Second Grade Curriculum


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  • 10
    Lessons
  • 11
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  • 4
    Hours
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  • 0.4
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  • 254
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Course Description

There is no specific national school curriculum in the U.S. Many states don't develop their own particular curriculum, but rather adopt standards of knowledge that students are expected to master.

In recent decades there has been some general agreement on the kinds of information students in different years and different subjects should be learning. Various professional teaching organizations have worked to knit together some guidelines on curriculum substance.

Forty-eight states have signed onto the concept of core standards. This course builds from those suggested national standards in eight subject areas: Reading, Writing, Math, Science, Social Studies, Art, Music and Movement, and Creative Dramatics.

For each subject, the course summarizes basic curriculum elements for second grade. Each lesson includes suggested age-appropriate activities to reinforce the lesson topics. Each lesson also includes teaching tips from experts on how to engage students in learning.

One of the major developments in curriculum over the last several decades has been a shift to presenting material in a format that is "learner-centered." Making the shift to this style of teaching is more an attitude than a technique, although in each lesson we suggest tips from educators on how best to engage students in that topic.

Studies have shown that students taught with a more engaging, interactive curriculum approach have posted significantly higher scores on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills and other achievement tests. The method of teaching is as important as the curriculum content, in affecting what students learn.

Presenting curriculum content in an environment where students feel comfortable expressing their ideas and are not embarrassed by their mistakes has repeatedly been shown to increase overall student performance. This course will help teachers learn how to create this learning environment by laying out teaching tips, learning activities, and topics to be mastered by the 2nd grade.

The Second Grader

Second graders have more of a handle on school than 1st graders did. They have the mechanics of school down, are more settled into the routine and comfortable with the other kids. By 2nd grade, children are more sophisticated about their work. They're no longer pleased with the shallow praise they might have liked the year before, and they understand when they are actually doing well.

By this age, the exuberant first graders turn into calmer thinkers. Sometimes they work in groups, some might prefer to work on their own or with one other friend. Most will be 7-8 years old, but learning rates vary. Many schools teach first and second grade together to accommodate the wide range of learning rates in this age period, although the gap narrows throughout the second year.

Academically, second graders will be expanding and extending their skills from last year. After learning all of those basic skills in first grade, children now chance to use them and enjoy them.

Half of students will be pretty good readers, although some may need more coaching and strategies. Most will read and enjoy listening to chapter books. Second graders are shifting from transitional spelling to understanding the real spelling of words. They will still need guidance on new vocabulary. Their writing skills may be developed but limited – they will respond to opportunities to expand and develop individually. 

In math, most students will have a solid understanding of addition and a good grasp on subtraction. They know the working basics of fractions and geometry, if not the proper terminology. Most have heard of multiplication and division concepts. Many second graders will say they love math, and many will prefer it to reading; this is a good opportunity to extend and build on what they learned in first grade and sustain their interest to know more.

Socially, second grade can be a period of tattling and blaming. Kids this age are very sensitive to the feelings and attitudes of others, but are still learning how to manage their own responses. 

They are still trying to understand their own family experiences and how they relate to the world. Educators stress that teachers should attend to students' emotional development as well as their intellectual development. As with other ages, it's important not to underestimate the second grader. They will respond to larger, dramatic stories that help them make sense of their own feelings and experiences.

Learning Needs 

The view of schooling is no longer the textbook-based, one-sided lecture method of the 19thand 20th Centuries. Education theory has shifted dramatically in recent decades. The passive learning styles of our past are now understood to be poor methods of teaching that ignore the learning needs of children.

Scientific research over the last few decades has shown that the old model of lecture/test is inconsistent with how memory works and how the brain processes information. Whereas earlier attempts at more interactive, egalitarian-style teaching might have been dismissed as utopian visions, studies in neuroscience and cognitive psychology are now backing them up.

Adding up what we now know, what do young students need to learn?


  1. Rich learning environments - Brain growth is maximized with multi-sensory experiences. So much teaching in the U.S. is based on teacher lecturing, with emphasis on verbal instruction. Yet verbal learning is just one method. Adding other sensory teaching tools -- like visual cues, hands-on work, etc., -- enables a richer learning experience.


