Second grade is a year of amazing growth in Beauvoir students. Second graders are curious and industrious. They want to figure out how things work, explore concepts of time, space and quantity, create new ways to make things work, and collaborate to see a project through. “Let’s put on a show!” is an example of a phrase overheard in second grade.
Rapid growth means that at times, second grade students may work hard and work fast for short spurts, then need time to regroup. Second grade students benefit from the support and guidance of adults in working to achieve their courageous hopes and dreams.
Expanding on children’s number sense, our second grade program has an emphasis on building computational strategies that promote fluency with mental arithmetic. Students move toward more symbolic representations of mathematics and record their observations and computations. Learning from each other, our second graders engage in cooperative projects focused on numeracy, graphing, measurement, geometry, fractions and money and begin to appreciate the various strategies that may be used to arrive at a solution. In addition to mastering skills, students practice independently applying our math guiding principles: perseverance, making sense of problems, constructing and critiquing arguments, modeling their thinking and attending to precision.
Our second-grade literacy curriculum focuses on building confident, expressive, and engaged readers and writers. Second graders participate in whole class, small group, and individualized sessions to develop skills and gain independence as readers. Students read fiction, non-fiction, folktales, and poetry focusing on reading fluently, developing vocabulary, noticing aspects of genre, and building deep comprehension skills. Students respond to their reading in written and oral form to build comprehension skills. Second graders build reading stamina through daily independent reading. They also receive explicit phonics instruction to expand and strengthen their decoding skills.
Personal narrative, opinion letters, poetry, and non-fiction units allow students to express themselves through writing. Students learn to generate ideas and use various organizers to plan and develop their writing. Mini lessons in whole class and small group settings guide students through the complete writing process with an emphasis on demonstrating independence at the conclusion of each writing unit. Students are expected to apply their knowledge of phonics, spelling patterns, punctuation, and capitalization as they write and revise with appropriate penmanship. Finally, writing conferences engage students in valuable conversations and provide a space to share constructive feedback.
Our readers and writers build upon their foundation of phonics and develop a deeper understanding of more complex spelling patterns. Students apply these phonetic concepts to read and write single and multi-syllabic words through multi-sensory instructional strategies. Students are expected to demonstrate independence in applying learned spelling patterns throughout their writing in addition to using their strategies to correct misspelled words.
Social Studies in second grade focuses on how communities are affected by water, and how water is affected by the community in turn. The year begins by establishing a strong class community through routines and expectations for how we should treat others and expect to be treated. Students share personal timelines, stories and histories about their names, enabling them to draw connections between the similarities our names share and honor the differences, as well as research and democratically select a class name that celebrates the variety of our qualities and histories. After working to form a strong class community, second graders begin investigating the role of water and watersheds in our community. These investigations take the form of water scavenger hunts around the school and Olmsted Woods, and extends to learning about the indigenous people of this region and their relationship with water. In the spring, students will research the culture, resources, engineering history, and geography of a river system in our Global Studies area of focus. Their learning culminates in various writing activities, projects and museum exhibitions on Museum Night, where second graders act as docents to share their knowledge about their Global Studies location.
Beauvoir’s visual arts program strives to create an artistic environment that will encourage and stimulate children to think creatively and to enjoy problem-solving in new and different ways. We seek to encourage each child’s natural creativity by introducing them to a wide variety of art media and tools. In second grade art, students continue to develop observational and listening skills, find support as they learn how to create and find independent solutions with “their hands”, and are exposed to the value of organizing and completing an idea
Second grade students visit the library with their class once a week to choose books, and they build on their library abilities as they begin to develop research skills using the library’s many resources. The collection of books reflects Beauvoir’s vision, mission and core values, with a special commitment made to supporting Beauvoir’s diverse community and exciting Global Studies program. All grades are introduced to different genres, as well as the works of individual authors and illustrators.
Students have 1:1 access to iPads and use them to enhance their learning every day. The digital literacy curriculum supports the developmental skills needed to navigate digital devices and allows students to become digital creators, designers, builders and coders.
