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Second Grade

Grade Level Standards For Second Grade

Characteristics of the Second Grade Student
Every child is an individual who grows and develops at his/her own rate. Children in the same grade may be expected to differ widely from others in the group. There are, however, general characteristics which apply to most of the children at a certain age group.

The second grade child may:
• Be developing an increasing ability to be reasonable.
• Tackle a job with unbounded energy but run out of energy or interest before the job is done.
• Find it demanding to sit quietly for extended periods of time.
• Be aware of issues of fairness.
• Be anxious to be perfect.
• Tend to think others don’t like him/her.
• Worry about school or friends.
• Enjoy collections.
• Be sensitive.

The second grade child needs:
• A dependable routine and structure, within a safe environment.
• Adults to turn to for assistance when needed.
• Nutritious foods.
• Specific instructions.
• Frequent periods of rest and relaxation.

As parents, you can help by:
• Modeling responsible behavior and character traits.
• Communicating support for your child when he/she tries something new and challenging.
• Establishing routines for meals and bedtime.
• Involving your child in aspects of planning family activities.
• Listening to your child and engaging him/her in conversations.
• Providing a quiet place where homework can be completed.
• Maintaining close contact with your child’s teacher and having knowledge of the school and classroom programs.
• Showing your child how to use telephone emergency response systems, such as 911.
• Discussing that medicines should be taken only under supervision of responsible adults.
• Teaching the potential harmful effects of some medicines and substances on his/her body.
• Choosing limits that fit your child’s age and establishing behavior consequences and rewards.
• Talking with your child about his/her interests.
• Notifying the teacher about problems in the home that could cause emotional stress for the child (i.e., divorce, death in the family, a parent being away for an extended amount of time).

English/Language Arts

The English-Language Arts curriculum provides students, through their study and understanding of literature, with intensive experiences in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students progress at their own individual pace through levels of mastery. In grade two, the major focus will be developing fluency skills.

The second grade student will…


Word Analysis, Fluency, and Vocabulary Development
• Identify and use knowledge of spelling patterns such as dipthongs, and special vowel spellings when reading.
• Apply knowledge of basic syllabication rules when reading.
• Decode two-syllable nonsense words and regular multisyllable words.
• Recognize common abbreviations.
• Identify and correctly use regular plurals and irregular plurals.
• Read aloud with fluency and accuracy, and appropriate intonation and expression.
• Understand and explain common antonyms and synonyms.
• Use knowledge of individual words in unknown compound words to predict their meaning.
• Know the meaning of simple prefixes and suffixes.

Reading Comprehension
• Identify and use sequential or logical order of elements to gain meaning from expository text.
• State a purpose for reading.
• Use knowledge of author’s purpose(s) to comprehend informational text.
• Ask clarifying questions concerning essential textual elements of exposition.
• Restate facts and details in text to inform and organize facts.
• Recognize cause and effect relationships in text.
• Interpret information from diagrams, charts and graphs.

Literary Response and Analysis
• Compare and contrast plots, settings and characters presented by different authors.
• Recognize linear and circular plot structures in stories.
• Generate alternative endings to plots identifying reason(s) for, and impact of, substitutions.
• Compare and contrast different versions of the same stories reflecting different cultures.
• Identify rhythm, rhyme, assonance and alliteration in poetry.


Writing Strategies
• Group related ideas and maintain a consistent focus.
• Create readable documents with legible manuscript printing.
• Understand the structure of various reference materials (dictionary, thesaurus, atlas).
• Revise original drafts to improve sequence and provide more descriptive detail.

Writing Applications
• Write brief narratives based on one’s experience that 1) move through a logical sequence of events, 2) describe the setting, characters, objects and events in detail.
• Write a friendly letter complete with date, salutation, body, closing and signature.
• Be assessed for proficiency in the Imaginative/Narrative domain of writing, while continuing to write in the three remaining areas; Practical/Informative, Sensory/Descriptive, and Analytical/Expository.


