The second grade program is designed to prepare our students for the upper elementary experience. This is a pivotal age where children are beginning to soar with their math and reading skills, opening up new opportunities for more advanced learning. A higher level of expectations regarding responsibility and independence is a hallmark of this grade level. The curriculum challenges students to think critically and promotes problem-solving skills that are vital in today’s society.
Students in grades 1-5 use the Building on the Rock curriculum from Summit Ministries. Second graders focus on the theme of fellowship and building a relationship of harmony with God. Key Biblical truths include: God creating us for the praise of His glory, God creating us to depend on Him for all things, sin separating us from fellowship with God, and through Christ we can be restored in fellowship with God. Weekly elementary chapels also help instill a desire for worship and Christian leadership.
Through the use of the Wright Group’s Gear Up! guided reading series, students are leveled using benchmark assessment books. They are then placed on an individualized reading plan. Teachers give direct instruction in comprehension, vocabulary, phonics, phonemic awareness and fluency. Small groups of students who are on similar levels work together with the teacher to progress in their reading skills. Northland expects students to finish second grade on an independent reading level of M or higher. This is the national standard. Northland utilizes the STAR assessment program to show teachers and parents the exact reading level at which a student is proficient. The online Accelerated Reader program encourages the love of reading while developing comprehension and vocabulary skills. Students progress through seven different AR levels, attempting to earn either a bronze, silver or gold medal at the end of the year.
The Wright Group’s Fluency First curriculum is based upon The Fluency Development Lesson, which was highly researched by Drs. Timothy Rasinski and Nancy Padak of Kent State University. Daily lessons use simple and brief reading selections that students practice multiple times before performing for their peers. A total of 5 formal assessments are conducted each year. Vocabulary, fluency, comprehension and word recognition skills are the focus of this entertaining and motivating program.
Explicit phonics and phonemic awareness is taught in grades 1-3 using the Neuhaus Language Enrichment method. The Neuhaus program, developed here in Houston, uses research-based methods of literacy instruction. This curriculum caters to all learning styles, whether auditory, visual or kinesthetic. Research shows that emerging readers who receive phonemic awareness training score significantly higher in reading and spelling in the early elementary years.
The Houghton Mifflin English series is used to teach grammar and writing. The second grade curriculum focuses on basic parts of speech and complete sentences. Capitalization and punctuation are stressed. Daily editing practice is included. This curriculum includes technology links for students and parents to reinforce skills at home.
The Houghton Mifflin English curriculum is used to reinforce writing skills. Students are specifically taught the various genres of writing. Different professional models show students examples of good written composition. Frequent journal writing encourages students to be comfortable with writing informal thoughts, feelings and responses on a regular basis. This also helps students become fluent writers.
The Houghton Mifflin Spelling and Vocabulary series focuses on short and long vowels, words with suffixes, compound words and contractions. Daily practice reinforces concepts. Weekly tests are administered to check for mastery. Houghton Mifflin provides an educational website for students, teachers and parents that assist with lesson extensions and additional practice.
The Houghton Mifflin Math Expressions Common Core 2013 curriculum provides an excellent balance between computation skills and analysis. Students are expected not only to derive answers, but to justify them as well. Math Expressions focuses on Math Talk, Quick Practice, Student Leaders, Building Concepts and Helping Community. Second grade students learn to add, subtract and multiply. They are introduced to higher level thinking using real-world story problems that may require multiple steps. Hands-on manipulatives and math boards help students understand concepts more fully.
The Scott Foresman 2010 Diamond Edition for science was adopted in 2010. Life, earth and physical science are all included in the second grade study. Students learn about plants and animals and how living things grow and change. Students explore the earth’s land, air and water. They discover how weather changes and how it is affected by the various seasons. Fossils and dinosaurs are also introduced. Matter, energy, forces, motion and sound make up the study on physical science. Second graders explore space and technology as well. Publisher created science kits allow the teachers to provide hands-on experiments and labs for all students.
Second graders utilize the 2010 Harcourt Social Studies curriculum. This curriculum was adopted by the school in the fall of 2010. Students begin the year by studying the concept of governance. They spend some time exploring the world around them as well as natural resources and how they are used. Students are introduced to famous people throughout American history and various cultures in our country. The second grade curriculum builds upon the first grade curriculum and provides a more in-depth look into the United States marketplace. The Harcourt series encourages higher-level thinking and advanced reading skills.
Second grade students attend music class three times a week for 30 minutes per class. Second graders use the solfege notes do, re, mi, so, and la in their music reading, and practice those notes in singing games, rhymes, and hymns. Through the use of Musicplay curriculum, students are taught to distinguish between beat and rhythm, demonstrated on body percussion and instruments. Second grade students perform in a Christmas musical, Western Day square dancing, and a spring musical.
Art is taught by an experienced art instructor 2 days per week. Students learn basic lines, shapes and colors. Art is also integrated into the regular classroom curriculum. Bible crafts and seasonal art projects allow students to be creative on a weekly basis. Students enjoy making Christmas crafts during the holiday season. Special projects include Rodeo Art drawings for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
The elementary Physical Education program was developed by SPARK (Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids) and is taught by two highly-qualified coaches with many years of teaching and coaching experience. P.E. classes are designed to develop skills that enhance learning in the classroom. All students participate in 30 minutes of P.E. daily. Classes are taught in the school’s gymnasium and are highly structured in nature. Our belief is that daily physical activity is essential for good health and well-being. Second grade students continue to develop large-motor and fine-motor skills through various games and activities.
Northland integrates the use of computers and technology into the regular curriculum. Accelerated Reader and other educational software and apps are incorporated into the curriculum. Educational websites are also used to reinforce math and reading skills.