Grade 2

The Second Grade Stretch

Learning styles vary from student to student, so grade 2 teachers give children choices and variety in how they learn. Some young learners stretch their skills when they watch a lesson, some when they hear a lesson, and others when they do an activity connected to the lesson. Differentiation allows grade 2 students to review and build familiar skills while stretching themselves academically, socially and individually.  

They begin the year knowing how to write a sentence. They end it knowing how to write a five paragraph report. They begin as early readers and end with the stamina to read chapter books and series. The transition from teacher-led to autonomous learning also drives grade 2 students to excel in science and math, learning concepts that are more often taught in grade 3. It all happens in the second grade stretch between August and May. 

Grade 2 Curriculum

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    Language arts instruction recognizes each student's abilities, strengths and challenges. Individual assessments help teachers select materials for small reading groups in which the children participate. They discover new styles by engaging in read-alouds, guided reading and whole group activities.

    Writing instruction uses the "6+1 Traits of Writing" framework. The goal is for students to incorporate themes and ideas, organization, voice, fluency, word choice, mechanical conventions and proper presentation into their daily writing. They incorporate writing prompts and personal narratives into journal and letter writing. They explore free writing in Writers' Workshop.

    Students work on differentiated vocabulary lists as they build their abilities. Through practice, pre-tests and tests, the goal is for second graders to develop a solid understanding of patterns and rules so they can spell correctly in daily work.
  • MATH

    Students dive deeper into math facts, addition and subtraction by adding higher numbers, double digit equations and even statistics, multiplication and division—normally grade 3 skills among public school counterparts. Math instruction also includes place value, measurement, time and money and fractions. It emphasizes problem solving and reasoning.

    Grade 2 teachers blend math learning by incorporating QR codes in the classroom. They produce video math lessons, which students watch by scanning a QR code and dowloading the material. They have the ability to pause and rewatch the video as they complete the coordinating work at their individualized pace. They also meet with their teacher one-on-one for individualized instruction. 

    Grade 2 students get excited about science. Field trips take them to a butterfly habitat, a dairy farm and a hands-on lab filled with rocks, minerals and fossils. As they chase monarchs, milk cows and make sediment sandwiches, it's impossible not to learn along the way.
    Science units include the study of insects, nutrition, the anatomy of the five senses and land biomes. The biome project incorporates their interest in science with the skills they learn in language arts, social studies and math. Students research and write a five paragraph report about the plants, animals, climate and geography of a biome of their choice. Using apps and iPads, they gather facts about rain forests, tundras, deserts and grasslands. They also create visual aids to accompany their reports. 

    Students learn the scientific processes of observation, communication, inference and analysis throughout the year.

    Social studies focuses on the study of people and places in our community. Students learn to read maps and find locations on the globe. They work on character vocabulary to understand concepts of responsibility, respect, honesty, caring, fairness and courage to help build a strong classroom community.


Grade 2 students learn about the world beyond Barstow through a project that crosses all curriculums. For the biome research report, students study the grasslands, tundra, forest and desert. Each student chooses a biome and dives deep into researching its plants and animals and how they adapt to the climate and geography of that particular area. 

"It's their first time finding their own information, choosing what's interesting and relevant," says grade 2 teacher Mallory Plungkhen. "They're really in charge of their learning for the first time."

The five paragraph paper requires proper structure and writing conventions, including opening and closing sentences, details and a summary. Grade 2 teacher Ashley Haase says it also helps students develop their individual writer's voice.

"Without voice sprinkled into a piece like this, one student's report on the desert can quickly sound just like another's. They learn how to incorporate a bold opinion into a topic sentence, how to end a paragraph with an engaging question and how to use humor to fit in the weird and fascinating facts they are dying to share," she says.
Students incorporate math by determining annual rainfall amounts; they incorporate technology using apps to make photo presentations. The biome project is one of the year's most popular activities. Students develop a love for exploring the world—from their seat in a second grade classroom.

Lower School News



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    During a science unit about insect metamorphosis, students visit the Bio-Villa in Lawrence, Kansas. During this educational and entertaining walk through the butterfly habitat, they may even glimpse a butterfly complete its transformation as it emerges from a chrysalis. The Bio-Villa brings biology to life and nurtures curiosity in the plant and insect world. 

    Rocks, minerals and fossils help students learn how the Earth developed. During this field trip, students select hands-on activities that illustrate sedimentary rock formation, the rock cycle, common mineral classifications and more.  

    Students love to experience a working dairy farm, and see how products get from farm to table. This field trip combines lessons they've learned about nutrition, production and economics. 

    The second semester read-in is a second grade tradition. This full day of reading activities includes read alouds, mystery readers, partner reading and independent reading time. Students wear pajamas and settle in for a cozy day among books and friends.

Daily Schedule

7:00 - Extended care available
8:00 - Morning Work
8:40 - Science
9:00 - Foreign Language
9:30 - Read Aloud
9:45 - Specials*
10:25 - Math
11:00 - Lunch
11:30 - Recess
12:05 - Physical Education
12:50 - Restroom/Drink Break
1:00 - Specials*
1:45 - Sciene and Social Studies
2:30 - Community Building
3:00 - Dismissal
3-6:00 - Extended Care Available

*Music, Art, Physical Education STEAM, Spanish, Library

Using QR codes in the classroom

List of 4 items.

  • Listening Centers

    QR codes displayed on a bulletin board link to a story being read aloud. Students listen and follow along with a hard copy of the book to see, hear and understand the story.
  • Blended Math

    Teachers record math lessons and turn them into scannable QR codes. Students watch the video and complete the corresponding practice piece, working at their own pace. They can pause, rewind and rewatch until they understand the concept. Teachers also have additional time to work with students one-on-one.
  • Resources & Enrichment

    Sometimes it's difficult to research reputable facts online. Teachers use QR codes  to direct students to trusted online resources they can use while gathering information for reports and projects. 

    Teachers also create QR code books about special units and themes, so students who finish work early or want additional activities remain engaged.
  • Student Projects

    Second graders often present their finished projects to the class. Their presentations can be recorded and turned into QR codes that are displayed in the lower school to share with classmates. They also create their own presentations through the iMovie app so they control the quality of the final project.

For more information on applying and admissions:

Visit our Admission's web pages for admission's requirements, information and important dates.

The Barstow School

11511 State Line Road • Kansas City, MO 64114
P (816) 942-3255 • F (816) 942-3227