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Second Grade

"Creativity is the greatest gift of human intelligence."Sir Ken Robinson

IIn our second grade classes, the children think creatively about the world around them and are given many opportunities to explore, discover, question, interact, and learn. Through hands-on, creative lessons provided in the classroom, we spend the year reinforcing the skills learned in first grade, while extending and enriching this knowledge through second grade concepts.

Throughout the year, the children learn the necessary skills that build as they progress through the grades. They are taught how to negotiate, compromise, and empathize with their peers and how to handle social situations with confidence, compassion, and fairness. The children are encouraged to do their best each day and are challenged to rise above our expectations.


Language Arts

In second grade, students use the Houghton Mifflin reading program. Students apply six reading strategies before, during, or after reading a selection. They are predict/infer, phonics/decoding, monitor/clarify, question, evaluate, and summarize. In addition, this program reviews consonant sounds, clusters/blends (e.g. st, dr, cl, etc.), digraphs (e.g. ch, sh, th, and wh), short vowels, long vowels, and syllables.

Reading is taught in two ways in second grade: whole class and small groups. We have fluid, small reading groups throughout the year. These groups are determined based on both formal and informal assessments of the teacher and the Teaching and Learning Coordinator.

In the whole group setting, the second graders are introduced to each story and then participate in activities on each story’s skills. Students also practice rereading stories as a whole group as well as with partners.

During the small group instruction, students are working with peers closely aligned with their reading levels. Students who require more support are given extra intervention and students who are above level engage in activities that enrich and challenge the student.

Throughout the year, the students work on several pieces of writing, taking them through the entire writing process including organization, rough draft, revising, editing, and final draft. The genres are silly story, descriptive writing, letter writing, a research report, personal narrative, and procedural writing.

We also have activities that help children learn age-appropriate grammar skills and spelling. Each day, through the Houghton Mifflin reading program, students complete word study activities. Children have many opportunities to write in various genres including creative stories, letters, procedural writing, etc.

We use the Handwriting Without Tears handwriting program. This program uses a deliberate and systematic approach to teaching handwriting. The ultimate goal of the program is that students are able to apply these good habits automatically and with ease.


The GO Math! program is a multi-faceted program that allows students to move through a sequence of skills and become life-long mathematical thinkers and problem solvers. We review and build upon the concepts taught in first grade.

The GO Math! program is designed to meet each student’s needs. There are frequent assessments throughout each chapter that allows the teacher to have a firm understanding of whether a student needs intervention, is on grade level or needs enrichment activities. All second graders work in small groups playing appropriate math games and using manipulatives. Learning how to work cooperatively is heavily stressed. In addition, children are asked to memorize math facts.

Social Studies

In social studies, we begin with the study of our community and how we can be a responsible part of the Barnesville community. We discuss various aspects of a community and what makes communities different. Second graders also spend time expanding the map skills learned in first grade. We learn cardinal directions, elements of a map as well as how to interpret maps. Next, we study Native Americans, learning about the Eastern Woodland, Plains, Southwest, and Pacific Northwest tribes and customs. Following this unit, we begin the study of Japan. The children learn about the culture of Japan and have the opportunity to experience hands-on activities.


In second grade the lessons taught in science align with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Students participate in several experiments throughout the year developed by Mystery Science, which support the NGSS.

We begin our science curriculum with the Scientific Method. Second graders work through many scientific experiments so that they gain a firm understanding of the scientific method and all the terminology associated with it. Next, students learn about the three main states of matter and that matter can change forms. Finally, we finish with Life Science. Intertwined through the year are also lessons on plants, gardening and nutrition. These lessons are to support the year-long project of growing vegetables in our raised beds.


Hola! Second grade continues to use the Descubre el Espanol B program. They use a workbook and access online activities for practice. This program exposes children to the Spanish language and culture. The emphasis on the development of a vocabulary-base and the enjoyment of the Spanish language is achieved through the use of age-appropriate activities: songs, rhymes, stories, movement, and competitive and cooperative games. Second graders continue the process of reading and writing. They are able to read words and simple sentences at the end. They also start to learn grammar, pronunciation, and basic action words.

Physical Education

Through exploration and play in nature's playground, second grade P.E. focuses on developing perceptual motor efficiency, while correctly executing all locomotors and non-locomotor movements in response to stimuli, and exploring the dimensions of flow, space, time, and force. Rope turning and jumping, jumps, leaps, running with the proper form, kicking a rolled ball, striking a pitched ball, demonstrating a trap ball, and dribbling a ball with the same foot are some of the many skills learned in second grade. Sequencing in dance along with motor skill sequencing is taught.


The themes explored in second grade art are learning about the artifacts and cultures of a variety of U.S. Native Americans and Japan. Students create artwork related to the Native American regions of the Eastern Woodlands, the Plains, the Southwest, and the Northwest. Students also spend a good part of their time learning about the traditional art and artifacts of Japan. Formalized art training occurs once a week for 60 minutes.


Singing and song repertoire constitute the basis of second grade music classes. Songs transmit culture, history, and the richness of shared human experiences, values, and feelings. Through music, the children celebrate the seasons, and observe in some meaningful way the traditional holidays and festivals. Special emphasis is placed on agricultural cycles since the Barnesville School is located in the Agricultural Reserve. The second grade always makes a fine contribution to Lower School May Day with their dancing, singing, and enthusiastic participation in the traditional Unite and Unite processional up the gently sloping hillside to the flower-bedecked May Pole on the playground.

The second graders create a project that integrates music and art. For instance, students create and record a soundscape inspired by the jungle paintings of Henri Rousseau (incorporating animal chattering and growling, bird song, and tropical storm sounds). Their CD was designed to be heard while viewing the Rousseau-style paintings and masks they created in art class. Every month they sing a song about the Character-Word-of-the-Month.


Second Grade students enjoy their close proximity to the library (their classroom us directly across the hall). The program expands and reinforces the previously learned library skills and begins the research component in response to the second grade curriculum. They learn to appreciate the magazines for personal enjoyment and to aid in their research. The library program supports book-report assignments. The library program offers a Kamishibai storytelling unit that ties in with the third term social studies unit on Japan. During the second half of the year, the students are instructed in using the automated catalog for a subject search, recording the call number, and locating the book with adult assistance. Students continue to listen to stories that support the second grade curriculum, especially the social studies units. Students in the second grade are introduced to online safety and etiquette via the Common Sense Media curriculum.

An independent private school in
Montgomery County, Maryland
offering innovative preschool
through 8th grade programs.

Barnesville School

21830 Peach Tree Road
PO Box 404
Barnesville, MD 20838

p: 301.972.0341
f: 301.972.4076


We offer a vigorous academic program for students as well as engaging, hands-on learning experiences.


Our positive, supportive learning environment promotes imagination, exploration, personal growth, and achievement.

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