Grade 2


The year begins with students developing an independent reading life through the study of fiction. Students learn how to choose books at their independent reading level, applying decoding strategies, finding meaning of words, and developing reading comprehension skills. Then students turn their attention to reading non-fiction, using text features to further develop their understanding of informational texts. As students read realistic fiction they distinguish multiple character traits, motivations, actions, and feelings. Additionally, students compare, contrast, and make connections to characters, themselves, others, and the world. They generate predictions based on implicit and explicit information from a text. As we wrap up the year, students eagerly await the excitement of engaging in book club conversations for the first time and responding to text through writing, partnership talks, and conferring. 

Students build upon their foundational reading skills and become fluent readers who demonstrate understanding of what they read. Reading Workshop provides opportunities for students to learn, develop, and apply reading comprehension strategies. Students establish reading routines by selecting books at their independent reading levels and from a variety of genres. Students independently apply new reading strategies and behaviors. Each student has one-on-one conferences with the teacher working on specific decoding or comprehension strategies, based on individual needs. Key concepts covered in the curriculum include making connections to the world, to other texts and to themselves, questioning the text, making inferences, and answering questions.


Writing Workshop provides a framework in which students learn to cultivate and understand narrative, expository, and opinion writing. Students travel through the writing process by drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. Students build independence through teacher and author mentorship throughout the writing process. During one-on-one conferences, students work to develop the skills needed to enhance their skills as a writer.

Writing across many genres fosters the students’ ability to independently apply a variety of writing skills. Throughout the narrative units, students learn to generate ideas independently, write sequentially, and include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings. When studying expository writing, students learn to introduce a topic and use facts and definitions to develop points. Opinion writing provides students an opportunity to supply reasons to support an opinion and use linking words to connect opinion and reasons. Second graders understand their writing benefits from planning, revising, and editing. Upon finishing a draft, students go back through their work to revise and make their writing stronger. During the editing process students are expected to check spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. 


In 2nd Grade, students are exposed to everyday math situations. A balanced approach to instruction provides students a foundation through hands-on activities, games, fact practice, and daily routines. A focus on problem solving enables students to achieve true proficiency as they use and share multiple strategies and explain their mathematical thinking. Repeated exposure to mathematical concepts and skills increases mastery. 

Skills reinforced throughout the year include place value, addition and subtraction of whole numbers, and foundational skills for multiplication and division. Students also learn and apply their understanding of money, measurement, time, data and graphing, and geometry.

Social Studies

Students in the 2nd Grade journey around the world as they explore traditions and customs of various cultures. Students study basic needs and how they are met within a community.  They develop cultural awareness and analyze what makes them unique. From there, students investigate the cultural themes of communication, games, food, the arts, and celebrations. Students connect these themes to their own ancestry as they learn about immigration, specifically the Underground Railroad and European immigration. As a way to bridge immigration to our location, students explore and compare the various neighborhoods around New York City.

Performances, field trips, and real-life simulations support students’ growth throughout our units of study. Throughout the year they will build upon their map skills, understand multiple perspectives, compare and contrast the past and present, and find importance in global citizenship.


Students begin by studying flight and aerodynamics. They test Bernoulli’s Principle and learn about lift, thrust, and drag by building and modifying paper airplanes. They make parachutes and experiment with whether a paperclip will fall faster with or without one attached. Next, they explore what kinds of objects are magnetic, and test the strength of different magnets. They also observe magnetic fields, using iron filings and simple bar magnets to examine the magnets’ North and South poles. They bridge their study by using batteries and wires to examine the connection between electricity and magnetism. Next, the students use balloons and other materials to examine static electricity and current electricity. They model electricity with snap circuits and describe the similarities and differences between parallel and series circuits. This leads into a study of light and color, where students use prisms to separate white light into the colors of the spectrum. They also explore the color cycle, reflection and absorption.

In the spring, 2nd Grade students take part in the hatching of chicken eggs. They model and explore the parts of an egg, turn and candle the chick eggs to evaluate progress, and finally care for the hatched chicks. During the rest of the school year, students study weather. They learn about the major causes of winds and movements of air masses, using pinwheels to observe onshore winds. They study the formations of clouds and create their own clouds inside bottles, as well as comic strip stories about their journey through the water cycle. Students also learn about the forces at work behind tornadoes and hurricanes, capping this unit of study with a hurricane-tracking exercise of Hurricane Katrina. Throughout the year, 2nd Grade students collaborate with 9th Grade students. They come together to perform experiments, study science topics and discuss findings.


In 2nd Grade Mandarin, students review and build on previously learned material. Students continue to mimic what they hear and see in the language so they can eventually produce language independently. Students practice common types of interpersonal communication and basic classroom routines, using very simple phrases. New vocabulary and structures are also introduced and practiced in a variety of everyday, familiar contexts and students are introduced to simple Chinese characters, with an emphasis on character recognition through reading. Proficiency-based performance tasks reinforce newly introduced content. By the end of the course, students will be able to copy sentence segments and word lists in writing, as well as respond to basic questions through speaking or mimicking words, lists, or simple memorized phrases. Through learning language, students are also exposed to cultural celebrations from different Mandarin-speaking countries.


In 2nd Grade, we review and build on previously learned material. Students practice common types of interpersonal communication and basic classroom routines, using very simple phrases. New vocabulary and structures are also introduced and practiced in a variety of everyday, familiar contexts. Proficiency-based performance tasks reinforce the newly introduced content. Through the interpretation of new Spanish vocabulary and structures, the class explores a number of cultural topics from the Hispanic world. 


