Second Grade Overview

Second Grade Curriculum Overview 

English/Language Arts
RTSD addresses the PA Core Standards in English Language Arts in Second Grade in the following ways:

Reading Comprehension: The core resource for comprehension instruction is the Making Meaning program. This program uses literature and informational text from texts read-aloud to teach students nine different comprehension strategies while also creating a supportive community of readers. In the classroom students receive direct instruction through teacher modeling, time to practice, an opportunity to share and, most critically, an opportunity to apply at their level what was learned.
The Making Meaning units of study in Second Grade include:
  • The Reading Life: Fiction and Narrative Nonfiction
  • Making Connections: Fiction, Visualizing and Story Elements
  • Making Inferences and Following Characters Through Text
  • Self Questioning as a Means to Interact with the Author
  • Text Features: Exploring the Structures of Nonfiction Texts
  • Determining Importance
  • Book Clubs
  • Revisiting the Reading life
Vocabulary: The Making Meaning Vocabulary supplement teaches high-utility words found in the Making Meaning read-aloud texts along with strategies students can use to unlock word meanings when they are reading independently. By using words from the books taught in the program, students learn words in context. The goal vocabulary instruction is to have students, without prompting, accurately using new vocabulary words in their everyday speaking and writing.

Writing: Written language instruction is based on Being a Writer. This core program uses trade books for genre immersion and author studies that encourage young writers to consider author’s craft. It also integrates writing instruction with regular community-building elements and guided partner work to develop in students a sense of autonomy, belonging, and competence. Being a Writer combines the use of explicit strategy instruction with student empowerment, cooperative learning and reflection to create a writer’s workshop that is engaging and powerful for the learner.

Units of study in Second Grade include:
  • The Writing Community
  • Telling More
  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Letter Writing
  • Poems and Words
  • Revisiting the Writing Community

Guided Reading and Small Group Instruction: Regular guided reading and other small group instruction allows students to practice and apply what they are learning in language arts. The purpose of guided reading is for students to have time to read and apply strategies and skills that were demonstrated by the teacher during read aloud and shared reading instruction. 

Foundational Skills: Grades K-5 include direct instruction in the area of word study. In grade 2 Fountas and Pinnell Phonics Lessons 2:  Letters, words and how they work serve as the core of the word study program.  (Word Study Brochure)

HandwritingCursive writing is introduced in grade two using the Zaner Bloser Handwriting program. 

Math in Focus is a K-8 comprehensive mathematics program published by Marshall Cavendish.  Math in Focus provides rich and engaging resources based on 20 years of Singaporean success as a world leader in mathematics education. The framework presented in Math in Focus follows the same framework developed by the Singapore Ministry of Education.  The instructional approaches emphasize real-world, hands on experiences through a concrete-pictorial-abstract learning progression.


For more information about Math in Focus, please click here.



2nd Grade Mathematics will be guided by the following course objectives:
  • Counting, comparing and writing numbers to 1000.
  • Adding and subtracting 3-digit numbers with and without regrouping to 1,000.
  • Solve multi-digit addition and subtraction problems, including real world problems, by using a bar model.
  • Understand the concept of multiplication and repeated addition and division as grouping or sharing. Use objects and pictures to show the concept of division as finding the number of equal groups.
  • Multiply with tables of 2, 3, 4, 5, and 10 using models and known multiplication facts.
  • Measure and compare length in meters and centimeters. Add and subtract length with the help of bar models.
  • Measure and compare masses in kilograms and grams. Add and subtract masses with the help of bar models.
  • Measure and compare volume in liters using identical containers and measuring cups. Add and subtract volume with the help of bar models.
  • Develop mental math strategies using number bonds to add and subtract two- and three-digit numbers with and without regrouping Round numbers to estimate sums and difference and check the reasonableness of answers
  • Show and count money amounts in bills and coins. Solve real-world problems involving addition and subtraction of money amounts.
  • Use halves, thirds, fourths, to describe equal parts of of a whole. Use models to compare, add, and subtract halves, thirds, and fourths.
  • Estimate, measure and compare lengths using metric and customary units.
  • Add and subtract to 1,000 and use bar models to solve real-world problems involving lengths in the same unit.
  • Read and write time to the nearest 5 minutes using skip-counting by 5s strategy.
  • Read and write using A.M. and P.M. Tell how much time has elapsed.
  • Multiply and divide the tables 2, 3, 4, 5, and 10 using models and known multiplication facts.
  • Use bar models to solve multiplication and division problems on measurement and money.
  • Use multiplication and division to solve real-world problems.
  • Read and make picture graphs with scales, bar graphs, and line plots to solve real-world problems.
  • Identify properties of parts of lines and curves in plane shapes and flat and curved surfaces in solid shapes.
  • Identify, classify, and combine plane and solid shapes.
  • Make and extend repeating patterns with plane shapes.
For more information about the 2nd Grade curriculum, please click here.



