Critical Minds, Compassionate Hearts

Lower School Curriculum

Rashi's curriculum challenges students in every dimension and encourages a diversity of thinking. The interdisciplinary aspect of the curriculum energizes students as they understand how subjects relate to one another. Learning is enriched by many wonderful opportunities for experiential learning. Powerful speakers come to share their stories with the children, artists demonstrate their skills, naturalists bring animals into the classroom, scientists share their work.

Explore Our Curriculum

Grade 2

  • Math

    In second grade, problem-solving strategies are fortified as students use a balanced combination of math manipulatives, diagrams, and math equations to demonstrate their ideas. Concepts include measuring time, fractions, money, geometric shapes, place value, and estimation. Second graders learn more efficient strategies when adding and subtracting, and mental math exercises reinforce facts for number fluency and math concept. Number stories become more complex as numbers are compared and combined, and excitement builds as the students connect skip counting to the foundational meaning of multiplication and division.
  • Language Arts

    Reading instruction in second grade incorporates independent reading, guided reading groups, and individual teacher assessments. Second graders continue to build on the foundational skills of phonics while developing higher-level comprehension skills, such as making connections, making predictions, and summarizing. Students are exposed to a wide variety of literature. Children participate in a biography unit of study, which includes a research paper and an oral presentation during our “Wax Museum”. The writing process is supported through writer’s workshop, where students generate, organize, and elaborate on ideas. Instruction focuses on constructing increasingly complex sentences. Students are encouraged to write using conventional spelling, supported by the Fundations spelling program. Voice is reinforced through the use of more sophisticated word choice as students write in a variety of genres.
  • Science

    The focus of the second grade science curriculum is ecosystems—learning about living and non-living organisms, habitats, and food webs. In addition to our Charles River Habitat study, we do a unit of the habitats of Israel. Other units include water, soil, and worms.  Children do field study observations of the Charles River habitat on the Rashi campus which culminates in individual animal research projects. Hands-on activities encourage students to explore and experiment. Through collaborative work, second graders practice cooperation, develop their leadership skills, and learn to communicate ideas effectively through discussion.
  • Social Studies

    In second grade, students learn how to read a map using a compass rose and a map key. They build their own world maps, focusing on the various habitats that can be found on the seven continents. Additionally, second graders explore the concepts of justice, tolerance, and human rights. Students also study Massachusetts focusing on the Wampanoags and first settlers. They explore our local Charles River habitat as well as places of historical significance. They learn about the symbols of Massachusetts such as the State seal, flag, flower, insect, fish, tree, and motto.
  • Hebrew

    In second grade, students study weather and clothing through the lens of Hebrew language. They expand their vocabulary to include words that describe their immediate environment, and they practice grammatical structures such as: singular and plural noun forms, masculine and feminine verbs in the present tense, pronouns, declarative and negative sentences, and different conjunctions and prepositions. By the end of the year, second graders are able to read and write more complex sentences to describe pictures and answer questions.
  • Jewish Studies

    Second graders participate in T'filah (prayers) weekly. Our central theme is Shomrei Adamah (being guardians of the earth). Our first family program of the year focuses on Havdallah. Together families create their own Havdallah sets. Children use their Siddurim (prayer books) to chant and interpret Nisim B’Kol Yom (Miracles of the Day- Morning Blessings). Students create individual Morning Blessing booklets that are presented at our spring family program. Through the study of the story of Joseph, students learn the value of shmirat haLashon, guarding one’s words, and the importance of perspective taking. Students interpret Elu D’varim and prioritize their own ”Jewish to do list.”  
  • Fitness & Health

    In second grade, students progress towards mastering and adapting more complex manipulative and motor skills. The children learn the correct technique for fundamental skills and use them in performance. Students develop and practice sportsmanship, learning what it means to be a courteous winner or loser. They explore the twelve health and skill related components of physical fitness: cardiovascular strength, body composition, flexibility, muscular strength, muscular endurance, speed, agility, balance, coordination, reaction time, and power.
  • Art

    Second graders build upon their skills in different media, incorporating various interdisciplinary studies.They study a wide variety of techniques including self-portraiture, pastel, weaving, sculpture, and watercolor resist. The children create dramatic soft pastel self-portraits after learning the proportions of the face, and exploring and discussing self- portraits by Van Gogh and Andy Warhol. Additionally, they build Havdalah spice boxes using polymer clay, and they use them in a family Havdalah education event.  During a unit on African art, they study the semiotics of Kente cloth and create their own non-fiction narrative using pictorial symbols and the traditional Ghanaian color code. Second graders also play a significant role in the creation of scenery for their Charles River play in the spring, creating a beautiful forest backdrop of striking white birches painted in watercolor.
  • Music

    Grade 2 students expand their knowledge of music theory by learning the musical alphabet. They will learn how to count whole notes, half notes, and quarter notes, as well as how to place them on the staff. Students will also learn to play harmonies with melodies and bass lines on the xylophones. They will also study Brahms Hungarian Dances No. 5 and Robert Schumann’s Album for the Young.  Students will compare and contrast these pieces, discussing tempo, instrumentation, and emotion.