Second Grade


Second Graders will be immersed in a language and literature rich curriculum that encourages children to take chances and that motivates them to continue to practice and refine their skills.

Second Graders practice and experience reading in many ways.

Second Graders will be read to every day to introduce them to new language and various types of writing, and to reinforce the joy of listening to and talking about stories. They will also develop their own reading skills through direct instruction, silent reading, and reading in small groups or literature circles.

Second Graders continue to use phonics.

Second Graders still use phonics – “sounding out” new words. They will experiment with changing the beginning, middle and end sounds to form new words. They will break long words apart and deal with them one syllable or part at a time.

Second Graders use more difficult words.

Second Graders are reading words with more than one syllable. They learn how to break apart new words, looking for the root word by separating suffixes and prefixes. (They might decode the word “undoing” by finding the root word “do” after pulling off the prefix “un-” and suffix “ing”.)

Second Graders build a list of words they can read.

Second Graders will continue to build their knowledge of “sight words” (words that they recognize without sounding out). The first few times they see a new word, they will still have to sound it out and break it down. Through repetition and by seeing the words in meaningful contexts, students will add more words to their reading vocabulary.

Second Graders learn that there are different things to read.

Second Graders explore different types of written material. They learn that people use writing to entertain, to explain, to give information, and to persuade, and they experience these purposes in stories, poems, songs, newspapers, signs and many other forms.

Second Graders learn new words and ideas.

Second Graders will learn new words and extend their vocabulary through rich reading experiences and through using strategies such as context to figure out the meanings of unfamiliar words. Reading will also introduce students to new ideas, cultures, and experiences found in good literature and nonfiction. By responding to reading through discussions and written responses, they will connect what they read to their growing experience and knowledge base.


At Cornerstone, reading and writing go hand in hand to develop literacy and thinking skills.

Second Graders can write sentences correctly.

Second Graders know that every sentence must begin with a capital letter and end with a period, question mark or exclamation mark. They learn to use quotation marks to show when someone is talking. They are starting to learn how to use commas.

Second Graders correctly spell most one-syllable words.

Although Second Graders still use some inventive (phonetic) spelling, they are spelling more and more words correctly the first time. They learn many letter clusters, such as: -ake, -air, -ing, or -oat that they can use to write most words. They now know many ways to spell different vowel sounds.

Second Graders learn to add suffixes and prefixes to words.

Second Graders learn that they can change a word by adding a suffix or prefix. The word “sing” can become “singer” by adding the suffix -er. “Happy” can become “unhappy” by adding the prefix -un.

Second Graders learn that writing is a process.

Second Graders will learn that writing requires time for creating and organizing ideas, adding details, and making their sentences clearer and easier for readers to understand. They will often spend time using creating techniques to discover ideas, and they will see how writing improves when they move ideas around or add details.

Second Graders will go back and check their work for spelling errors; for periods at the end of a sentence; for missed commas and question marks; for capital letters at the beginning of sentences, names, months, days and places; and for quotation marks around dialogue.

Second Graders learn that there are many purposes for writing.

Second Graders learn that people write creatively with songs, poetry and stories. They learn that writing can be used to inform, like articles in newspapers, textbooks, or nonfiction books. They also learn that writing can help them with tasks if they create a shopping list or write a letter, for example.

Second Graders use writing to study other subjects.

Second Graders use notebooks or journals for other subjects such as science, social studies and health. They might use the journals to answer questions, to brainstorm their own questions and ideas, and to write descriptions of things they observe.

Second Graders study spelling.

New words are studied and reinforced with spelling practice and tests and through direct instruction of spelling strategies. Students also improve their spelling by keeping lists of words they commonly misspell, and by editing their own writing.


Cornerstone uses the University of Chicago’s Everyday Mathematics program, a progressive curriculum that presents concepts in a spiral manner. This means that concepts are presented over multiple years so that students are given several exposures to skills before they are expected to master them.

Second Graders do lots of activities with the numbers 0 to 1000.

Second Graders learn to recognize and practice writing the numerals (written numbers) 0 to 1000. They learn to count up to thirty objects and to match numerals to sets containing the same number of objects. They will learn to read the number words, one through one hundred.

Second Graders add and subtract larger numbers.

Second Graders memorize math facts (adding and subtracting) to 18. They learn to use regrouping (carrying) to add 2 and 3 digit numbers.They can add up to 3 single digit numbers

Second Graders work with patterns and shapes.

Second Graders will learn how to continue patterns of geometric shapes or number sequences. They are able to identify various shapes including squares, circles, triangles, rectangles, spheres, cones, cubes, cylinders, hexagons and trapezoids.

Second Graders work with patterns and shapes.

Second Graders learn how to divide basic shapes into halves (1/2), fourths or quarters (1/4) and thirds (1/3) and to read the fraction form.

Second Graders make graphs and read charts.

