Mrs. Elliott and Mrs. Lee are the second grade teachers. Both classrooms have a teaching assistant or aide in the room at various times during the day. Each classroom teacher leads the instruction in all academic areas in her classroom.
Phonics skills are taught either in a whole-group or small group setting using a combination of the Lindamood-Bell program, the Orton-Gillingham approach to language, and the SPIRE program. Multisensory activities as well as interactive SMART board activities provide opportunities to practice phonics skills.
The reading curriculum in second grade uses the SRA phonetic-based reading series as well as the Houghton-Mifflin sight word based readers. Students work individually or in small groups with their teacher on reading skills. A Reading Specialist also works with the students on sight word recognition during their reading time. Students continue to practice their reading skills with the Accelerated Reader program along with participating in the Book-It reading program.
During reading time, the classroom is structured to help the students work independently in literacy tasks, such as reading to self, working on writing, word work, listening to reading and reading to someone else. These activities might use centers, pencil and paper, iPad apps, online and computer-based software programs. While the students are engaged in independent literacy tasks, the teacher is able to work with small groups and individuals.
To further foster a love of reading, both second grade classes periodically have a visit from a Mystery Reader. The Mystery Reader can be a parent, grandparent or special friend of a student who comes to the classroom, sometimes dressed as a book character, and reads a favorite book aloud.
The foundation of the second grade spelling curriculum is based in the Sitton Spelling program, Saxon spelling, or the Daily Language Review or the Orton-Gillingham approach to language. Spelling and grammar skills are continually practiced within the context of written assignments and multi-sensory activities, as well as through computer-based programs such as Spelling City.
Written language skills are practiced daily using a variety of programs and resources. Creative writing in second grade includes journal writing, expository writing, and letter writing. Within the context of the Self-Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD) program, the students learn sentence formation, capitalization, punctuation, editing, parts of speech, and paragraph structure.
The Handwriting Without Tears program is used throughout the year to help the students develop correct handwriting techniques. Use of the interactive HWT website on the SMART board gives the students the opportunity to use their large muscle groups as they practice the proper letter formation strokes.
The students divide into smaller groups for math instruction. Our math curriculum scaffolds to meet the needs of individual students with hands-on learning and visual models that support and optimize the learning experience. The visual models, including bar models, help students develop the ability to visualize mathematical situations, which is key to becoming a successful problem solver. The emphasis on the concrete-pictorial-abstract (CPA) approach allows students to gain a deeper conceptual understanding through manipulatives, diagrams and models, and then, abstract symbols. The PHPS math curriculum is supplemented with Greg Tang’s new interactive website that aligns with the concrete-pictorial-abstract approach, and the IXL online math program that enhances skills practice.
Science concepts are taught using videos, experiments, and materials drawn from a variety of sources. Some of the areas of study in second grade include bats, magnets, states of matter, sound, the environment, the water cycle, spiders and electricity.
The social studies units covered in second grade include map skills, Native Americans, Pilgrims, Holiday Customs Around the World, Martin Luther King, Jr., George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Tall Tales, and Texas facts and symbols.
The second grade sponsors two community service events each year. Projects have included collecting and organizing school necessities such as coats and supplies for McShan Elementary. In the spring, 2nd graders participate at Hunger Busters, a Dallas-based organization focused on providing a much needed third meal to food-insecure children in DISD.
Second grade students receive additional instruction in the following areas:
Fine Motor lab-2 days a week
P. E.-3 days a week
Music- 2 days a week
Tech Lab-2 days a week
Art -1 day a week for an hour
Drama: Once a year, a representative from the Dallas Children’s Theater works with the class for 10 sessions to create an original drama production, which is performed for other students.