Listening and Speaking Applications
• Determine the purpose(s) for listening (e.g., get information, solve problems, for enjoyment).
• Ask for clarification and explanation of stories and ideas.
• Paraphrase information shared orally by others.
• Give and follow three- and four- step oral directions.
• Organize presentations to maintain a clear focus.
• Speak clearly at an understandable pace.

Speaking Applications
• Recount experiences or present stories that 1) move through a logical sequence of events, 2) describe story elements such as characters, plot and setting.
• Report on a topic including appropriate facts and details, drawing from several sources of information.


• Distinguish between complete and incomplete sentences and recognize and use correct word order in written sentences.
• Identify and correctly use various parts of speech, including nouns and verbs in writing and speaking.
• Correctly use commas in greeting and closures in a letter and with dates and words in a series.
• Use quotation marks correctly.
• Capitalize all proper nouns, words at the beginning of sentences and in greetings, months and days of the week, and titles and initials of people.
• Spell high frequency irregular words correctly.
• Spell basic short vowel, long vowel, r-controlled, and consonant blend patterns correctly.

As parents, you can help by:

• Reading to your child every day.
• Having your child read to you every day.
• Discussing and making predictions about what you read together.
• Having your child ask you questions after reading together.
• Being supportive and positive of his/her approximations in spelling.
• Having times of uninterrupted conversation with your child.
• Taking trips to the library.
• Getting a library card in your child’s name.
• Letting your child see you reading.
• Talking to your child about books you like to read.
• Providing materials for and encouraging the writing of simple notes, lists, letters, and journals.
• Writing notes to your child on a regular basis.
• Discussing the books your child reads at school.



By the end of second grade, students understand place value and number relationships as they add and subtract and they use simple concepts of multiplication. They measure quantities with appropriate units. They classify and see relationships among shapes by paying attention to the elements that compose them. They collect and analyze data and verify answers.

The second grade student will…

Number Sense
• Understand the relationship among numbers, quantities and place value in whole numbers up to 1000.
• Estimate, calculate and solve problems involving addition and subtraction of two- and three-digit numbers.
• Model and solve simple problems involving multiplication and division concepts.
• Understand that fractions and decimals can refer to parts of a set and a whole.
• Model and solve problems by representing, adding and subtracting amounts of money.
• Use estimation strategies in computation and problem solving that involve numbers that use the ones, tens, hundreds and thousands places.

Algebra and Functions
• Model, represent and interpret number relationships to create and solve problems involving addition and subtraction.

Measurement and Geometry
• Understand that measurement is accomplished by identifying a unit of measure, repeating that unit and comparing it to the item being measured.
• Identify and describe the elements that compose common figures in the plane and common objects in space.

Statistics, Data Analysis, and Probability
• Collect, record organized, display and interpret numerical data on bar graphs and other representations.
• Demonstrate an understanding of patterns and how they grow, and describe them in general ways.

Mathematical Reasoning
• Make decisions about how to set up a problem.
• Solve problems and justify their reasoning.
• Note connections between one problem and another.

As parents, you can help by:

• Practicing basic math facts.
• Providing experience with money (making change, paying for purchases).
• Providing experiences with time (analog), such as reading a schedule.
• Providing experiences reading graphs, charts, and schedules.
• Involving the child in solving real-life problems using math skills.
• Involving the child in estimating amounts (money, time, etc.).
• Providing opportunities to measure things.


History/Social Science

Students in grade two explore the lives of actual people who make a difference in their everyday lives and learn the stories of extraordinary people from history whose achievements have touched them, directly or indirectly. The study of contemporary people who supply goods and services aids in understanding the complex interdependence in our free marketplace.

The second grade student will…

• Differentiate between those things that happened long ago and those that happened yesterday.
• Demonstrate map skills by describing the absolute and relative locations of people, places, and environments.
• Explain the institutions and practices of governments in the United States and other countries (e.g., making and enforcing laws, the ways in which nations interact with each other).
• Understand basic economic concepts (wants and needs, supply and demand) and their individual roles in the economy.
• Understand the importance of individual action and character and explain how heroes from long ago and the recent past make a difference in others’ lives.


In addition to the standards for grades 1-5, students demonstrate the following intellectual, reasoning, reflection and research skills.