Second Graders collect data (information) and learn to display it on properly labeled graphs, charts and tables. They learn to locate points on a grid and to find information in a table.

Second Graders learn to measure.

Second Graders learn to measure length to the nearest inch or centimeter using rulers and yardsticks or meter sticks. They learn about inches (in), feet (ft), yards (yd), centimeters (cm) and meters (m). They also measure weight to the nearest pound and capacity (the amount a container holds) to the nearest cup.

Second Graders are introduced to multiplication and division.

Second Graders will learn to do simple multiplication using repeated addition (3 x 4 = 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 = 12). They will learn to divide by sharing equally (16 marbles shared between 4 people equals 4 marbles each). They can skip count by 2’s, 5’s and 10’s.

Second Graders learn about time, money and temperature.

Second Graders learn to tell time to the nearest half-hour, and they learn to solve time problems. They refine their ability to read and understand thermometers. Second Graders also learn to work with money up to $1.00. They learn to make change using many combinations of coins. They learn how to read and write dollar signs ($), decimals (1.00) and cents.


Second Graders are astute observers. They are beginning to discern relationships in the world around them. They are also beginning to sense their impact as individuals.

Second Graders at Cornerstone Learning Community continue to refine their observation skills as they engage in simple experiments. In addition to making reasonable generalizations and predictions, they also learn to formulate simple hypotheses. They use their mathematics knowledge and skills as scientific tools. Scientific equipment such as dissecting microscopes, balances, aquatic dip nets, binoculars, and scientific safety equipment are used to examine the world about them. They use scientific journals as a method to reflect upon their discoveries.

The focus for scientific inquiry in second grade is diversity.

Diversity is an important concept socially as well as scientifically. Topics of investigation may include animals (mammals, insects, fish, birds, reptiles, and amphibians), plants (fungus, trees, grasses, and wildflowers), people, rocks and adaptation.

Second Graders also have the benefit of Cornerstone’s life science teacher twice a month who facilitates gardening with the children. As a yearlong project, the children plant, cultivate, harvest, cook and sample the food grown in their gardens


Second Graders study characteristics of their neighborhoods and history of their community.

Second Graders look at the activities of the people in their neighborhoods. They talk about the need for adults to go to work and the need for children to go to school. They will look at other responsibilities people have when they are not at work or school, such as caring for their homes and families, voting, helping neighbors, or perhaps participating in religious or cultural activities. Second Graders will take several field trips to local historic sites.

Second Graders learn about different cultures in their community.

Second Graders will describe how they are alike and different from others. They will be able to share their own cultural heritage with the class and learn about other cultures through their classmates’ cultural backgrounds. They will have visitors from the community and surrounding area that will expand their understanding of other cultures and customs.

Second Graders learn simple geography and economics.

Second Graders will construct simple maps and drawings of their home, classroom, school or neighborhood. They will be able to point out familiar places on their maps. They will have discussions about the difference between “wants” and “needs” and about some of the uses of money.


The creative drama process is engaging and active. Through the use of creative drama, Cornerstone students are given tools that will help them tap into their own creativity and exercise their imaginations. Each class is guided by the teacher as leader to explore, develop, express and communicate ideas, concepts, and feelings through dramatic enactment. In each grade level, developmentally appropriate activities are used to explore themes using elements of drama to give form and meaning to the experience.

Second grade expands on working cooperatively with peers by using situational exercises in small groups. Narrative pantomime is practiced through the use of literature as a whole class group. Class projects are introduced and possibly produced for one or two other classes.

Through the use of Drama Games the students are encouraged to explore new concepts in a non-threatening environment. The essential goal of creative drama is to impart life skills and increase the student’s awareness of connections in learning.


Second Graders attend formal art classes.

Second Graders will attend a formal art class with an art teacher once a week. They will do projects using a variety of materials and techniques and will be exposed to works of master artists. At Cornerstone Learning Community students are taught that art is a form of communication and a means of expressing themselves. Through this communication and self-expression, art becomes a source of discovery and joy.


Every student in kindergarten through eighth grade attends a minimum of two 50 minute sessions in physical education per week. To reflect the National Association of Sport and Physical Education standards by providing meaningful, appropriate games and activities, the elementary physical education program explores and promotes the development of skill and health related physical activity components.

Students also have at least 30 minutes of recess everyday


Second Graders attend weekly music classes.

Second Graders attend a weekly music class taught by a professional music teacher. The class strengthens and integrates basic music skills such as singing and harmonizing, rhythm, reading, writing and creating of music and instrument playing. Instruction is hands-on and energetic so that children develop enthusiasm for music as a means of artistic expression. They also learn active listening techniques as they listen to examples of traditional music from a variety of cultures.


Second Graders visit a local senior center once a month where they read to and with their special “reading buddies”. Their school service project is maintaining the lost and found bin.