Grade Two Course Descriptions

Language Arts

The second grade language arts curriculum incorporates a balanced approach between the appreciation of literature and explicit skill development in the areas of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Through guided reading lessons and opportunities to practice reading independently, second graders learn comprehension strategies for both fiction and nonfiction texts. Resources include trade books, and novels. Students learn to write through a workshop approach, with direct instruction through mini-lessons and many opportunities to revise and edit with peers and teachers. The spelling program is a multi-sensory, sequential, phonics-based approach that incorporates grammar and mechanics. Speaking and listening skills are developed through class discussions, which are collaborative, intellectual dialogues facilitated by an inquiry based approach utilizing interpretative questioning in discussions about a text. Sample units of study:

  • Flat Stanley study and letter writing

  • Byrd Baylor author study

  • Civil Rights leader summary writings

  • Animal research writing project

  • Junior Great Books

  • Framing Your Thoughts


The Math in Focus (the U.S. version of Singapore Math) second grade program provides challenging practice problems to help broaden children’s thinking skills and extend their understanding of concepts. The problem-solving questions are designed to challenge students to use relevant strategies for non-routine problems.   Sample units of study:

  • Building problem-solving skills and strategies

  • Counting, comparing, and writing numbers to 1,000

  • Adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing using bar models

  • Telling time

  • Recognizing bills and coins

  • Solving one step and two step word problems with bar models

  • Introduction to fractions

Social Studies

Second graders continue their study of history and geography, using The Pearson Learning /Core Knowledge history and geography texts, in addition to trade books for each unit. Journal writing, Oregon Trail simulations, and the consideration of the Loyalist and Patriot perspectives in the American Revolution are a few of the activities students participate in as they study the various units. To deeply understand lesson content, students create projects, solve problems collaboratively, examine competing perspectives with empathy, and discuss what it is to be a responsible citizen. Geography and map skills are integral to our studies throughout the year and are incorporated into the thematic units of study. Sample units of study:

  • The American Revolution

  • Westward expansion

  • Civil Rights


The Science and Technology for Children program provides students the opportunity to learn age-appropriate concepts and skills and to acquire scientific attitudes and habits of mind. In the primary grades, children begin their study of science by observing, measuring, and identifying properties. Asking questions and exploring the scientific method is also a part of each unit, as students engage in hands-on science activities. Sample units of study:

  • Rocks and minerals

  • Sound

  • Plants


Students continue their Spanish exploration by increasing their contact time to 90 minutes per rotating week, divided into four separate sessions of total immersion. The classroom becomes a common and familiar space to learn, as students expand their knowledge of the Spanish language on an almost daily basis.  The program continues to focus on enhancing students’ listening skills, but more attention is placed on phonemic awareness and developing speaking skills. At this point most students are developmentally ready to begin the challenge of trying to read and even write simple ideas in Spanish. Visual, auditory, and kinesthetic (VAK) activities are aimed towards engaging students’ different learning styles, as we incorporating songs, art projects, role playing, realia, and a myriad of games. Cultural activities continue to enhance understanding and respect for the multiple and diverse Spanish speaking countries. Sample units of study:

  • The Spanish alphabet and the letter sounds

  • Consonants and vowels

  • Commonly used phrases

  • Commonly used cognates

  • Stating likes and dislikes

  • Responding to and giving commands

  • Asking for and providing personal information

  • Numbers 1-50, addition and subtraction

  • Classroom objects, colors, and basic descriptions

  • Clothing, weather and seasons

  • Telling the time

  • Prepositions of place


Second Grade art continues to explore the elements of art through two and three-dimensional art projects. Drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, weaving, glue batik and clay work round out the year. Children progress at their own pace, and process is more important than finished product. Highlights include observational flower paintings, self-portraits, still life drawings, and CD weaving. Specific projects may vary from year to year in response to new ideas and academic classroom topics. Sample areas of focus:

  • Study the basic elements of line, color, texture, form, and space

  • Expand on students’ vocabulary of art and design

  • Observe and interpret works of art

  • Explore art history through imagery and books


The second grade music experience creates an active space for the whole child’s creative potential. Meeting twice every 6 days for 40-minute sessions, the program focuses on introducing rhythm, melody, and notation while engaging the whole body in creative movement. Performance opportunities broaden the singer’s vocal literature and offer skills in public presentations. Sample units of study:

  • Reading the written score

  • Creating a score for their original poetry

  • Recognizing musical form ABA

Physical Education

The physical education program for second grade emphasizes participation in a wide variety of fun and active games and activities. Our goal is to introduce many different activities so that students are equipped to choose a healthy and active lifestyle. We will participate in fun locomotor games as well as a variety of sport drills and games.

Games and activities are designed to be both fun and challenging for all skill levels, with cooperation and sportsmanship always a primary focus. Components of our program include:

  • Chasing and fleeing games which focus on locomotor movements, as well as body space and control.

  • Sport units: basketball, soccer, volleyball, kickball, baseball, Frisbee, and jump rope, badminton, gymnastics, yoga

  • A dance unit, which culminates with our annual lower school family dance

  • Fitness testing through Fall Fitness Day

  • Emphasis on sportsmanship and teamwork throughout all units.


The Lower School Library supports the Carolina Day School curriculum, encourages reading, and promotes research. More than 20,000 titles are available to students and parents via the web-based catalogue, along with a variety of electronic databases, print periodicals, DVDs, and audio resources. The library program is designed to foster a love of reading and to teach skills in locating and evaluating information. A primary focus is on providing appropriate and enticing materials for diverse reading interests and wide ranging reading abilities, so all students can find materials to support their learning and joy of reading. Lower school students are welcome to independently visit the library throughout the school day with their teacher’s permission.  Weekly library visits include:

  • Author study of Chris Van Allsburg’s picture books

  • Exploration of the Caldecott Medal criteria

  • Analysis and evaluation of new picture books to identify those deserving Caldecott recognition

  • Locating books related to personal interests

  • Voluntary participation in the Caldecott Challenge reading and writing program

  • Reading and evaluating books by the North Carolina Children’s Book Award nominees

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