Curricular Highlights: Second Grade


Lake Bluff Elementary School District 65 utilizes a balanced literacy approach. A balanced approach uses a variety of reading, writing and word work instruction, and practice opportunities for students in order to expose them to the rich world of literacy. An essential component of balanced literacy is called “workshop”. Our understanding and implementation of workshop, in District 65, is grounded in the research and practices of Lucy Calkins and her colleagues from the Teachers College, Reading and Writing Project who have developed the Units of Study in both Reading and Writing to guide us.

Reading and Writing Workshops are conducted daily to allow for students to receive personalized learning by engaging with and producing high volumes of both fiction and nonfiction texts of their choosing.  Because all lessons begin with explicit, direct teaching points, workshop prioritizes time for students to be immersed in independent reading and writing work, while teachers provide focused, differentiated instruction in smaller groups. As a result, workshop challenges students to develop the habits and dispositions of lifelong readers and writers.

2nd Grade Reading

In Reading, second graders are exposed to stories and texts across genres. Student learning will be focused on:

  • Consuming longer, more complex texts
  • Developing strong thinking about characters in literature
  • Growing ideas about topics and information in nonfiction texts
  • Studying books in series to synthesize across texts
2nd Grade Writing

In Writing, second graders produce 4 types of texts:

  • The narrative unit asks students to tell a focused, small moment story with detail and elaboration.
  • The informational unit asks students to teach about a topic with elaboration.
  • The opinion unit asks students to include reasons and strong word choices to support an opinion.
  • The poetry unit asks students to use precise language and structure to convey meaning.


Mathematics instruction in District 65 provides the opportunity for all students to have a rigorous, engaging, and accessible curriculum which focuses on developing students’ deep understanding of mathematics concepts. In order to achieve this, students engage in a high level of discourse and are exposed to multiple strategies in order to solve complex problems. The backbone of this instruction comes from Bridges 2nd Edition which has been developed by the Math Learning Center after years and years of research in the field of elementary mathematics instruction.

2nd Grade Math

In second grade, students focus on addition and subtraction, place value, shapes, length measurement. Throughout the year they:

  • Become fluent with addition and subtraction facts with numbers to 20
  • Add and subtract with numbers up to 1,000
  • Measure length and solve problems involving lengths
  • Identify, describe, compare, put together, and take apart shapes
2nd Grade Science

Second grade students analyze the concept of interdependency and biodiversity of living things by studying plants and animals in their natural habitats.

Second graders learn about the difference between physical and chemical changes by learning about properties and applying their knowledge to real world chemistry and engineering in our everyday lives.

Second grade students question earth’s processes and how slow and fast land changes have affected our earth. 

2nd Grade Social Studies

In second grade, students use questions to drive their curiosity, investigate those questions using multiple sources and learn that additional questions lead to deeper understanding.  Students focus on communities and the necessary components required for a healthy community.

Second grade students investigate how communities have changed and also remained the same over time. They learn about the study of the past and the tools we use to study history, and will gain a growing understanding of the vocabulary used to discuss the past.  Additionally, students investigate the tools we use to study geography. They will learn how geography affects people and the ways in which people use the land. Throughout they will gain a growing understanding of how to use maps and globes and the vocabulary we use to talk about geography.

Second graders investigate foundational economic concepts. They learn about wants, needs, goods, and services. Students will gain an understanding of how producers and consumers rely on each other and how communities get what they need. 

As they  investigate the role of government and how government affects their lives, they will learn about the differences between rules and laws and how rules and laws help citizens and countries get along. They will learn how citizens and countries work together to make their communities, and the world, a better place to live.

Second graders investigate the people who have made and still make a difference in our world. They will learn about the qualities that make these people admirable and even heroic. Children will build the understanding that each of us has a role in making a difference and think about how they can make a difference in the world.