Second Grade

Open Window School second graders enjoy a stimulating curriculum filled with rich, creative experiences. Building on a strong foundation of basic skills in language arts, math, science and social studies, second graders eagerly apply what they have learned and seek opportunities to develop their interests and passions. Open Window second graders are developing into independent learners, comfortable in an environment that integrates core discipline topics and asks them to create, evaluate, hypothesize and experiment. Lessons are taught in small groups, allowing students to work and learn at their appropriate skill level. In classrooms where it is safe to take risks, Open Window second graders build a repertoire of 21st Century skills including collaboration, critical thinking, communication and creativity. The second grade program is organized to include a consistent morning routine, core subjects and specialist classes. It includes daily activities that emphasize social and emotional skills.

Language Arts

Building on a solid foundation of reading and writing skills developed in earlier grades, second graders thrive in the Language Arts program that is designed to nourish literacy at all levels, including those students who enter as fluent, confident readers and writers. Language arts concepts are integrated throughout the core disciplines in the second grade curriculum. Reading is taught in small groups, supported by Words Their Way word study. Students continue to engage in phonics building lessons that are selected according to each student’s need and ability. The second grade reading program incorporates the study of Junior Great Books, with a strong focus on developing critical thinking skills. Twenty minutes of nightly reading at home is an important piece of the learning-to-read process. Through regular practice, second graders are learning to choose, complete, and comprehend appropriate leveled books independently.
Second grade students are becoming independent writers and are provided the instruction and skill development to make this a priority. Students view themselves as creative, competent writers, eager to share their ideas with an audience. Writing is integrated throughout the curriculum, including personal journals, responses to literature, poetry, and creative stories. Handwriting Without Tears lessons emphasize the importance of proper letter formation, sizing, and placement. Communication skills are practiced daily through class discussions, cooperative group experiences and personal interactions.
Curriculum Resources
  • CAFÉ (comprehension, accuracy, fluency and expanded vocabulary)
  • Daily 5 reading, writing and word-work program
  • Junior Great Books
  • Words Their Way
  • 6 + 1 Trait Writing
  • Write Away
  • Handwriting Without Tears
  • iPad apps
  • Fountas & Pinnell Reading Assessment


Second graders work collaboratively in teams to plan and conduct investigations. Learning how to make keen observations and construct an argument with evidence to support a claim, are examples of skills that are taught and practiced. The topics of Magnetism and Electricity, Rocks and Minerals and Taxonomy are used to plan and conduct investigations and to develop models to represent patterns in the real world. These topics are integrated with homeroom projects and activities.


Our lower school students are also supported with many special classes each week including: art, drama, physical education, music, science, Spanish, Library Learning Commons and technology. To find out more about specialists, visit the K-4 specialist page.


Using enVision Math, and supplemental enrichment materials, math instruction is differentiated according to students’ needs and abilities. Math instruction includes hands-on, experiential activities taught in small groups by the lead and associate teacher. Assessment is ongoing and informs the content and pacing of the math instruction.
Curriculum Resources
  • enVision Math
  • Exemplars

Social Studies

The second grade social studies focus is communities. Teachers use the Storypath curriculum, which offers a unique approach to social studies instruction. It uses the basic components of story-setting, characters and plot to organize the social studies curriculum into meaningful and memorable learning experiences. The story structure enables students to become active participants in a problem-based situation resulting in deep involvement and creative exploration of social studies concepts. History, civics, geography, economics and citizenship are recurring strands throughout the year-long study of communities. Time for Kids introduces and facilitates an understanding of current events as it relates to the student and his or her community. Second graders also learn about the history of Open Window School and its surrounding community.
Curriculum Resources
  • Democracy in Action: Communities Make Decisions
  • The Toy Company: Understanding the Marketplace

Social & Emotional

In Lower School, social and emotional learning (SEL) instruction is taught formally by teachers and counselors twice weekly, however this learning about self and others takes place organically throughout the entire school day and in all environments as students and teachers interact with one another. Year by year, the program builds with SEL concepts relevant to the needs of our students. Lessons are intentionally designed for students to develop respect for themselves and others, gain emotional awareness and control, learn effective communication skills, and set and achieve their academic goals.
Formal SEL lessons take place through 30 minute meetings that bring students into a circle for a range of experiences including classroom instruction, group discussions, reflections, role-play, community building activities, problem solving, and a variety of mindfulness practices including guided imagery, relaxation and yoga. These meetings provide time for students to learn and practice new skills, while simultaneously developing an understanding of what it means to be both an individual and a group member. These skills are necessary for school success, and they are also necessary for life success.
In first through fourth grades students continue to address topics that are age appropriate and applicable to their needs. They learn critical interpersonal skills such as “I- statements” and finding win/win solutions. They compare and assess the value of different communication styles such as assertive, passive-aggressive, etc., and discuss how these styles help or hinder problem-solving efforts. Social awareness is emphasized through lessons that foster perspective taking skills and develop increased empathy for others. We also provide activities that promote self-awareness and self-management. Students learn about character traits such as gratitude and persistence, along with Executive Function skills such as flexibility, planning and organization, and impulse control. They practice Mindfulness techniques to develop their attention, concentration and sense of well-being.