Grade 2

Second grade students explore the concept that people around the world establish patterns in their ways of living and working together through the Markets Around the World theme. Children learn about people and organizations that contribute to markets, food sustainability, and community engagement in and around Ohio. Later in the study, students explore the cultures of Turkey and Japan through global markets. While studying the Creations theme, the students further their globally awareness by learning that all people and cultures develop ways to express their understanding of the world. They practice a variety of creation techniques and styles, explore and research life in Africa and India, and study why people have created throughout history. They gain an understanding of how changes in the political, industrial, religious, and social atmosphere of a culture impact a society’s creations.

Core Curriculum

Boys learn mathematics by doing mathematics. In an environment that encourages exploration and risk taking, boys are able to deepen their mathematical understanding. The second grade curriculum includes instruction in and exploration of fractions, measuring, number sense, estimation, place value to 1,000, number lines and hundreds charts, coin values, multi-digit addition and subtraction, congruent and symmetrical shapes and 3D figures, and creating numerical and geometric patterns. They explore creative problem solving, and learn different strategies to solve for an unknown. They learn to read, interpret and create charts and graphs, and how to compose and decompose numbers mentally using various strategies.

In second grade, boys extend their skills and are increasingly able to read independently and comprehend longer and more complex materials. They draw on experiences and theme discussions as well as use context clues to gain a deeper understanding of both fiction and non-fiction selections. The language arts program emphasizes transitions from concrete understanding to inferential thinking through written response. Writing becomes longer and contains more complex story lines. Instruction includes paragraph writing and editing and continues in phonics, spelling, sight words, accuracy and fluency. Weekly writer’s workshop allows the boys to experiment with expository, creative and theme-based writing. Cursive writing is introduced.

In second grade, boys meet with the science specialist once a week for 60 minutes. During this time, boys engage in interactive science activities that connect with their classroom theme. The science teacher's role is to plan experiences that enable students to ask questions, make discoveries, and practice skills necessary for inquiry-based science investigations. Boys keep a science journal where they record observations and reflect on their experiences. Investigations include regional and comparative natural history and resources, Ohio geology, fossils, astronomy, light reflection and refraction, estimating and measuring, patterns in nature, mapping, and outdoor explorations. They design an experiment and participate in STEM activities.

Co-curricular Disciplines

Speaking and reading in Spanish gives boys the opportunity to expand their thinking and comprehension. Second grade boys have Spanish four days a week. They build on Spanish basics, creating more complex sentences, and move into more production of the language in oral and written forms. They learn adjectives, verbs, and ways to describe nouns and actions, as well as letter sounds, clothing, body parts, time, math facts, parts of the house, family and animals. Boys play act in Spanish to practice reading, pronunciation and expression, and explore cultural topics such as Day of the Dead and Christmas in the Hispanic culture.

Second grade boys learn through play, experiencing musical concepts and gaining skills through their own active involvement. Listening acuity, expressive performance and considerate participation are stressed in every lesson. Boys engage in creative holistic music making using the Orff-Schulwerk approach to music education. Second graders learn tuneful singing within an octave melodic range and simple canons. They learn beat, and rhythmic understanding of simple notation including instrumental accompaniment patterns. They explore reading and writing rhythmic notation and simple melodies. They consciously recognize and implement fast/slow tempo, loud/soft volume, smooth/rough timbre, high/low pitch, and form. Movement is more complex with games, folk dances and play parties.

Art is a place where the boys discover that art is everywhere. We explore the theme-based curriculum at each grade level and dive a little deeper into cultural art forms. Introductions to artists and traditional cultures play a key role in learning, but it is the student who makes that technique his own. In second grade, we explore the use of color in layout. We learn about artists who have changed the way we see things. Focusing on feeling and simplicity, boys learn to work with sketching as a base. They experiment in clay, texture, forms and portrait drawing.

We provide successful physical experiences for all boys through a curriculum designed to foster and develop the knowledge and values, physical skills, and practices necessary for personal physical fitness and lifetime wellness. Boys learn body control, with an emphasis on balance, coordination, and spatial judgments. Skill development includes motor, non-motor, and manipulative. Rhythms, games, tumbling, large apparatus stunts, and swimming are taught.

Bonds with the Senior Class

Young boys have boundless energy and a natural tendency to explore and discover.

The Second Grade Curriculum at a Glance

  • Markets Around the World
  • Westward Ho!
  • Creations: Africa/India

  • Patterns in boys’ lives
  • Survival
  • Adaptation
  • Creations

  • How do people around the world establish patterns in there ways of living? 
  • What do children along the forty-first parallel have in common? 
  • How do the history, governments, traditions and cultures of groups of people influence the way children are raised and educated?  
  • Why have humans always felt the need to explore the unknown? 
  • How does exploration give humans new knowledge? 
  • In order for a culture to survive, why must people adapt to new ways of thinking and living?
  • How does history provide us with a rich legacy from which we can still learn today?
  • How do people and cultures develop ways to express their understandings of the world?
  • How does adaptation lead to changes in the way we view the world around us?


Boys learn to love reading, researching, and expressing themselves through literature-based activities. In second grade, boys continue to come to the library in small groups and visit for individual research as well. They learn about the history and organization of libraries and are encouraged to be more independent. In exploring theme-related literature, they improve listening skills with chapter books and study authors more in-depth. They express themselves in poetry, design board games, fold origami, and participate in an array of creative projects.


Shaker Heights Campus

20701 Brantley Road
Shaker Heights, Ohio 44122
GRADES Junior K-8
Phone: 216-321-8260

Hunting Valley Campus

2785 SOM Center Road
Hunting Valley, Ohio 44022
Phone: 216-831-2200
University School serves 840 boys in Junior Kindergarten to grade 12 on two campuses in suburban Cleveland, Ohio. The School’s mission is to inspire boys of promise to become young men of character who lead and serve. Dedicated faculty, rigorous curriculum, and experiential programs foster intellectual, physical, creative, and moral excellence.