  1. Differentiate instruction and activities – In the past, addressing alternative learning needs and styles was often added as an afterthought, if at all. Lessons were simply aimed at the average learner. The new thinking is that teachers should, from the beginning, conceive their lessons in a manner that provides for multiple levels and styles of learning.


  1. Build on prior knowledge – We now know learners take in new information by connecting it to old information they already know. So often teaching begins from where the teacher is, instead of where the students are. Teachers can find out where students are with a variety of assessment tools, and then:

    1. Help students make connection to their prior knowledge, and

    2. Help students personalize new material.


  1. Role of emotions and feelings - Emotions and feelings are learned and influence cognitive learning. To alleve anxieties and enhance learning, teachers can first create an environment that is positive for learning; one that allows students to feel comfortable taking risks, and not too embarrassed by making mistakes. Teachers can also target their lesson plans with tasks that are challenging, but not so difficult as to be frustrating.


Teaching Tips

 

The new research into how students learn has implications for teaching methods as well as for curriculum. The teaching method to service the old lecture/rote memorization curriculum was to have students sit quietly in their seats and passively listen. Drawing on what research now tells us about the brain and how people learn, educators urge a focus on more active learning, and less lecturing, less, passive instruction, and less fill-in-the-blank worksheets. 
 
Demonstrate High Expectations

 

The old teaching models position the teacher as ultimate authority who orders the students around; students are expected to sit down and be quiet. The newer models emphasize the importance of having high expectations for students' intelligence, and abilities.

Teachers can set the tone by creating an environment for high expectations by establishing a learning environment that feels expansive. Help the students see that learning is an adventure, and an important one. Engage their sense of adventure and discovery. Expect a lot of your students, and encourage them to expect much of you. 

Engage Students

Teachers must get their students attention before they can learn. As adults, we take classes or read books like Dale Carnegie's How to win friends and influence people to improve our people skills. But somehow, with students as a captive audience, teachers might neglect the similar need to engage students and win their attention.

Here are some strategies to engage students:

  • Use humor, drama, elements of surprise

  • Set the mood with songs or stories relevant to the lesson

  • Follow-up on teachable moments as they occur, to allow spontaneous learning when students are most interested and engaged in a topic

Parent Communication

Parent involvement in their child's education has been linked to academic success. However, after starting out as dedicated partners in their child's first grade experience, many parents drop back when their children enter second grade. This may be in part due to the parents' perception their child doesn't need them as much; it may also be an attitude the parents get from the schools. 

Educators stress that parent involvement remains vital past the first grade, even after students adjust to life in the classroom. In their book, How is my Second Grader Doing in School?, the authors emphasize that the primary parent is the child's first teacher, and remains the most important teacher in the student's life.

Ideally, teachers and parents would work as partners. Schools will often provide several methods of communication between teachers and parents:

  1. The Open House, which provides an introduction/overview to the classroom philosophies;

  2. Parent-teacher conferences – These include regular periodic conferences, or special conferences called for academic or discipline needs;

  3. Student assessments also provide a method for teachers to communicate with parents.


The National Education Association has found that teachers are often not taught the strong communication skills needed to conference with parents. Similarly, parents often have anxieties about conferences: they may see criticisms of their child as criticisms of themselves, or they may have had bad experiences as a student. 

One study on parent involvement made three recommendations: (1) Parent involvement needs to be increased; (2) teachers should confer with parents about home life along with their performance in school; and (3) if parents knew how to, they would help children more at home. 

Teachers should work on listening to the parent during the conference – it should be a true dialogue with the parents speaking half the time. This will encourage the feeling of collaboration. Parents need to view themselves as having equal status with educator, and take more of an authoritative role in their child's education. 

The parent-teacher relationship can be a challenge to both teachers and parents. One way to alleviate anxieties is to establish and maintain continual communication throughout the school year. Talk about the child's daily accomplishments and activities, so the communication channels are open when more involved conferences occur.

