I am teaching 2nd grade next year for my first year of teaching! I am very excited but at a total loss on a few things. All of my student teaching and practicum experiences were in the intermediate grades. I have no idea what 2nd graders are usually capable of in the beginning of the year, how independent I should expect them to be or anything! I've been trying to plan out the first few days of school but just don't know where to start- I'm so used to older students! Any help or guidance you all can offer would be very appreciated
I love 2nd grade, but prepare yourself now - they are pretty babyish at first. When I moved from 3rd to 2nd, I was in shock. I'm for another culture shock this fall because I'm currently teaching Rising 4th grade summer school
For example, I found a good 2/3 of my class didn't know how to use a sheet of filler paper ("holes go on the left, write all the way to the pink line, white margin goes on top...")
Most of them can write a complete sentence but need many reminders to use capital letters and periods.
My district expects entering 2nd graders to be able to read on a level DRA 16 when they leave 1st grade. I have no idea what your district expectations are like, but this chart helped me a lot. You can see tiny samples of each book even if you're not a member: http://www.readinga-z.com/correlation-chart.php
There's some very basic info for you, please feel free to chime in with other specific questions.
I taught 2nd grade a while back. Be prepared -- when you tell them to read silently, at least half of them will read out loud -- because they haven't transitioned to silent reading yet. By the end of the year, they should all transition to silent reading.
2nd graders still love to play games, sing songs, and have story time. I love this age group. I currently teach 4th grade (which I also love)... but I have fond memories of teaching 2nd.
They also love to dance. We take a dance break daily to help with the wiggles.
Be very specific in your expectations on everything from how to line up to how to prepare to leave each day. They want to make you happy so they love knowing specifically what you want them to do. They like structure and rules because it makes them feel secure.
Right after Christmas Break they suddenly change academically. They make huge gains and become quite a joy to work with in the class room.
I could go on and on because I love this grade. Feel free to ask questions, and I will do my best to help you.
I help kids write a sentence about their favorite thing to do (this year I might ask them to write about one thing they can do very well...) Together, we write it very neatly on a sentence strip. I cut apart each word of the sentence and toss the cards in a baggie. I make a big deal out of neatness, spelling, capitals, etc. Later, I give each student a baggie and a large sheet of construction paper. The kids reassemble the sentence and glue it at the bottom with an illustration. Then I use the school's binding machine to make a book for our class library.
I have always read Chrysanthemum the first day. As we read, I pass around a copy of the cover. Each time someone insults her or her feels get hurt, I have a child crumple the paper. At the end, we talk about how feelings can't be fixed just because we say we're sorry. The paper (our hearts) always stay crumpled.
A to Z has a wordsearch builder that I have always used for the first day's morning work. I type in the names of all my students and let them have a go. It keeps them occupied while I gather supplies and direct kids where to sit.
We do lots of role modeling and practicing of routines. Last year I made play dough for each child. They used the play dough the first morning or two as a stress reliever. After that we used it for word work or as a free time reward. I also like to get a writing sample to keep. I date it, and at the end of the year I give it back so they can see how far they have come during the year.
We also read a book about things that aren't smart to do. ( I can find the title when I venture upstairs later today.). We then wrote our own version of things that aren't smart to do in school. We made it into a class book for our library.
What else do you want to know? I just had foot surgery, so my mobility is a bit limited. I will grab my school things later today when I go upstairs to get dressed for the day.
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For a big picture outlook, just be sure they are reading everyday and you are discussing with them what they are reading about every day, as well as problem solving in math, no matter how minor. I'm a 3rd grade teacher and these are the two main things I need kids doing. Beyond that, work on their sentence structure so they can express themselves by the end of the year.