General Overview

RTSD uses Science and Technology Concepts (STC) program modules developed by the Smithsonian Science Education Center, a division of the Smithsonian Institution.  The STC Program is a set of inquiry-based science curriculum kits that cover life, earth, and physical sciences.

Young children are naturally interested in everything they see around them. During the elementary years, students are encouraged to observe, note properties, and develop explanations. As children become more familiar with their world they can be guided to observe changes and make predictions. Each year, students will use three hands-on modules that provide for opportunities to develop abilities of doing and understanding science. The students will focus on a four stage learning cycle:

                 focus on what they know about a topic and what they want to learn

                 explore a scientific concept (this is usually done in groups of four)

                 reflect on their findings and record the information in science notebooks

                 apply their new learning to real-life situations and other areas of the curriculum




Second grade students will be using three science modules which focus on three content areas of science, Earth and Space Science, Physical Science, and Life Science.  Descriptions of the modules are below and are excerpted from


Using the natural curiosity that young children have about plants and animals, Organisms asks students to develop observational skills by caring for and looking at organisms. Students create and maintain an aquarium and a terrarium; making first-hand observations of plants and animals allows students to develop an understanding and sensitivity for living things.  Students are able to observe how animals and plants coexist in habitats that they themselves create and determine the basic needs of every living thing as well as needs that are unique to each organism. In a final lesson, students apply what they have learned about organisms to humans, exploring how human beings are similar to and different from other living things.



In Soils, students investigate the chief components of soil—sand, clay, and humus— and explore the relationship between soil and plant growth. Early in the unit, students create their own compost bags. This activity enables them to observe the decomposition of organic materials over time. Students observe and read about earthworms to learn about their connection to plant roots and soil. The students also conduct tests that enable them to observe and compare such properties of soil as odor, appearance, and texture. Phenomena such as settling, water content, and soil consistency are explored. These observations are then related to plant growth, as students plant cucumber seeds in a clear plastic tube. By observing root growth, students learn about the role of roots in keeping the plant anchored and upright. In a final activity, students apply what they have learned to investigate a sample of local garden soil.

Balancing and Weighing

In Balancing and Weighing, students explore balance and discover that it is affected by three variables—the mass of an object, the length of the lever arm, and the position of the fulcrum. Using an equal-arm balance to conduct their investigations, students learn to measure mass and are able to arrange objects in serial order according to their mass. Students discover that mass is not directly related to volume as they measure the mass of equal volumes of foods and find that the masses are not equal. This is a perfect opportunity to introduce students to the concept of density and illustrate how mass, volume, and density are related. Students practice measuring mass, making comparisons, and recording data throughout this unit. They represent their data visually in a number of different ways, including line plots, data tables, and bar graphs.



Social Studies



The social studies course will help students gain an understanding of the elements that help to shape a community.  Citizenship, geography, and economics will be investigated to demonstrate how communities develop and change over time.  Students will learn how citizens can impact a community and how the community can impact individual lives.



Major Units of Study:


Unit I: Community and Citizenship


Unit II: Geography


Unit III: Economics


Unit IV: History, Historical Figures and Landmarks


Social Studies Alive: My Community

Second grade art students attend art class once in every 5-day cycle for 50 minutes.   Art classes introduce the vocabulary that is intrinsic to producing and talking about art. The elements of art are imbedded in lessons that demonstrate how to use a variety of media, techniques, processes, tools and materials to create art.  Major understandings include: artists make thoughtful choices when creating works of art and often repeat a task many times to learn a new skill; visual art is created for a variety of purposes; art can communicate ideas, express emotions and relate experiences; visual art is displayed; and art elicits a response from the viewer.