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Course Lessons

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Lesson 1 : 2nd Grade Overview

In the United States, there is no specific national school curriculum. Many states don't develop their own particular curriculum, but rather adopt standards of knowledge that students are expected to master. 5 Total Points
  • Review Article: Preparing for Second Grade
  • Take Poll: 2nd Grade Curriculum
  • Complete: Lesson 1 Exam

Lesson 2 : Creating Curriculum

One of the major developments in curriculum over the last several decades has been a shift to presenting material in a format that is "learner-centered." Making the shift to this style of teaching is more an attitude than a technique, according to the aut 5 Total Points
  • Review 2 Articles: Second Grade Learning Games and Activities; Second Grade Ideas
  • Take Poll: Learner Centered Approach
  • Complete: Lesson 2 Exam

Lesson 3 : Reading & Literature

Reading is considered one of the primary academic skills, if not the primary skill. Along with writing, reading is a major task for students to master in the early years of school. 5 Total Points
  • Review 2 Articles: Second Graders and Reading; Reading Comprehension Worksheets
  • Complete: Lesson 3 Exam

Lesson 4 : Writing & Grammar/English Usage

By second grade, most students can construct sentences and are moving toward standard spelling. Writing is learned in stages; it's not until third grade that many students can be expected to fully accomplish basic writing skills. 5 Total Points
  • Review 2 Articles: Second Grade Writing Worksheets; Second Grade Grammar Worksheets
  • Complete: Lesson 4 Exam

Lesson 5 : Mathematics

In 2nd grade, children may be learning simple math concepts, but they are building the foundation of their reasoning abilities. 5 Total Points
  • Review Article: Second Grade Math Worksheets
  • Complete: Lesson 5 Exam

Lesson 6 : Science

Children are naturally curious about their environment. Educators recommend building on this curiosity as a way to generate interest in science learning. 5 Total Points
  • Review 2 Articles: Second Grade Science Activities; Second Grade Science Fair Ideas
  • Complete: Lesson 6 Exam

Lesson 7 : Social Studies

In the early grades, educators suggest not to focus the social studies curriculum on memorizing facts. Instead, give students the opportunity to study widely and deeply on a range of social studies topics. 5 Total Points
  • Review 2 Articles: Second Grade Social Studies Worksheets; Social Science Resources
  • Complete: Lesson 7 Exam

Lesson 8 : Art

Humans are both rational and emotional beings. Malcolm Ross, in his book The Creative Arts, finds that schools too often teach only to the rational mind.1 This is a mistake, he argues, because we make sense of the world with both types of thinking. 5 Total Points
  • Review 2 Articles: Second Grade Art Lessons; Arts and Crafts Activities
  • Complete: Lesson 8 Exam

Lesson 9 : Music

Music education should be seen as more than an "addition" to children's lives – it is a basic component of their development. In Music in Childhood: From Preschool through the Elementary Grades, the authors stress that musical expression facilitates 5 Total Points
  • Review 2 Articles: Second Grade Music; Music Education
  • Complete: Lesson 9 Exam

Lesson 10 : Dramatic Arts

Dramatic arts is very much like play. Children can use drama to reshape "reality" to make sense of their world, heal if necessary, and develop. Like play, drama offers a chance to release and express feelings. 53 Total Points
  • Review 2 Articles: Drama Class; Mirror Activities
  • Take Poll: 2nd Grade Subjects
  • Take Survey: Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course)
  • Complete: Lesson 10 Exam
  • Complete: The Final Exam
98
Total Course Points
 

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Summarize second grade curriculum needs and requirements.
  • Define techniques to consider when creating curriculum for the second grade.
  • Summarize curriculum needs for reading and literature, writing and grammar usage, mathematics, science, and social studies.
  • Summarize curriculum needs for art, music, and the dramatic arts, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.
 

Additional Course Information

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Course Title: Second Grade Curriculum
Course Number: 8900108
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Category:
Course Type: General Education (Self-Paced, Online Class)
CEU Value: 0.4 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Instructor: Dr. Deirdre Mithaug
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Duration: Continuous: Enroll anytime!
Course Fee: $50.00 (no CEU Certification) || with Online CEU Certification: $75.00

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