Mrs. Kathleen Downing
Welcome! Here is what you need to know about
second grade at St. Ignatius.
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. Father John will also be visiting our class once a month. The service learning project in second grade is to write letters to St. Ignatius’ homebound parishioners.
Our math textbooks (EnVisions) this year will cover the following topics:
Second graders will use manipluatives to explore many of these math topics, but they will 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. Your help at home is essential to your student’s success. We will be assessing speed and accuracy of the math facts each month. In order to see improvement, skills need to be practiced at home.
Second graders will study nutrition, weather, magnets, and simple engineering (students will learn and use the Engineering Design Process).
We will be focusing heavily on map skills this year in Social Studies. Other units include government, protecting the Earth, and our working world. Another unit this year will be a study of the history of Portland. We will also have a current events portion to our social studies curriculum. Students will receive “Scholastic News” magazines a few times each month. Another expectation I have is that every student leaves second grade with their address and phone number memorized. This will be practiced throughout the year.
We will spend a lot of time at the beginning of the year learning how to responsibly use the COWs (Computers on Wheels). The convenience of having laptops means that second graders will have more opportunities to practice some basic skills through our computer games and programs. In February, students will begin using Read, Write, and Type, an introductory keyboarding program that combines basic keyboarding skills with phonics. This program will help prepare students for daily keyboarding practice that happens in third grade. We will also be working a bit with Microsoft PowerPoint a few times this year.
This fall, we will be working 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. If you would like to see the entire scope and sequence of the program we use at St. Ignatius in grades K-8, go to www.commonsensemedia.org and search Digital Citizenship.
Students learned basic reading skills in kindergarten and first grade. This year we will 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. 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. Our reading textbook, “Journeys” will be sent home at least once a week for some assigned reading. 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! We are lucky to have another teacher during our reading time. Mrs. Lundgren will be working with every second grader throughout the year. Second graders will have 8 vocabulary words a week that we will study. We will work especially hard on learning to use context clues for vocabulary development.
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 will have a pre-test of 12 words and 8 challenge words that come from our vocabulary 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 will go home on Monday. We will 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. Phonics goes hand in hand with spelling and reading.
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 will also be studying the different forms of writing. Students will be expected to edit their own work more frequently. As mentioned earlier, editing skills are practiced daily through our morning work. Each second grader also has a spelling dictionary that they use in their writing. Handwriting will continue to be practiced (cursive is taught in 3rd grade). Grammar skills that are focused on this year include nouns, verbs, contractions, and adjectives.
Students have P.E. three times a week with Mr. Brobeck: Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.
Second grade has music class three times a week with Mr. MacKenzie: Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
Second graders will be in the library with Mrs. McDermott on Monday and Friday. This year students will be learning more about how to use the library, as well as author and genre studies.
This year, again, every student (K-8) will participate in standardized testing. We are using Renaissance Learning’s STAR Assessments for Early Literacy, Reading, and Math. A great benefit of STAR is that the tests are computer adaptive, meaning that the test will assess your child’s highest level of achievement. I am very excited to have second graders participate in this testing; it provides wonderful data that helps drive instruction. This is the only year that students will actually be taking three tests. Second graders all take the Early Literacy test, as well as Math and Reading.
Second graders receive their homework weekly. On Mondays they will 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 to be recorded in the reading log on the packet cover page. Please make sure at least half of their reading time is spent reading aloud. 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 you informed on which skills we are working on. Homework is not graded because I expect students to get some help each week