2nd Grade Academics

 

Most students are reading by the end of second grade. At this point, students have begun to feel more confident with addition, subtraction and multiplication. In second grade the pace of the day's activities is accelerated compared to Grade 1. More advanced work in speech is presented, including short and long vowel sounds, consonant blends, and sounding out simple words. Cursive writing is often introduced in grade two. Timeless human qualities are celebrated through the telling of saints' legends and animal fables from various cultures. Through these stories, the child of seven or eight can find ways to strive for moral behavior and also recognize that it is human nature to make mistakes. Main lesson books are created which give students the opportunity to draw pictures and copy texts about the lesson material.

The sense of wonder and reverence for the natural world that was fostered in kindergarten and first grade is further nurtured by nature stories (teacher-developed stories in which natural scientific facts are personified). In this way, the children begin to develop a personal relationship to this material, which will continue to enrich their understanding as they learn more abstract aspects of these concepts in later grades. The teacher also is telling riddles, and relating Aesop's fables which playfully highlight human foibles. The theme of the year is stories of the saints, fables, and legends from various cultures with a focus on Native American lore. Grade 2 students begin copying short stories from the board into their main lesson books, working on their tracking, handwriting, decoding, and reading skills. Later in the year, they begin to make up short stories in class and write them into their books. Throughout the year, children work with word families to help with their reading and spelling skills.

The children deepen the knowledge they gained in Grade 1 of basic number facts and the four arithmetic processes. They often practice rhythmic counting (2-4-6-8, 3-6-9-12, etc.), usually accompanied by rhythmical movements. This lays the foundation for mastering the multiplication table in the following school year. The children begin to explore additive number families such as 3-8-11 (where the first two combine to make the third, and the third minus either of the first two leaves the remaining one). The same principle is introduced for multiplicative number families (2-4-8, 3-8-24, etc.). Finally, the children begin to work with mathematical word problems and “number adventures”. The tasks given to the children in second grade are more complex than in the prior year. Form drawing is related to both writing and to math in its spatial designs, and it helps students develop their powers of observation, spatial orientation, and hand-eye coordination.

Second graders use the wet-on-wet painting technique and extend their work with colors, eventually progressing to paintings representing scenes from one of the stories the teacher reads to them in main lesson. Because it requires a good deal of kneading before it can be shaped, beeswax is considered to be an excellent medium for developing the will forces in the children, as well as an introduction to visualizing and working in three dimensions. The children are now able to sing and play good notes on their pentatonic flutes (or sometimes recorders) at will, so the focus in second grade is on listening to the music, memorizing the sequence of notes, and reproducing that sequence as pleasant music. Chase games dominate the outdoor activities in second grade. Games of this kind develop speed, agility, and courage. At this age, the children first begin to develop a rudimentary appreciation for strategy.