The Hartsbrook School

Second Grade

2playWebDevelopmental Picture of the Second Grade Student

Walt Whitman once observed, “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am great. I contain multitudes.” In the second grade, children learn to sing the songs of themselves in the world, in which contradiction and duality rule the day. Second-graders experience the full potential of the human condition in the contrast between the noble spirit of the saints and other heroic figures and the failings of the animals in the fables. Indeed, figures like Saint Francis, who lived a dissolute life before embarking upon his spiritual path, embody this very contradiction, as do animals like the crow and the fox in Aesop’s Fables who are capable of both generosity and meanness.

Highlights of the Curriculum

In the second grade the children continue to focus on a simple curriculum consisting primarily of various approaches to the book of human culture and the book of nature. Working together as a class and as good school citizens continues to be a focus.

Artistic development also continues and there is an emphasis on color in second grade. The children draw in their main lesson books almost every day, using stick and block crayons. There are weekly watercolor painting lessons and weekly lessons using clay or beeswax to practice modeling abstract and natural forms, sometimes related to main lesson themes. There are regular form drawing lessons to support proper handwriting and to give the children the experience of making written forms in simple and complex patterns, including symmetry.

The story curriculum for second grade is the stories of saints and other heroic human beings contrasted with animal fables in which the pitfalls of certain failings are often illustrated. From the stories of the saints come several second grade festivals – the St Martin’s play and Lantern Walk in November and St. Lucia Day in December. These festivals are celebrated in a non-sectarian way that illustrates the noble human qualities of each of these saints.

In Language Arts, the children write about the saint legends and fables in their main lesson books. As the year progresses, the students learn about basic punctuation, including lower and upper case letters, and sentence structure. They become more aware of vowel sounds, spellings, and idiomatic incongruities in the English language. They use practice books to work on word recognition skills. They begin to use simple readers. Second graders also memorize poems and verses, and practice speech exercises.

The year in math begins with a review of the four operations. The children are led from a dependence on concrete counting objects to seeing numbers in their minds through mental math problems. Later, carrying in addition and borrowing in subtraction are taught. The children are introduced to estimating and number relationships as structures. They learn about place value. They begin to memorize simple math facts and work on word problems. Memorization of times table facts through movement occurs every morning. The children count forward and backward in multiples. They compute problems horizontally and vertically.

Subjects Studied

Language Arts Students continue to explore the rich world of the English language and to build up fluency in simple sentence construction and spelling. Poems and other literature is memorized and recited orally and a class play is produced.
Mathematics Students learn the more complicated manipulation of two and three digit numbers using the four basic operations. Math continues to be experienced through movement and mental math journeys as well as on paper.
World Languages Students are exposed to the contrasting world languages cultures of Spanish and German through oral instruction which includes story, songs and games.
Movement Students continue to move each day during the more active component of main lesson. There are also two recesses each day on our lower school playground and two periods of Games classes each week.
Eurythmy Eurythmy is an essential and unique part of the Waldorf curriculum. Incorporating aspects of both physical education (leaping, skipping, balance and coordination), and artistic content (music and verse), Eurythmy engages the whole child. In second grade, fairy tales and legends give the imaginative pictures that are brought to life and expressed through the gestures, rhythms and simple spatial choreography or patterns. Students have this movement art two periods/week.
Handwork Students develop coordination and focus in learning more advanced stitches in knitting and in learning how to crochet. Simple and useful objects are created.
Music The students sing with their class teacher each day and continue to play pentatonic flutes by ear.
Art Students continue with watercolor painting and also begin beeswax modeling, form drawing and crayon drawing.