Music, movement, and drama continue to develop children’s expressive and aesthetic skills. Self-awareness grows through a wide range of musical and dramatic activities as second grade children speak, sing, move and listen. Second graders learn more about rhythm, pitch, melody and beat through listening, singing, and playing instruments. Folk songs are part of the curriculum, particularly as they relate to social studies and the school-wide Global Study. Choral experiences occur regularly and are shared during select chapel services. Drama is incorporated through classroom plays and listening and responding to opera.
Throughout the Physical Education curriculum, an emphasis is placed on intellectual, emotional and social growth. Along with the more “traditional” curriculum, special units include fire safety, obstacle courses, holiday games, climbing courses and the Second Grade Gym Show, a Beauvoir tradition. Physical Education is integrated with other subject areas by incorporating mathematics, science and spelling into our activities. Games from other cultures are introduced during the school’s Global Studies program.
Science encourages Second Graders to expand and deepen their ability to observe, compare, sort and make predictions. A further aspect to Second Grade science is learning to ask good scientific questions. Using discovery, students conduct experiments in which they record results in detail and share their findings.
Spanish in second grade fosters vocabulary development through spoken, cultural and content-based activities. Spanish stories, songs, poems and games are incorporated in the lessons relating to grade-level curricular themes. Second Graders engage in project based activities which allows them to communicate with each other using appropriate vocabulary in settings that reflect real-life experiences.
Second graders focus on learning to work and play cooperatively and respectfully and with greater independence and agency. Children practice listening and speaking skills so that they can be active and reflective class members. They are encouraged to speak confidently and to listen actively with empathy and curiosity. They practice collaboration and conflict resolution skills with their peers. In the first part of the year, the focus is on creating a safe and welcoming classroom community. Students first explore who they are as individuals and identify their personal hopes and dreams for the school year. After celebrating their uniqueness, they turn their attention to how they, as individuals, fit into the class cohort. Students engage in conversations about how to support one another in achieving individual goals, set classroom goals, and create a class contract. Each classroom develops a class name that encompasses their personality as a community.
In second grade an emphasis is placed on building a student’s independence as a learner and community member, especially in the areas of stamina, organization, self-control, and collaboration. Students practice classroom routines and learn how to care for personal materials, their classroom space, and/or virtual learning space as appropriate. Second graders learn strategies for listening, following directions, maintaining focus, and working independently. They are also practicing how to advocate for themselves when they need help or clarification. Small and large group activities occur throughout the day so that students can practice cooperating and communicating clearly with their peers and teachers. Students learn to take responsibility for accessing and submitting assignments during school and for homework.
By the time children graduate from Beauvoir, they can say that they’ve gone around the world, thanks to Beauvoir’s unique Global Studies curriculum. The program is a school-wide study that explores geographical regions worldwide and celebrates the families and cultures within the School.
Each year, from January to March, students engage in integrated explorations of countries from one of the following geographical areas: Africa, Latin America, Asia, Europe and North America. By the time children are in Third Grade, and having studied all five regions, they graduate with an understanding and appreciation of people and cultures from all around the world.
Believing that hands-on, inquiry-based learning is best, Beauvoir’s Global Studies culminates in the annual Museum Night celebration. On this night, each grade designs and presents interactive museum exhibits about the country they’ve studied to share with fellow students, parents and guests.
Global Studies is part of a long tradition of “world mindedness” at Beauvoir. Elizabeth Glascock Taylor, former Head of School, coined the phrase “world mindedness” after World War II. She believed in educating children about the similarities of people and instilling within students a feeling of cooperation and respect.
Beauvoir children participate in service activities that actively engage them in creating and building relationships with others to benefit their city, their country and the world. At each grade level, children participate in a meaningful and age-appropriate service experience each year, with second grade students partnering with senior citizens at St. Alban’s Church. Beauvoir instills in students at an early age the Life Rules of kindness, respect, responsibility and honesty, qualities the children carry with them well beyond Beauvoir.
—Current Beauvoir Parent
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Head of Upper Years, Second and Third Grades
Partner Teacher, Second Grade
Partner Teacher, Second Grade
Partner Teacher, Second Grade
Partner Teacher, 2nd Grade
Partner Teacher, Second Grade