2nd Grade Spotlight
The 2nd grade classroom is a wonderful place to be a Carden student. While the children have been developing basic reading, composition, and math skills in kindergarten and 1st grade, by the time they reach 2nd grade, they are ready to put many of those skills to good use on more complex assignments.
For 2nd grade teacher Mrs. Lopez, this makes the school year fascinating – and a lot of fun, too.
“I am really excited about the storytelling aspect of 2nd grade,” she says. “The students are so creative and imaginative, and they like to tell stories.”
This can take the form of creative writing assignments, short compositions, poems, even illustrated stories. The students are rapidly developing their skills in 2nd grade, and they are excited to use what they have learned to explore and discover new concepts.
“They are not just learning to read now,” Mrs. Lopez explains. “They have a full understanding of what they are reading, and they can explain it to me in their own words.”
Being able to recall key events, explain concepts in their own words, and apply their skills to multi-step problems is an important component to the 2nd grade curriculum. Here, the students write book reports, complete studies of different animals, insects, and fruits, and present their research in creative ways.
Mae Carden once wrote the purpose of education is to “equip a child in such a way that the knowledge and skills he attains serve him as tools by which he may express his individuality in the field of his choice.”
With these projects, Mrs. Lopez provides the students with important opportunities to practice their skills while studying subjects that are meaningful to them.
“You can see the students developing their interests as separate from the teacher,” Mrs. Lopez says. “When I taught kindergarten, the students really wanted to impress their teacher and wanted to learn everything that I know. But now that they are in 2nd grade, you start to see their personalities really shine through.”
One of the strengths of the Carden 2nd grade curriculum is in teaching the students specific, foundational skills that can then be used to accelerate student learning in many key areas. For example, in math they learn multiplication techniques up to the 5s – but the same methods can be used for two and even three-digit numbers.
“With multiplication, it has been exciting to see it really click for the students. If I ask them what is 96x3, they understand that really means 96, three times. And suddenly it makes sense for them. They are not just memorizing – they are learning the concepts.”
Teaching key skills to the students allow them to push themselves farther in their learning, which is something that excites the students, Mrs. Lopez explains. And one area where the students excel most is in cursive writing – a critical tool that is still taught in the Carden curriculum.
“When they are learning cursive, they feel like they are learning this secret adult language, and that is exciting for them,” Mrs. Lopez says. “I had a student who recently had to sign a document outside of school, and when she signed it in cursive, the person helping her was so impressed!”
Practicing cursive not only helps the students with their penmanship and overall development but encourages them to take pride in their work as well.
“I see the students take greater care with the quality of their work when they are writing in cursive. When they write in print, it is almost like that is everyday use, so they sometimes rush – but when they switch to cursive, then it is special.”
The Carden 2nd grade classroom is a special place overall, and the students are thriving in the environment that Mrs. Lopez fosters. Although the curriculum is rigorous, the students love new challenges and have grown tremendously during the school year. For Mrs. Lopez, that shows her that her teaching methods are working well.
“I am excited to see the growth in the students,” she says. “And to see how far they can go in their work.”
Want to learn more about our 2nd grade class?
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