Before learning about others, it is important to increase self- awareness.
Second graders begin the year with MI self-assessments to demonstrate how they use the various intelligences. Students then assess how their strengths can make a valuable contribution to the classroom community. Learning a sense of self and building confidence in one’s own abilities creates a strong foundation for the explorations throughout the year.
During the first trimester of the second grade theme studies, "St. Louis: Gateway to the West", students not only learn about explorers, but they also gain the confidence required to take risks, learn how to become good problem solvers, and further their understanding of the value of working as a team to accomplish a common goal. Through ongoing community service projects students also learn about empathy and the value of giving back to the surrounding area.
In learning about historical time periods, students spend the second part of the year learning about westward expansion, while comparing and contrasting life as a pioneer to modern day life. Students make connections about responsibilities and interactions, while challenging themselves to be resourceful and creative with how they approach learning about themselves and others. The culmination of the year focuses on monuments to assist in cultivating an understanding of the diverse contributions of others. Throughout the year, students are challenged to problem solve, and work cooperatively to enhance their personal and academic skills, while fostering a curiosity about the world around them.
What to Expect from Your Second Grader
Seven- and eight-year-olds are gregarious and enjoy the seriousness of the classroom balanced with humor and games. They are very hard workers, and can often be perfectionists; they want to be correct and they also want their work to look good. They are driven by curiosity and a strong internal desire to discover and invent. Many are content to spend time alone by choice, reading, or listening to music as well as engaging in imaginative play with animals or dolls. Second graders also appreciate working with a best friend, although relationships may be on one day and off the next.
Second graders are full of energy; they play hard, work quickly, and tire easily. They like rules and boundaries, and respond to the structure in the classroom. They are very industrious and resilient, bouncing back quickly from mistakes and eager to try again. The foundations of grit are beginning to become more evident. As they gain comfort and confidence in their own abilities, they are more willing to try new things, although they are still somewhat nervous about exploring the unknown.
Second graders like to work cooperatively, explaining their ideas along the way. They are very sensitive to being heard by others and are developing their ability to compromise and take on more shared responsibilities. Boys and girls at this age may lack the skills and patience necessary for completing long-term projects, so adult assistance in devising and working through a plan is important.
The Top Ten Things to Know about Second Grade
Field Guides: Students emulate Lewis and Clark as they create field guides of Forest Park.
Pioneer Homes: Students build models of pioneer homes using natural resources.
Forest Park Excursions: Regular excursions to the park serve as scientific explorations to study nature, change, water, and ecology.
Gold Rush Simulations: Students “dig for gold” and learn how arriving early and persevering played an important role in any success the '49ers encountered.
Service to the Park: Students work with the Forest Park Conservancy to help with planting and cleanup at the Jewel Box.
Lewis and Clark Museum: A field trip to this museum helps to make the Lewis and Clark expedition come to life.
Pioneer Music: Students study about and learn to play the dulcimer.
Pioneer "How to" Presentations: Students give presentations showing their classmates one aspect of how pioneers worked and/or played.
Class Play: This culminating project showcases the students' knowledge through song, dance and dramatic presentation.
Monument Project: Students end their study by creating monuments to a person or place of importance.
If you would like more information about the content and skills covered in the second grade curriculum, click here.