As a classical, Christian school, we believe that God’s word ought to permeate everything we think, say, and do. To that end, our second grade teachers are always on the lookout for teachable moments to apply the truths of God’s word to their students’ daily lives. Whether it’s prayer for a sick pet, handling conflict on the playground, or studying Space in science, second graders are pointed to the Lord all throughout the day. A formal Bible curriculum is also utilized in weekly lessons that revolve around the theme of “God’s Promises.” While there is a brief review of Old Testament tenets, most of the curriculum centers on an in-depth look at Jesus’ ministry on Earth. Some memory work is included which includes relevant Scripture passages.
The Language Arts component of second grade is taught in an integrated manner; classical educators hold fast to the belief that skills taught in isolation are skills long forgotten when not in use. Conversely, skills taught in context and crossing curriculum boundaries not only make learning more fun, they create stronger ties to memory and long-term learning. By preparing lessons that combine phonics, fluency, writing, grammar, and even history, science or music, students are consistently producing multi-purpose products. For example, a teacher might present a video on butterflies, have the students participate in a choral reading exercise about butterflies, and then have the students draw the life cycle and write a paragraph explaining the process. Following this, students may be asked to practice their oration and reading fluency skills by presenting their writing to the class. Lastly, students become science observers and data gatherers as they watch butterflies hatch from chrysalises in their classroom and then release them to the wild. Generally speaking, Language Arts emphases in second grade include formal grammar exercises covering the basic parts of speech as well as prepositions and possessive pronouns, and rules for capital letters, punctuation, and alphabetizing. In writing, second graders begin to edit their own work as they write descriptive and sequencing paragraphs. Formal reading instruction includes continued coverage of the 71 phonograms as they encode and decode, as well as explorations in literature that include short stories, poetry, anthologies, and short literature books. Students take big leaps in reading during their second grade year as they make gains in reading fluency and comprehension.
Fundamental math skills understanding continues to be emphasized in the second grade year. Developmentally, second graders are the perfect example of what classical educators call the “Grammar Stage” when young students are capable of learning, memorizing and retaining an incredible amount of information. In math, this means that Trinity second graders continue to memorize addition and subtraction facts, practice skip counting, and even begin working on basic multiplication and division facts. Learning these facts with automaticity ensures that as students begin working with two and three-digit addition, for example, few errors show up due to computation mistakes. However, math isn’t all about rote memorization. Explorations with fractions, money, geometry, measurement and more all take place in an environment that is designed to both challenge the advanced student and support the struggling one.
The Lower School History Scope and Sequence takes a chronological approach, so in Second Grade, students study the ancient civilizations of Rome, Africa, and India. Coupling those studies with World Geography takes the students across the globe as they craft, sing, read, and recite their way through History and Geography. Guest speakers, literature extensions, and memory selections all work together to create long-lasting impressions in History. Finally, students continue to memorize a school-wide-adopted “Grammar of History” timeline outlining important world history events. Students chip away at memorizing this fun, action-filled timeline all throughout their lower school years.
Tornadoes in a jar. Fossil imprints. Butterflies in the classroom. Is it any wonder that students love science? Add on field trips to local parks, museums, Morehead Planetarium, and N.C. State’s Entomology Department, and there is no doubt that second graders enjoy a lot of hands-on fun in science. Main topics include: Seasons, Clouds, Storms, Solar System, Dinosaurs and Fossils, and Insects.
Second grade students are privileged to attend formal Art instruction once a week under the guidance of a dynamic practitioner that is skilled in making Art history a subject that comes alive in her classroom. Believing that even our young students can begin to discern how to evaluate what is true, good and beautiful, our classical Art educator lovingly guides students toward those ideals in an atmosphere of hands-on fun. The skills of drawing, painting, print-making, sculpture and collage are emphasized as students create portraits representing expression, define landscape and still life, paint patterns with visual texture, and create sculptures.
Formal music instruction is offered twice a week under the guidance of an experienced Music teacher. Trained in the Kodaly teaching method, our instructor designs lessons filled with purposeful games, rhyming, singing, and dancing. Pass by the Music classroom on any given day, and you are almost guaranteed to hear laughter and joyful noises. Using the tenets of the classical ideal that students should be exposed to all that is true, good and beautiful, the following topics are covered in that context: rhythm, melody, music reading and writing, great composers, time-proven hymns, meter, beat, and performance preparation.
Second graders receive one class period a week of formal Physical Education instruction. Taught by a loving and enthusiastic instructor, it’s no wonder that students clamor to go to PE. By second grade, coordination is improving, and more complex fitness goals can be mastered. Topics range from health and nutrition to safety and dental hygiene. Add on units in soccer, flag football, tumbling and dancing, tennis, badminton, basketball, and more—and it’s easy to see why Physical Education days are often the most popular school days! Each fall and spring, the PE teacher offers after-school running clubs to foster lifetime fitness habits. Parents and siblings often attend, and many choose to participate in our annual 5K run on our campus.