Second grade is a year of reinforcement of the fundamental skills acquired in the early years. Through a strong phonics emphasis, we focus on strengthening decoding skills as well as building on the comprehension skills that will be needed as students transition from learning to read to reading to learn.
Mastery of print is the primary focus of handwriting in second grade. Special attention is given to pencil grip and proper letter formation. Mastering these skills in second grade allows them to transition easily into cursive writing in third grade.
We pair the SRA/McGraw Hill’s Imagine It reading program with additional authentic literature. We use the CAFE System as a way of maximizing student understanding of the four key components of successful reading. CAFE is an acronym for Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, and Expanding Vocabulary. By focusing on these four key components and providing strategies to support each goal, the CAFE System is an efficient and effective way to instruct and monitor student progress.
Phonics and Spelling-
Our phonics and spelling program is based on the Orton-Gillingham method. This multi-sensory approach is used throughout the year to build a strong phonics and spelling foundation. Students learn phonetic rules, how to apply them, and how to identify exceptions. Students also learn the process of syllabication in order to read multi-syllabic words accurately.
Our second graders focus on creative writing throughout the year. They learn the steps of the writing process: brainstorming with graphic organizers, writing rough drafts, editing, and publishing. Students learn how to write a paragraph, a friendly letter, research and book reports, biographies, poetry, and much more.
Students learn grammar and sentence structure through Shurley English. This program teaches parts of speech using catchy songs and jingles. This instructional method helps students commit to memory the many rules of the English language.
The foundation of our K-4 mathematics program is Math in Focus, a curriculum focused on problem solving through real-world and hands-on experiences. Students are taught to think critically about math by moving from concrete (manipulatives) to pictorial (bar models) to abstract (formulas/algorithms) learning. To achieve mastery, students will learn the “why” behind each mathematical concept before learning the “how”. The ability to apply knowledge to routine as well as non-routine math problems is an integral part of demonstrating mastery of math concepts.
In second grade, students expand on their knowledge of place value to develop strong number sense as they move to solving more complex problems both mentally and by using standard algorithms. Strategies for solving word problems, time, money, multi-digit addition and subtraction, and single-digit multiplication and division are just a few of the important concepts covered this year.
We believe success in math cannot be achieved without mastery of math facts. Therefore, each grade level has its own expectations for math fact mastery guided by Wesleyan’s Math Matters program. Research shows students who are able to recall math facts quickly free up working memory that can then be devoted to higher-level problem solving.
Our second graders learn about different inventors and inventions with a special focus on transportation. The most popular activity is Famous American Day. Each student researches a famous American, writes a book report, and dresses up as their famous American at our Living Museum.
First through fourth graders participate in the Passport Club. This program is run by Wesleyan parents and encourages children to learn the locations of several countries each month. Parent volunteers assess students once a month to see if they can locate given countries on a map. Each month, students also have the opportunity to explore one feature country in depth, learning about its land, history and culture through videos, books, and food.