The Island School, a private school on Bainbridge Island, offers an engaging 2nd Grade program for students from the Kitsap Peninsula, including Poulsbo, Suquamish, Indianola, Kingston, Hansville and Silverdale.

Language Arts
Social Studies
Language Arts

The goal of our language arts program is for students to develop communications skills through reading, writing and oral language development.

In Reading:
Our goal is to support each child on his/her path to being joyfully literate. We want to promote independent and confident readers who know what they like to read. We continue to work on decoding skills with an increased emphasis on using the context of the text to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words. We work on reading fluency and expressiveness through our weekly Poetry Notebooks, reading aloud in small groups, and Reader’s Theater activities. A major focus of our program is helping the children to develop strong reading comprehension skills. As a whole group and one-on-one, the children are asked to make connections to their reading, ask questions, make predictions, and re-tell stories they have read.

Reading Workshop activities include:

  • Independent reading
  • Buddy reading with peers
  • Cross-age reading (5th grade learning buddies)
  • One-on-one reading with teacher or parent volunteer
  • Small-group reading (Reader’s Theater, Book Club, skills instruction)
  • Book projects
  • Poetry notebooks
  • Whole class studies, which include:
    • author studies
    • a dialogue study
    • a nonfiction study
  • Daily read-alouds

In Writing:
Most children entering our second grade already love to write. We support and foster that enthusiasm by giving children myriad opportunities and reasons to write. We want our students to see writing as an important method of communication and self-expression. In second grade the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum is used.

Writing Activities include:

  • Weekend news
  • Thank you letters
  • Birthday letters
  • Writing warm-ups (handwriting and grammar practice)
  • Math writing (the children often explain their mathematical thinking in words)

Writing Workshop includes:

  • Small moments (writing from life)
  • Beginning, middle, and end stories
  • “All about” books (nonfiction writing)
  • Poetry
  • Free choice writing
  • Publishing

Word Work

We introduce the Words Their Way program, which groups children according to their developmental spelling level. During Word Work children:

  • Sort words according to specific spelling patterns (e.g. long e)
  • Use sort words to write sentences and stories
  • Look for sort words in books
  • Play word games

Writing Mechanics includes:

  • Capitals
  • Ending punctuation
  • Developing automaticity (writing fluency)
  • Proofreading one’s work
  • Handwriting practice

Our second grade math curriculum is aligned with the Common Core standards for second grade and is designed to engage students in making sense of mathematical ideas. We teach children to explain their mathematical thinking and encourage them to approach and solve problems in a variety of ways. Games and collaborative work are an important part of our math program.

In Number Sense students learn:

  • Place value of numbers to 1000
  • Expanded notation
  • Addition and subtraction facts to 20
  • To add and subtract with 2-digit numbers
  • To recognize coins and their values, as well as make change
  • To solve and create story problems

In Organization of Data students practice:

  • Sorting and grouping
  • Finding shared attributes
  • Collecting data, conducting surveys
  • Graphic organization
  • Comparing and interpreting data

In Geometry students learn:

  • 2-dimensional shapes (pattern blocks)
  • 3-dimensional shapes
  • Arrays (description of rectangles – beginning multiplication)
  • The concept of area
  • Fractions with time, money, shapes and whole numbers
  • Symmetry

In Measurement, students learn:

  • To tell and write time to 5 minutes
  • To read and create timelines
  • To compare and use a variety of measuring tools to measure objects
  • To develop an understanding of length, width and height
Social Studies

In second grade, social studies encompasses both the study of self and the study of others. We work hard all year to develop empathy for others, learn strategies to deal with powerful feelings and become the good friends we want to be. Games, role-plays and art projects are some of the ways we address the emotional and social needs of our students.

In addition to our school-wide Cultural Study in the spring, we spend 6 weeks of our school year on a civil rights project entitled “Freedom Summer 1964.” Based on the Storypath model, this unit takes a narrative approach to the study of civil rights. Through the process of creating a character from the 1960s and becoming their character in role-plays, students examine issues of justice and equality and learn about the courage of civil rights workers and African American families who risked so much to register to vote. The unit naturally integrates social studies, literacy, and art as the children create their characters, plan for their trip, encounter prejudice and discrimination, and consider the Constitutional rights guaranteed to all citizens. Although there was certainly terrible violence during the civil rights movement, our focus during this study is on the power and efficacy of the non-violent approach as well as the importance of standing up for the rights of others.


We start the science year with our beach ecology unit, Sandy Shores. Using a cross-curricular approach, second graders explore and deepen their understanding of many aspects of the sandy shore, from the grains of sand themselves to characteristic plants, animals and more complex biological and ecological interactions. As students acquire information and construct their knowledge, they gain respect for the environment and all living things, fostering a sense of personal and social responsibility.

In the spring we turn our attention to birds. Again, taking an inter-disciplinary approach, projects and activities include bird identification with a field guide, nest making, research projects, bird- watching trips, in-house bird visitors, games and skits.