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Overview of Second Grade Curriculum

The second grade curriculum is designed to meet the NJ Student Learning Standards and provide students with the skills and knowledge to face the challenges of the 21st century.

English/Language Arts (ELA)

  • We use the workshop model for both reading and writing instruction. The workshop model incorporates a unique blend of whole-class lessons combined with one-on-one and small-group teacher support that helps to scaffold learners as they strengthen their skills and sharpen their strategic use of new techniques.  
  • Using the philosophy of Reading Workshop, we begin the year modeling reading behaviors, providing instruction on print strategies and offering students opportunities for conversations about their reading.  The children learn how to take a book walk, activate schema, select just right books, advertise books through a book talk, analyze characters and recognize as well as appropriately use nonfiction text features.  The comprehension strategies taught are visualizing, predicting, connecting, questioning, fluency, inferring, and retelling. The comprehension skills covered are main idea/detail, problem/solution, compare/contrast, fact/opinion, cause/effect and sequencing.
  • The second grade team uses the philosophy of Writing Workshop, which focuses on the elements of good writing while incorporating skills in capitalization, punctuation, grammar and spelling.  Units of study include personal narratives, realistic fiction, opinion writing, and non-fiction research to write travel brochures. Students learn how to use a dictionary and thesaurus to enhance their writing skills.  

Word Study

  • The second grade word study program provides interactive, hands-on instruction for phonics, vocabulary and spelling. The program provides systematic, explicit and sequenced instruction.  Second graders will continue to use the Words Their Way program to learn phonics, spelling and vocabulary. This powerful approach to word study encourages students to look closely at words to discover the regularities and conventions of written English needed to read and spell successfully.


  • Everyday Mathematics 4 is a structured, rigorous, and proven program that helps students learn mathematical reasoning and develop strong math skills. Everyday Mathematics not only teaches basic skills but, also expands beyond traditional drills. The program encourages children to understand why math is important and how they reach their answers, so they internalize what they are learning. As a result, students find it easier to remember basic skills, to apply what they know in order to solve problems and to think mathematically.
  • Research has shown that children learn best when new topics are presented at a brisk pace, with multiple exposures over time, and with frequent opportunities for review and practice. The sequence of instruction in Everyday Mathematics has been carefully mapped out to optimize these conditions for learning and retaining knowledge. Children learn and practice all of the basic math facts and they do it in multiple ways, including paper-and-pencil exercises, hands-on use of math manipulatives, and skills-based mathematics games.


  • The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) express a vision in science education that requires students to operate at three dimensions of learning: science and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas.
  • The eight practices of science and engineering that the framework identifies as essential for all students to learn are:
  1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
  2. Developing and using models
  3. Planning and carrying out investigations
  4. Analyzing and interpreting data
  5. Using mathematics and computational thinking
  6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
  7. Engaging in argument from evidence
  8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information.
  • The three units we will focus on this year are Structure & Properties of Matter, Earth Systems and Interdependent Relations. 

Social Studies

  • Social Studies in second grade begins after our first science unit. So, every other unit is a discovery in social studies.  Second graders begin by looking at changemakers. Changemakers have made contributions and created change in society. Change is based on need. Anyone can inspire change. Changemakers can be anyone in our society, past or present.
  • Our second unit is Indigenous People.  Students can learn to appreciate other cultures by studying how indigenous people have influenced the way we live today.  Indigenous people share unique characteristics; many are the same, some are different. Students will learn that indigenous people live all over the world and that where you live affects HOW you live.
  • The final unit will be Explorations.  Students will learn that explorers are curious people who look at the world and travel in or through unfamiliar areas in order to learn about it.  They will also learn that explorers are not only pioneers but, are persistent. Explorers can be found in all areas of our world - land, space, technology, and medicine.  Students will examine how exploration has changed our world in many different ways and how they are connected to people and places far away.