Chronological and Spatial Thinking
• Students place key events and people of the historical era they are studying in a chronological sequence and within a spatial context; they interpret timelines.
• Students apply terms related to time correctly, including past, present, future, decade, century, and generation.
• Students explain how the present is connected to the past, identifying similarities and differences between the two, and how some things change over time and some things stay the same.
• Use map and globe skills to determine the locations of places and interpret information available through the map’s legend, scale, and symbolic representations.
• Judge the significance of the relative location of a place and analyze how those relative advantages or disadvantages can change over time.

Research, Evidence and Point of View
• Students differentiate between primary and secondary sources.
• Students pose relevant questions about events encountered in historical documents, eyewitness accounts, oral histories, letters, diaries, artifacts, photos, maps, art and architecture.
• Students distinguish fact from fiction by comparing documentary sources on historical figures and events with fictionalized characters and events.

Historical Interpretation
• Students summarize the key events of the era they are studying and explain their historical contexts.
• Students identify the human and physical characteristics of the places they are studying.
• Students identify and interpret the multiple causes and effects of historical events.
• Students conduct benefit/cost analyses of historical and current events.

Character Education
The district’s character education program seeks to instill in students habits of the heart, mind and will that contribute the development of a “person of character.” Six core values have been adopted to guide and systematically address ethics in the instructional program, as well as in the school community.

• Trustworthiness
• Respect
• Responsibility
• Justice and Fairness
• Caring
• Citizenship

As parents, you can help by:

• Taking trips to the museum.
• Sharing stories about family heritage.
• Modeling good character and acknowledging the child for good choices.
• Teaching map skills.
• Giving children responsibilities in the home.
• Sharing primary and secondary resources with your child.
• Involving children in archiving family photo albums.


The district science program encourages children to comprehend the nature of the physical universe (the interdependence and the connection) in a laboratory setting. Major science themes (Energy, Evolution, Patterns of Change, Scale and Structure, Stability, and Systems and Interactions) and the scientific thinking processes (observing, communicating, comparing, ordering, categorizing, relating, inferring, and applying) are crucial to the sciences.

The second grade student will demonstrate an understanding that…

Earth Science
Changes in land, water, and sky affect changes on the earth.

• Relationships between the sun, earth, and moon cause day and night and changes in the phases of the moon.
• Stars can make patterns in the sky; the sun is a star.
• The water cycle can create clouds which indicate various weather conditions and climates.

Life Sciences
Living things change over time.

• Living things are classified according to a similar characteristics.
• Living things have different life cycles.
• Living things evolve and adapt to their environment over time.

Physical Sciences
Matter and energy can interact to create a change.

• Various energy forms of energy have unique properties.
• Energy can cause changes in the three states of matter.
• Forces acting on matter are not always visible.

As parents, you can help by:

• Taking family trips to science-themed places.
• Observing the night sky (phases of the moon, star formations).
• Using the scientific method to answer questions as they arise (form a hypothesis, research, experiment, form a conclusion).

Physical Education Standards

The physical education program provides students with opportunities to achieve motor skills and movement knowledge, develop a positive self-image and recognize personal achievement, and develop social skills of respect and acceptance of others.

The second grade student will…

• State that they can improve or learn a movement skill by imagining it first.
• Working with a partner, demonstrate the ability to throw, kick, strike, and catch different objects.
• Working with a partner, demonstrate different tempos, directions, and pathways as they perform locomotor and nonlocomotor skills.
• State the reason for playground rules related to use of equipment, safety, and games.
• Explain how speed, acceleration and deceleration can improve their movement performance.
• Describe cardiorespiratory exercises as activities that make your heart beat faster and force you to breathe harder.
• Participate in physical fitness activities that develop cardiorespiratory endurance, muscle strength and endurance and flexibility, and includes a comparison of pre- and post-test fitness scores.
• Describe how individual growth rates vary and have an impact on movement performance.
• Choose to participate in movement-related activities during recess and lunch.
• In pairs, develop a cooperative movement experience (e.g., taking turns, leading, following).
• Learn to work cooperatively with a partner in a movement-related experience.
• Describe how current, successful, influential people have made a difference through physical activity.

