There are two Grade II classrooms with 22 students and two gradehead teachers in each.
About Grade II
List of 10 items.
Grade II Thematic Study: The Charles River
The Second Grade curriculum is constructed to meet the wide range of needs, knowledge, experiences, learning rates and styles possessed by our students. We hope to foster skills and values which will serve children their entire lives; love for learning, an openness to new experiences, a sense of confidence, independence and a respect for others. A primary goal in Second Grade is to establish a community of learners in which children learn from one another as well as their teachers. Teachers aim to help children achieve a greater sense and appreciation of who they are as individuals and as members within a community. Through this exploration children will become aware of shared commonalities and unique differences.
Speaking, reading, listening, and writing skills grow with language development. Mastery of language is a continuum that extends over a number of years and happens for children at different ages depending on their maturation, experience, and language background. Seven-and eight-year-olds vary in their rates of language development. The reading and writing curriculum adapts to individual needs that range from early reading to relatively advanced comprehension and vocabulary.
The goal of our mathematics program in the second grade, and across grade levels in the Lower School, is to help children construct their own mathematical knowledge. Through meaningful learning experiences in which they solve problems, reason about their mathematical thinking, and communicate their ideas in written and oral form, children make connections between mathematical ideas and real-life experiences. We encourage children’s interest in mathematics while building their confidence and strengthening their skills.
Students travel to the new lower school science lab in the Hub three times per cycle, but there also is science learning centered in the gradehead classrooms. Activities and projects encourage the students to explore and discover. Lessons serve to introduce new ideas, materials and procedures, and to provide opportunities to ask questions, set up experiments, solve problems, analyze data, and make inferences. Central to our work is learning how to communicate our ideas effectively through collaboration, discussions, and drawing and writing in science journals. Projects and activities are rooted in the Thematic Study of the Charles River, and include: river formation, soil erosion, properties of water, bridges and dams, simple machines, engineering river vehicles, and studies of the fish and animals that live in and around the river.
Art In Grade II
Children engage in different art projects in their classroom using a wide variety of media. Students work with tempera paints, watercolors, collage materials, and many other art. Students learn and practice different artistic techniques. The various thematic studies and the children’s immediate experiences in the classroom often become the subject matter for much of their work. Through hands-on art experiences and beginning critiques of artist work, classroom teachers help children develop a passion for and respect of art.
Woodshop in Grade II
(One 60-minute class per week for one trimester)
Second-grade students come to the woodshop for an hour each week, in groups of 7 or 8, for a trimester. After thinking about design choices, each student arrives at an idea for a chair, draws a plan, and makes a small model. They are introduced to principles of structure and strength. After being taught to use basic hand tools safely and effectively, each child gets to work to build their own life-size chair. The students learn to use rudimentary measurement and to solve problems as they arise. They reap the benefits of working week after week on the same project. Students realize that a large project is made up of many small tasks. Second graders see how their ideas, once expressed on paper, are brought to life in three dimensions.
Music & Performing Arts In Grade II
(Three 40-minute classes every 10 days)
Second Grade students continue their exploration of and immersion in a wide variety of musical experiences including singing, dancing, listening and playing age-appropriate rhythm instruments, among many others. Students continue to be exposed to the tremendous cultural diversity in music, learning more songs in different languages and listening to selections from different cultures. As the year progresses students become familiar and comfortable with such musical concepts and terms as strong/weak, crescendo/diminuendo, duple/triple meter, ostinato, etc. For several weeks in the spring, students will participate in acting out Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev with costumes, props and musical accompaniment. As in the other grades, repertoire is prepared for once-per-cycle lower school assemblies as well as holidays and special events including Thanksgiving, Winter Holiday, Black History, May Day and Closing Day.
Library In Grade II
(One 45-minute class per week)
In the library, second graders spend their time listening to and talking about a variety of stories on a single theme or genre. An emphasis is placed on learning about types of fiction and non-fiction, including biography and historical fiction. Students continue developing their identities as readers as they select books for independent reading, listen to librarian book talks, and share suggestions with peers. Students participate in a biography unit and an endangered animal unit. Through exposure to a variety of different books students learn to use the library and develop a love of reading.
Movement Education In Grade II
(Five 40-minute classes every 10 days)
Building on our first grade program, second graders progress toward achieving mature form in more complex manipulative skills. Students continue to develop personal growth through exploration and repetition of basic motor skills including basic sports skills; this helps them learn the value of working hard and giving a full effort. As second graders mature cognitively, they identify and perform movement concepts like spatial awareness, effort, and relationships to changing conditions and expectations. We also continue our focus on nutrition and fitness in the second grade, with activities like Fitness Night. From there, we build upon students’ knowledge of the components of health-related fitness (e.g., cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility). Students develop and practice sportsmanship, and learn what it means to be a gracious winner and loser.
Lower School Community in Grade II
The entire Lower School (B-IV grade) will meet together in the Assembly Hall from 8:35 to 9:15 on Friday. The music component of assemblies includes community singing, performances by Shady Hill students and performances by outside musical groups. Music at the assembly extends the music curriculum and deepens students’ understanding of music as cultural expression. Classroom sharing is also an important focus of assemblies. The emphasis is on sharing works-in-progress from all areas of the Lower School. Preparation for sharing is part of the learning process and sharing in front of a larger group in a safe, supportive environment helps children develop confidence in projecting their voices and effectively presenting their work. Sometimes assemblies are used for performances, such as class productions, Visiting Artists or outside performers or speakers. Outside presenters come from the arts, sciences and humanities and make a connection to the wider world.
Grade II Faculty
List of 5 members.
University of Hartford - B.M.
University of New Hampshire - B.S.
Science Department Chair
Princeton University - B.A. Lesley University - M.Ed.