In 2nd Grade, we review and build on previously learned material. Students practice common types of interpersonal communication and basic classroom routines, using very simple phrases. New vocabulary and structures are also introduced and practiced in a variety of everyday, familiar contexts. Proficiency-based performance tasks reinforce newly introduced material. Through the interpretation of new French vocabulary and structures, the class explores a number of cultural topics from the Francophone world.

Visual Arts

Students are encouraged to develop their ability to create and respond to meaning in visual imagery, to experiment and problem solve, to express their own ideas, and to reflect on their finished work and works in progress.

Our focus in 2nd Grade is Objects in Art. We start the semester by looking at and creating art in which objects are central in one way or another. We look at Hanna Hoch’s collages and The Bicycle Wheel by Marcel Duchamp, Soup Cans by Andy Warhol, and the large-scale object sculptures by Oldenburg and Van Brugan. We make Dada-inspired collages by cutting up found images and mixing them up. We make large-scale sculptures of everyday objects and create our own series of soup-can drawings.

We then look at artists who seem to abandon objects all together and focus on line or shape. We step into Jackson Pollock’s boots and drip, drop, and splatter paint on large canvas. We make primary color grid collages after looking at Mondrian’s work, and create bold, wavy paper collages after looking at Matisse’s paper cutouts.


The woodworking curriculum is centered on four main principles: the practice of individual safety and awareness of others; teamwork and cooperation between students; the development of tool usage; and a lasting sense of accomplishment and success. The overall goal of the program is for students to increase motor skills and tool usage, as well as develop a strong sense of personal accomplishment, success, and ownership by completing meaningful projects. Students learn how to use straight and coping saws, safety goggles, files, c-clamps, hammers and wood glue to build their projects. Once the project is assembled, students design their project with paint and ink to give it a finished quality and promote ownership and achievement.

Students in 2nd Grade create “Moving Animals” in Woodworking. Students draw and design a moving figure, such as a lion, alligator, elephant, insect, or dragon that they would like to create. Based on their drawings and using reference materials, students then cut and shape the individual parts and assemble them together. Legs, arms, tails, wings, and heads move according to the shape and representation of each chosen figure. Once the entire class has completed their creatures, we work together to make a stop motion film utilizing these figures.

The next project entails students designing a tool or a musical instrument from wood. The project is completed when it is painted and creatively adorned with found materials in the classroom.


In 2nd Grade, students build on previous knowledge and skill development and continue to develop foundational musicianship skills and violin technique. Students continue to develop vocal technique and sing the repertoire they play on words, finger numbers and solfège. Students strive to meet violin posture and instrumental technique benchmarks including keeping their violin up and covering their left shoulder, demonstrating correct left-hand position, making sure their fingers are placed in the correct spots to match pitch when playing the violin, and performing with a correct and flexible bow grip. They think critically and continue to address Essential Questions, including, “How do I make a beautiful sound on the violin?” In addition to utilizing a light bow and staying on one string, students work to keep their bow in “Lane 3” or “bow country” between the bridge and fingerboard. 

Students continue to develop music literacy by reading and performing rhythm patterns and following the melodic contour of song notation. Students connect the solfège they sing to the notes they play, echoing and creating tonal patterns in D Major.  Students play the G, D, and A Major scales in varied meters with accompanying arpeggios. They learn how to use a “low 2nd finger” to perform tonal patterns and repertoire in minor tonalities. They perform a wide variety of repertoire from different genres as well as benchmark songs including “Violin Song,” “Minor Monkey,” and “Lean on Me.” Differentiated parts including bass line, melody, upper octave, and harmony are provided to help students to progress at their own level. Throughout the spring, students learn songs, which relate to their study of immigration and perform these songs at assemblies.

Physical Education

In 2nd Grade, students participate in both competitive and cooperative activities. Our curriculum offers a balance that allows each student to be successful throughout the school year. 

Through warmup games and activities, students strengthen their spatial and body awareness, and locomotive skills such as skipping, galloping, and running. Students will participate in a variety of team sport units, which include soccer, basketball, pillow polo hockey, kickball, and tennis. Students will be introduced to basic team sports concepts such as offense and defense. Our cooperative units include scooter games, bowling, and short/long jump rope. The highlight of our year is the circus arts unit, which incorporates all of the above skills. Students learn the beginning steps of juggling scarfs, plate spinning, and stilt walking. The culmination of the school year is our Lower School Field Day. On this day students compete in relay races and activities, displaying good sportsmanship and respect for classmates.


Students spend the first few weeks of school discussing the importance of water safety, which includes our pool rules and routines. Throughout the year students review skills learned previously and build upon those skills to enhance their stroke development. Each lesson allows for practice of these skills and the time to develop the endurance needed to be a capable swimmer.

The first stroke we break down into phases is the front crawl. Students work on mastering the flutter kick, working on technique and endurance. We then break down the pull phase, teaching students to breathe to the side. Eventually, we combine both arms and legs to have a complete stroke. Students also learn backstroke and breaststroke in the same manner. As safety is always first, all students will end the school year learning how to tread water for an extended period of time.

More Resources

To see curriculum for another grade level, please select an option below:

Contact Us

  • Phone
  • 212-232-0266
  • Fax
  • 212-232-0284
  • Lower School
  • 41 Broad St
  • New York, NY 10004
  • USA
  • Upper School
  • 1 Morris St
  • New York, NY 10004
  • USA

Social Media

Request Information

Copyright 2015 Léman Manhattan

Request Information