Major Topics:

  • Students will continue to understand how to create art work using the elements of art: line, shape, color and texture, with a variety of materials and tools.
  • Students will continue to use basic visual art vocabulary when talking about art.
  • Students will continue to understand that visual art is exhibited.
  • Students will continue to understand that art is part of everyday life.

Units of Study:

  • John James Audubon;
  • Clay Slab Work; expanded pinch pot experience
  • Yarn weaving on cardboard loom
  • Introduction of warm and cool color families
Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story Of John James Audubon by Jacqueline Davies
Paul Klee (Life and Work Of...) by Sean Connolly
Sandy's Circus: A Story About Alexander Calder by Tanya Lee Stone and Boris Kulikov
Health & Physical Education


The goal of 2nd grade physical education is for children to move efficiently and to achieve success and satisfaction in movement experiences.  Students are introduced to the concepts of fitness, healthy lifestyles, and more game-type settings.  Besides the physical requirements of games, emphasis is centered on cooperation, sportsmanship, body control, and rule awareness. Students continue to focus on listening skills, safety awareness, respect for self and peers, and appropriate peer interaction.  The program consists of activities that enhance body awareness, self control, spatial awareness, gross and fine motor skills, loco motor and non-loco motor movements, creative and rhythmic movements, directionality, balance, partner and group challenges, and manipulative skills with a variety of equipment. 
All students in first through fourth grade take part in wellness classes which consists of eight units taught throughout the school year to help educate students on living a healthy and safe lifestyle.  Throughout the students’ educational journey, the information taught becomes progressively more challenging but remains developmentally appropriate:
  • The safety unit focuses on safety while riding the bus or other means of transportation, participating in sporting or exercise activities, and in the home or school.
  • The emergency unit prepares the students to act appropriately in an emergency situation by learning the correct numbers to call and the information that is needed to aid in an emergency.
  • In the first aid unit, the students learn basic first aid procedures for minor injuries, including cuts, burns, nosebleeds and joint injuries.
  • During the hygiene unit, the students learn the basics of grooming and maintaining good health through procedures such as hand washing, brushing teeth and wearing clean clothes.
  • Stress reduction is the focus during the relaxation unit where students practice progressive muscle relaxation, mental imagery and yoga to deal with life stressors.
  • The circulatory system, the skeletal system, the nervous system, the muscular system and the respiratory system are the focus of the body systems unit.  The students learn the major organs of each system and ultimately how the systems work together.
  • The drug prevention unit allows the students to discover the care that must be taken when using a medicine and the definition of the word drug.  The dangers of smoking are the focus of this unit.
  • Making good choices when it comes to meals and snacks is the main point in the nutrition unit.  Students are introduced to foods that should only be consumed occasionally and those foods which can be eaten daily.

Elementary students receive instruction in Library once in every 5-day cycle for 50 minutes, with the exception of Kindergarten classes which are 30 minutes in length. The library curriculum is closely aligned with the English Language Arts Pennsylvania Core Standards and the American Association of School Librarians.

Students in library learn to:

1. Ask questions to find knowledge

2. Work with others to create new knowledge

3. Work as a cooperative library citizen

4. Read widely and make personal connections

Second Grade Units of Study

· Life of a Reader
· Selecting Informational and Literary Text
· Preparing and Publishing Multimedia Presentations
· Responsible Library Citizenship
· Research
· Digital Citizenship

Elementary students experience music by singing, playing,moving and improvising. Students are assessed on singing by memory, playing both rhythmic and melodic ostinati, reading and notating quarter notes, quarter rests, paired eighth notes, and half note, as well as identifying AB and ABA form. Children explore the musical elements: melody, harmony, rhythm, form and timbre, as well as expressive elements through a varied repertoire of music from diverse cultures and genres. Students regularly have the opportunity to perform music using Orff instruments and multicultural instruments.


Silver Burdett’s Making Music, Grade 2. 2002 edition.