Lower School

Second Grade

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      2nd grade

Second Grade Overview

We have two sections in second grade — each section has a lead teacher and an associate teacher. Classes range from 22-23 students with attention paid to the continued development of reading, writing, and math skills while also learning more about social studies, science, and the arts. The curriculum and teaching approach is focused on empowering our students to become confident, independent learners and leaders.

Students continue to build on the social-emotional learning skills they have gained to identify feelings, work through challenging social situations, and regulate their emotions. These include mindfulness, empathy, teamwork, and understanding their role in the community.

Academic Snapshots

List of 3 items.

  • Language Arts

    We utilize the Teachers' College Units of Study for Reading, Writing, and Phonics.
    In second grade Reader's Workshop, Burke’s instills a love of reading in students and supports their development as avid readers. Students read every day and have a selection of books ready so that they can practice their inference skills, and reflect on character development, and author intentions.  
    Word study is an exciting component of the language arts curriculum with a foundation in children's development of phonics and spelling stages. Students practice wondering and inquiring about words and understanding the connection between how a word is spelled and its meaning. Students practice recognizing patterns in the English language through dictation, sorting, letter/sound manipulation, games, and activities.
    Writing Workshop is meant to empower students to voice their thoughts and ideas through writing. In a modern world where information is communicated by writing more than ever (text messaging, email, social media, search engines), students must learn how to communicate clearly and concisely. Burke’s emphasizes organization, idea generation, word choice, sentence fluency, voice, and conventions. We guide each student to see themselves as a writer who is able to clearly and confidently convey themselves through the written word.
  • Math

    The goal of the second-grade math program is to build conceptual understanding while practicing skills with more complex numbers and operations. During math discussions, games, and activities, second graders develop and communicate their problem-solving strategies. To make place value more tangible, students solve problems using hundreds, tens, and ones. This work builds a foundation for more efficient strategies to solve two-digit addition and subtraction story problems. They explain their thinking in class discussions and show their work using a variety of visual representations. In our continued work with numbers and operations, students practice reading and interpreting multi-step story problems. Students develop fluency and accuracy with numerical reasoning for adding and subtracting within one hundred. A highlight in the second-grade math curriculum is our measurement and data analysis unit, where students develop flexibility, resiliency, and confidence by exploring, interpreting, and comparing sets of data.
  • Social Studies

    In second grade, the year begins with establishing a safe and welcoming classroom environment to bolster our continued focus on communities. Students consider how individual choices impact others, how to positively contribute to their community, and how diverse perspectives can foster strong connections and relationships. Second graders build their self-awareness and confidence to navigate a continually changing and complex society. They listen to stories and read books about strong girls who persevere in difficult situations and study women who make a difference.
    Burke’s social studies curriculum prepares our students to be contributing members of the world community through age-appropriate inquiry:
    • Culture
    • Time, Continuity, and Change
    • People, Places, and Environments
    • Individual Development and Identity
    • Global Connections
    • Civic Ideas and Practices

    Our social studies curriculum strives to have students interpret and justify a variety of perspectives and understand that individuals can make a difference.

Specialist Programs

List of 7 items.

  • Art

    Second graders explore the works of local and international women artists utilizing a variety of styles and media. Students work on figure and facial proportions and experiment with close-up perspectives and abstraction. They continue to develop process skills such as cutting, gluing, collage making, clay modeling, drawing, painting, and clay work, as well as continue to study the elements of art (line, color, shape, pattern, texture, and size) through various pre-planned and emergent projects.
    Students continue working in their personal sketchbooks, where they “free-draw", and do sketching exercises to build skills and an understanding of artistic concepts. 
  • Library

    Throughout the year, second graders answer the question: How can I grow as a researcher, reader, and learner? They participate in several author and illustrator studies, wherein they learn the background of the creator, identify story elements, analyze artistic choices, and compare and contrast books by the same creators.

    They also focus on realistic fiction and identify its elements. They make text-to-self connections when studying these chapter books. Students learn about digital citizenship with Common Sense Media lessons. They end the year with a collaborative unit between the Library and the classroom about women who make a difference.
  • Makery

    The Makery curriculum for second graders emphasizes two related goals: 1) learning to use a variety of media, materials, and tools; and 2) learning the skills needed to make, share, find, solve, protect, and learn. Content and learning goals for different projects often come from core and special classes. As they make, the students practice the skills of attention, perseverance, flexibility, and, for the first time, project management.
  • Music

    Half notes, whole notes and do, re, mi! Can I figure out this melody? “Ear Detectives” ask questions, expanding listening skills and world music literacy. Is my voice on pitch, high, low, light or heavy? How do music and dance fit into cultures and history?
    Second graders continue to develop their music reading and learn new games, dances, songs, and instrumental pieces to challenge and build their growing music skills. They are active singers at the weekly Lower School assemblies, in the Lower School Holiday Sing-Along, and in other gatherings throughout the year.
    Music and dance are often a large part of the second-grade play. Another highlight of second-grade music is a gourd drum unit focusing on West African rhythms in which students learn technique, build ensemble skills, and have opportunities for self-expression through improvisation. 
  • Physical Education

    Second graders meet daily and build on their kindergarten and first-grade experience as they add a variety of skill development activities. Lead-up games are introduced such as: "Not In My Back Yard", tag games, as well as sport development games including skills for volleyball, basketball, softball, soccer, hockey, lacrosse, frisbee, track and field events, circus arts, and football.
  • Science

    Second-grade science focuses heavily on the life sciences, including units on the human body, snails, and animal adaptations, along with smaller units on landforms and measuring in science. Through these topics, second graders continue to build science skills like experimental design, observation, recognizing patterns, and communicating ideas through pictures and words.
    To give a glimpse into the science room, here is an example unit from second grade:
    In the winter, each second-grade classroom becomes home to a colony of garden snails, collected by the students themselves. After practicing scientific drawing and generating questions from their observations, second graders dive into experimental design to learn more about these small creatures. In pairs and trios, students design and carried out first an experiment about what snails like to eat, then a second experiment based on their own interests. Through these experiments, they practice asking investigable questions, planning, predicting, collecting and organizing data, and drawing conclusions from the evidence. Other topics involved in the snail study are life cycles, snail anatomy, the components of a habitat, and how to take care of small creatures with kindness.
  • Theater

    Second graders create and perform a play each year for the community.

    Lower School Theatre Arts present a stage for students to see and explore the world, explore it, and express themselves. Theater is an ensemble art form that requires collaboration, teamwork, creativity, spontaneity, planning, artistry, sequencing, spatial awareness, repetition, revision, passion, and emotional expression: all skills that are required in life, regardless of whether one enters theatre as their life’s work or not.

Second Grade Faculty

List of 4 members.

  • Photo of Lindy Ancelovici

    Lindy Ancelovici 

    Second-Grade Teacher
    415.751.0187, ext. 370
  • Photo of Billie Kallem

    Billie Kallem 

    Associate Teacher
  • Photo of Kelley Vauk

    Kelley Vauk 

    Second-Grade Teacher
    415.751.0187, ext. 271
  • Photo of Taylor Belmonte

    Taylor Belmonte 

    Associate Teacher
Burke's mission is to educate, encourage and empower girls. Our school combines academic excellence with an appreciation for childhood so that students thrive as learners, develop a strong sense of self, contribute to community, and fulfill their potential, now and throughout life.
Burke's admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.