concepts, and learn how to lead and be part of a team. They study basic game strategies and units on soccer, basketball, floor hockey, volleyball, and gymnastics. Students will also increase their personal level of fitness and agility. They will study tae bo, pilates, yoga, and dance. Students use the climbing wall and engage in activities that reinforce movement awareness concepts and skills.
Students explore the world of fiction and non-fiction, making independent and guided selections for borrowing. They learn about the Dewey Decimal System, and they continue to study the way books are organized in the library. Students are exposed to the library online catalogue. In addition to the mechanics of the library, students discuss the different aspects and the message of a story through a variety of library activities. Activities may include reader’s theater and discovering genres and authors through book talks and book shares.
Students in Grade 2 are younger partners of students in Grade 6. They meet every two weeks for educational and social activities. The Partners Program provides an opportunity for older and younger children to develop strong and lasting relationships. It offers early experiences in service to others and contributes to the strong sense of community across all grades that is characteristic of St. Luke’s School.
Younger students use technology in the classroom with their teachers. iPads, Smartboards, and desktop computers are designed to be used to enhance cross-curricular activities. Morning meetings and Mathletics are examples of activities where students use technology to support their learning.
Children read and listen to a variety of myths, legends, and stories from religions around the world. They reflect on the eternal qualities of love, compassion, and self-giving presented in story and image, and explore the human experience of the divine through sacred writings, stories, myths, and parables from the five major world religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism.
Beginning in Grade 2, students attend Chapel two times a week: Junior Chapel and Thursday Eucharist. The aim is to affirm and nurture all students in their spiritual life and to strengthen their connection to their own religious tradition. The Book of Common Prayer provides the basis of Chapel services. Thursday Eucharist includes non-sectarian prayers and birthday blessings in the context of Episcopal ritual. In all, the Episcopal concept of “common prayer” celebrates the diversity of religious tradition and experiences among faculty, students, and staff.
All the Lower School classes, Junior Kindergarten through Grade 4, attend a morning meeting on Fridays, called Mentions. Children share news, celebrate talents and interests, and learn about community and current events at a developmentally appropriate level.
The Lower School dance program explores dance and movement as a non-verbal form of communication. It encourages students to express themselves through structured and creative movement. The dance program helps to develop an appreciation for different genres of dance. Students attend dance once a week in the Archive building.
While continuing to build on concepts learned in Grade 1, students will explore basic choreography skills, eventually making their own, unique movement phrases. The children will learn how to listen to music to find the pulse and to understand how to fit movements inside the music. The Grade 2 genre focus is on the basic jazz vernacular movements. By the end of the year, students will have learned a choreographed dance.
An extended day program is available with many enrichment classes offered for an additional fee.