Academic Program
Lower School

Grade 2

Grade 2

Students in Grade 2 build their confidence and sense of achievement as they learn to independently pursue interests using focused inquiry and thoughtful research.
As part of the Responsive Classroom practice, students help create their classroom agreements, engage in morning meetings, and use collaborative strategies to resolve misunderstandings and disagreements. Students are encouraged to care for themselves, for one another, and for their whole school community, with the steady guidance and support of their two homeroom teachers. Each student continues her individual progress, deepening her skills for reading, writing, mathematics, and social studies, while engaging in a thoughtful mix of individual and collaborative group work. Outside the homeroom, students expand a wide range of skills in library, PE, dance, music, art, STEAM, science, and Spanish.

Grade 2 Curriculum

List of 10 items.

  • Literacy

    Students become active readers with the skills to question the text, summarize, analyze, and make predictions, while connecting personally to elements of character and plot. As nonfiction writers, students learn to research, take notes, paraphrase, and organize new information to share with others. Through free writing cycles and realistic fiction projects, students develop their voice as authors, including skills like use of dialogue, character development, problems and solutions, and structuring a story arc. In Word Study, students analyze spelling patterns and practice applying them to their own written work.
  • Mathematics

    Students extend their understanding of place value and build fluency as they develop the ability to work flexibly and efficiently with larger numbers. Using a variety of mathematical models, students record and share their problem solving process as they work through more complex addition and subtraction problems. Students learn more about time, geometry, currency, standard units of measure and fractions, and apply their growing understanding to real-life situations.
  • Social Studies

    Students explore their family histories along with the ways that our city functions and responds to the needs of New Yorkers. Students design an interview protocol for use with each of their families, then share what they learn about traditions, experiences, and how their family came to live in or near New York City. This personal lens broadens into a study of community geography, as students learn foundational mapping skills and practice reading and giving cardinal directions. Using research, field trips, and expert interviews, students explore interconnected systems that keep the city moving: learning about how food, waste, and transportation are managed. Students apply all they’ve learned as they design potential solutions for real-world challenges related to these community systems.
  • Art

    Work in the art studio offers instruction and practice in new skill sets, along with the freedom to explore and take risks. Students build confidence in their own creative instincts as they learn to express themselves visually with a wide variety of materials including paint, clay, and collage. Creating a movable Mini-Me puppet engages students in the challenge of depicting the body in motion. Collage offers the opportunity to explore repetition, symmetry, and composition, deepening students' understanding of patterns. With clay, students hone their skills as they create pinch pots with sculptural attachments.
  • Dance

    Students explore aspects of jazz, ballet, and modern dance, along with choreographic tools from Laban Movement Analysis, as they practice skills and design dance pieces of their own. Working in pairs and small groups, students develop their collaboration skills with strong support for positive process. Students learn to represent movement using Language of Dance symbols, integrating literacy tools as part of their dance experience.
  • Physical Education and Athletics

    Students develop body awareness, strength, power and flexibility as they learn proper technique for a variety of manipulative skills such as throwing, catching, dribbling, kicking, striking, and volleying in isolation and in organized games. Advanced tumbling movements combine balance, flexibility, and strength, including some work with apparatus. With abundant opportunities for partner work and teamwork, students build confidence in their skills for communication, self-assertion, listening, negotiating, and collaborating to achieve a common goal.
  • Science

    Students use scientific skills as they learn about simple machines and magnetism at the start of the year. They continue to build skills needed to work as scientists, engaging in both “fair test” experiments and the Engineering Design Process with these principles. In their unit “Science of Sound” students study the concepts of vibration, amplification, timbre, and pitch by building their own instruments using recycled materials. They hone their observational skills with a final investigation of snails, to learn about habitat and adaptations.
  • Spanish

    Students develop their listening and speaking skills as they’re immersed in Spanish language dialogue, activities, songs, and games. Vocabulary focuses on communication about real-world topics such as days of the week, months, seasons, colors, shapes, numbers, parts of the body, clothing, vehicles, jobs, and professions. In assigned written work, students review and build upon the everyday communication skills covered in class.
  • Music

    Students engage with music through singing and listening activities, creative movement, multi-sensory projects, improvisation, and composition using instrumental and vocal music from around the world. Working in ensembles, students hone their musical memory as well as their rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic accuracy. Sight-singing and ear-training become more complex and nuanced as their musical confidence and sensitivity to other singers and the conductor grows. Students enjoy the safe and engaging space of music class, learning about themselves, their classmates, and the world around them through active music making.

    STEAM class balances conceptual learning about coding principles and vocabulary along with ample opportunities for hands-on exploration. Using a variety of technology-based applications and materials, students design, build, trouble-shoot, and improve their own creative projects.

Curriculum Highlights

Explore Our Curriculum

A K-12 independent school in New York city, The Spence School prepares a diverse community of girls and young women for the demands of academic excellence and responsible citizenship.


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