Saint Louis - Gateway to the West
Year-Long Essential Questions
- How and why do we remember events and people from the past?
- What can we learn from the past?
- How have people met their needs over time?
Linguistic Intelligence (Reading)
Second graders display tremendous development as readers throughout the year and a love and enjoyment of literature is woven throughout each day. Learning to read and understand unknown words is a focus and, especially as the year progresses, students are stretched to gain deep comprehension. The Multiple Intelligences are used as a tool to enhance reading and gain further enjoyment and understanding. Ongoing assessments allow reading instruction to target each child’s developmental cutting edge.
Second graders can:
- consistently use appropriate strategies for reading unknown words
- take risks reading unknown words
- read with expression
- read beginning chapter books and favorite series books
- follow written directions with minimum help
- identify main idea with support
- ask questions to expand and clarify meaning
- use evidence from story to support responses
- seek deeper meaning, reads between the line
- pose questions as part of group discussions
- discuss problem and solution in story
- set personal reading goals and follows through on their own
Linguistic Intelligence (Writing)
Through a writer’s workshop approach, students become familiar with the steps of the writing process from planning to publishing. They learn that good writers reflect on their work, accepting feedback and incorporating changes to improve their works. They are able to communicate and connect with the audience through meaningful, thoughtfully written pieces. Students also learn about the elements of different genres as they compose original works reflecting a number of writing traits, including: ideas and content, voice, organization, word choice, sentence fluency and accurate conventions/mechanics.
Second grade writers can:
- set personal goals for writing development with the teacher
- use prewriting plan to guide initial draft
- accept that a piece of writing is not finished with one draft
- use checklist to edit writing
- use a variety of sentence structures, with help
- write with a clear beginning, middle, end
- incorporate revisions and edits into final draft
- write on a variety of topics
- group sentences containing related information into paragraphs
- begin to create text that is easy for another to read aloud.
Language and Spelling
The second grade spelling program focuses on grade level sight words and explicit short and long vowel word families and consonant patterns, which are introduced and practiced through a variety of whole group and center activities that engage the multiple intelligences. The ability to build words using root patterns and various beginnings and endings empowers students to spell far more words than they could commit to memory. If students can spell one word using a pattern, then they can spell other words with the same pattern. Students apply these skills in daily reading and writing situations and earn a percentage grade on regular spelling tests.
By the end of the year, students will:
- master words designated for grade level
- understand long vowel patterns
- recognize and use the silent e pattern
- understand complex consonant patterns and more difficult 2-3 letter digraphs and blends
Second grade is a year in which students build upon previous mathematical knowledge to develop a deeper understanding of relationships and patterns within the system of numbers. Mathematical skills and traditional algorithms are taught and mental math is a focus throughout the year. Students learn to reason logically, reflect upon and communicate their understanding, and they learn to apply their understanding to real life situations. Second grade math classes are differentiated based on students’ needs and involve direct instruction, independent practice, hands-on manipulatives, games and activities, math journals and homework assignments.
The second grade units and strands of study include:
- place value, comparing and ordering numbers to 1,000
- number patterns
- mental math strategies for composing and decomposing numbers
- addition and subtraction with renaming
- multiplication and division
- determining missing numbers in equations
- addition and subtraction facts, 0-18
- multiplication and division facts, 0-5 and 10
- survey-taking, organizing and creating graphs
- bar and pie graphs, and line plots
- properties of 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional shapes
- length (standard and metric)
- weight (standard and metric)
- capacity (standard and metric)
- halves and quarters
- fractions of a set
- writing fractions
- traditional story problems, integrated throughout each unit of study
- logical reasoning and strategies, taught for solving complex, non-traditional problems
The second grade theme focuses on the exploration and settlement of the Western United States. Each unit of study gives students an opportunity to experience history through the eyes of some of the key players as well as some figures overlooked or “forgotten” in history. Each unit provides an opportunity to critically examine both the realities and stereotypes (racial, ethnic, cultural, gender-based, socio-economic) related to people of the time period. Students relive significant events through simulations, role-playing and projects.
Focuses on the Louisiana Purchase and Corps of Discovery (Lewis and Clark) Expedition, including: motives for the historical events; expedition party members, including those not recognized traditionally for their contributions; relationships with Native Americans; scientific data and information gathered; changes to the United States’ geography; and successes and failures of the Expedition. They create their own maps of the West and design field guides after observing flora and fauna in Forest Park.
Focuses on the diverse backgrounds of pioneers and their innumerable reasons for settling in the West, as well as the daily lives and experiences of pioneers and settlers, both on the trail and their homesteads.
Focuses on monuments as ways to memorialize or commemorate important people and events throughout history. A trip to the Gateway Arch is part of the study of the structures, be they person-made or imposed on nature; representational or symbolic.
As a culmination to the year-long theme, students create their own, original 3-D spatial monument in honor of a person or event from the time periods studied.