Mrs. Kathleen Downing
Welcome! My name is Kathleen Downing and I have been teaching at St. Ignatius since 2004. I am also a proud alumnus of the school. My two daughters have also attended St. Ignatius since their preschool years.
We see a lot of maturity between first and second grade. Second graders are expected to be role models to the younger students in our school. With preschoolers and kindergartners across the hall, this is especially important. Part of this requires that they be more independent throughout the day. Second grade is a structured and organized classroom where learning is challenging and FUN!
Here are some of the highlights in the curriculum of second grade at St. Ignatius School:
Second grade is exciting for most students because they will be working towards receiving two sacraments, Reconciliation and their First Eucharist. We will also be studying the actions, miracles, and parables of Jesus. We receive the weekly magazine, “Good News,” in which we hear and discuss the gospel for the upcoming Sunday. The service learning project in second grade is to write letters to St. Ignatius’ longtime parishioners. We write a letter each month. This project helps connect students to the parish in a meaningful way.
Students learned basic reading skills in kindergarten and first grade. In second grade we fine tune these skills. In third grade, students are no longer learning to read, they are reading to learn. In order for students to be ready for third grade, they need to have solid reading and decoding skills. Phonemic awareness and phonics is the backbone of reading fluently. Fluency is very important, and the best way to improve is by reading aloud to someone daily.
Reading is part of the homework every week. We have many resources in the classroom; students are surrounded by so many things that will help them become better readers, but practice at home is still essential! Comprehension skills covered include drawing conclusions, making inferences, summarizing, and sequencing. We will continue our work on close reading of informational texts that all students worked on last year. We will work on citing evidence from these texts to better understand what we are reading.
Spelling is new to second grade students. Every Monday we have a pre-test of 12 words and 8 challenge words that are also the vocabulary words in reading. This pretest is merely to gauge what each student already knows. Then, throughout the week, we will be practicing how to spell these words. Students should be practicing at home as well; the list goes home in homework on Monday. We have the spelling posttest on the last day of the week. Many weeks, the spelling words may seem easy, but that is because we are really working on phonics skills that can be transferred to spelling more complex words later on.
Writing and Grammar
Second graders are encouraged to write more independently and to rely less on others to help with spelling, ideas, and mechanics. We have journals that we write in each week. We also study three different forms of writing (opinion, informational, and narrative). Students are expected to edit their own work more frequently. We also publish our writing in the form of a class book in the winter or spring. Each second grader also has a spelling dictionary that they use in their writing. Grammar skills that are focused on this year include nouns, verbs, and adjectives.
In second grade we cover the following topics in math:
Second graders use manipulatives to explore many of these math topics, but they also need to work on mental math and math fact fluency. The skills of double and triple digit addition and subtraction are easier to learn if basic math facts are practiced.
We use Mystery Science to meet the Next Generation Science Standards. The following units are covered during second grade:
The units covered in second grade include:
We will have computer class twice a week with the assistance of Mr. Auer.
We will use the following programs in second grade:
In the fall we work through our Digital Citizenship program. For second graders, this means learning about being safe on websites, understanding how important passwords are, and writing emails responsibly.
Second graders receive their homework weekly. On Mondays they receive a packet of work they are expected to complete during the week. They are also expected to read every day for at least 10 minutes, which is recorded in the reading log on the packet cover page. Homework is due at the end of the week. Homework is NOT busy work. It is meant to enhance basic skills through practice! It is also meant to keep parents informed on which skills we are working on. Homework is not graded because I expect students to get some help each week. I do check homework over to make sure things are completed and done correctly.