As parents, you can help by:

• Getting involved in extracurricular activities that reinforce fitness (team or individual).
• Modeling good health choices (eating well, exercising).
• Taking walks with your child.

Health Education

The health curriculum provides students with opportunities to explore concepts in depth, analyze and solve real-life problems, and work cooperatively on tasks that develop and enhance their conceptual understanding. It also provides students with the knowledge and skills that can lead to lifelong positive attitudes related to health.

The second grade student will…

• Accept personal responsibility.
• Demonstrate respect for, and promotion of, the health of others.
• Understand the processes of growth and development.
• Use health-related information, products, and services.

As parents, you can help by:

• Modeling healthy habits (eating, sleeping, physical fitness).
• Encouraging healthy hygiene, grooming, and health practices.
• Scheduling regular dental and medical appointments.

Visual and Performing Arts

Dance, music, drama, and visual arts are a means to develop personal dimensions within the learning process; thus, they provide the necessary curriculum balance in developing the whole person. They are integrated throughout the curriculum, though at times become subject-centered fine arts classes.

The second grade student will…

• Communicate an understanding of dance through creative expression, aesthetic perception and valuing, and dance theater heritage.
• Create a simple repeatable dance
• Engage in rhythmic movement
• Experience the creative process of dance
• Attend or participate in a school production

Express and communicate an understanding of music by creative expression, aesthetic perception, and valuing.
• Sing songs with limited range
• Experience playing with percussion instruments
• Become aware of differences in pitch
• Distinguish between singing and speaking
• Experience music of various cultures

• Communicate an understanding of drama through creative expression, aesthetic perception and valuing, and drama theater heritage.
• Begin to participate in story dramatization
• Move as an object or storybook animal
• Reproduce sounds individually or with others (rain, wind, thunder, wind, etc.)
• Begin to acquire a sense of drama through storytelling and improvisation

Visual Arts
• Express and communicate an understanding of visual arts by creative expression and aesthetic perception and valuing.
• Maintain a portfolio with art work produced throughout the year
• Create a number of products that represent an initial understanding of the design elements: line and color
• Be introduced to drawing, painting, and constructing techniques using pens, tempera, crayon, and watercolor

As parents, you can help by:

• Exposing children to a variety of cultural entertainment experiences (performances, concerts, galleries).
• Playing music from various cultures and styles in your home.
• Monitoring your child’s exposure to movies, music, videos and television.


Our vision is to prepare students for a changing future through the expanding use of technology that serves as a catalyst for learning. To this end, students will regularly use computers and other educational technologies. Through a district network, teachers have access to electronic mail and both teachers and students have access to selected educational sites on the Internet. In second grade, the major focus is on understanding technology and its use indifferent environments.

The second grade student will…

Computer Hardware and Software
• operate computer independently
• use educational software independently
• identify selected icons and menu options

Technology Etiquette
• Follow district policies
• Obey copyright laws
• Demonstrate proper care of equipment

Technology Skills That Improve Learning
• Use curriculum software appropriately
• Participate in technology-based class projects
• Use text editing skills

As parents, you can help by:
• Exposing your child to computers and age-appropriate software at home or the library.
• Monitoring student access to the Internet.

The Move to Common Core Standards

Educational standards describe what students should know and be able to do in each subject in each grade. In California, the State Board of Education decides on the standards for all students, from kindergarten through high school.

Since 2010, 45 states have adopted the same standards for English and math. These standards are called the Common Core State Standards. Having the same standards helps all students get a good education, even if they change schools or move to a different state. Teachers, parents, and education experts designed the standards to prepare students for success in college and the workplace.

The California Department of Education helps schools make sure that all students are meeting the standards.

  • Students and families who are looking for more information may visit the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Web page for Students, Parents, and Guardians.
  • Education professionals who want to learn more about the standards and find resources to support student attainment of the standards should visit the CCSS and Educators Web page.
  • Below you will find information about the standards and the CCSS-related activities taking place in California.

The Standards