Parents and Guardians

This guide provides an overview of what your child will be learning in second grade. It is based on the Common Core Standards, the Massachusetts Frameworks, and the curricular approaches which have been adopted by the Somerville Public Schools. The detailed Massachusetts Frameworks are available at:

Academic standards are important. They ensure that all students, no matter where they start, are prepared for success in the next grade level, college, and their careers. By defining standards clearly, we aim to help families and teachers work together to ensure that students succeed. There are some students who will need additional support to meet a standard. Other students will need more complex work to go beyond the standard. Teachers craft their day-to-day classroom instruction based on the standards, individual student needs, and the unique characters of their schools and community.

How can I support my child's learning at home?

  • Talk to your child about what they are learning in school
  • Contact your child's teacher with any questions or concerns and attend Parent Teacher Conferences
  • Check your child's folder and/or agenda book every night
  • Provide a space and a consistent time for your child to complete their homework

English Language Arts

Reading - During the year, students will be working on:

  • Using multiple strategies (visualizing, making connections, predicting, using background knowledge) to read and understand fiction texts
  • Demonstrating an understanding of the characters, setting, and plot through retelling the story
  • Understanding the problem in the story and what actions the character takes to solve the problem
  • Recognizing differences in the points of view of characters
  • Asking and answering such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how as part of reading texts
  • Using multiple strategies (asking and answering questions, previewing, using background knowledge, predicting, tracking thinking) to read and understand a nonfiction text
  • Understanding the difference between the topic and the main idea
  • Identifying the main idea and key details in nonfiction texts
  • Using various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes) to find information
  • Noticing that poems use beat, rhymes, and repeated lines to create rhythm and meanings
  • Comparing multiple texts on one topic to get information and explaining what they've learned in their own words
  • Retelling stories from diverse cultures along with the lesson the story teaches
  • Telling how two versions of the same story are alike and different (for example, Cinderella)
  • Using multiple strategies to figure out unknown words (phonics skills through Fundations, context, illustrations, re-reading)
  • Reading stories and poems aloud fluently, without pausing to figure out what each word means
  • Participating in conversations and discussions by following rules (for example, speaking one at a time, listening to others), building on other's comments, and asking questions for further clarification

Writing - Somerville's writing program emphasizes giving students many opportunities to write each day across subject areas. As they write during the year, students in second grade will be working on:

  • Writing a paragraph that introduces an idea and supports it with details
  • Writing ideas in an order that makes sense to the reader
  • Using time words to signal event order (during, meanwhile, before, soon, after)
  • Using adjectives to make writing clear and interesting to the reader (for example, enormous, foggy, challenging)
  • Starting sentences in different ways
  • Connecting two ideas in one sentence (compound sentence) using and, but, or so
  • Using commas to separate words in a series
  • Making sure that nouns and verbs agree (for example, the dog is sitting on the bed; the two dogs are sitting)
  • Correctly spelling grade level words using resources if needed
  • Capitalizing proper nouns (for example, Somerville, John)

Over the course of the year, students will complete three types of writing: narrative (story), informative, and opinion. Examples of these in second grade could include: Writing a book about a family member, writing an opinion about a character in a story, or writing a different ending to a folktale.

How can I support my child's literacy learning at home?

  • Read to your child daily
  • Encourage your child to read daily and discuss the books he/she is reading
  • When your child shares an opinion or thought about a book, ask them why? and have them use evidence from the book
  • Encourage your child to write by keeping a diary, or sending a thank you note or a letter to a family member or friend


Adapted from PTA Common Core Guide and Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks Critical Areas. Please see the Massachusetts Frameworks for more detailed standards and skills.

During the year, students in second grade will be working on:

  • Counting by 5s, 10s, 100s
  • Figuring out whether a number is even or odd
  • Solving challenging addition and subtraction word problems with one or two steps
  • Quickly and accurately adding with a sum of 20 or less (e.g., 11 + 8)
  • Quickly and accurately subtracting from a number of 20 or less (e.g., 16 - 9)
  • Understanding what the digits mean in three-digit numbers (place value) - (e.g., 857 is 8 hundreds + 5 tens + 7 ones)
  • Comparing three-digit numbers using <, >, and =
  • Mentally adding or subtracting 10 or 100 to a number (e.g., 757 + 10, 837 - 100)
  • Using understanding of place value and different strategies to add and subtract up to three-digit numbers (e.g., 811 - 367)
  • Solving addition and subtraction word problems involving money or length
  • Estimating the length of objects using inches, feet, centimeters, and meters
  • Using rulers to measure objects by centimeters and inches
  • Telling and writing time to the nearest 5 minutes
  • Recognizing a variety of 2D and 3D shapes (triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, hexagons, and cubes) and explaining what makes them different (for example, number of sides, faces, angles)
  • Drawing a simple bar graph or picture graph and solving a problem by reading a graph
  • Breaking down circles and rectangles into equal halves, thirds, and quarters

How can I support my child's math learning at home?

  • Point out examples of using math in everyday life such as measuring a room or estimating the cost of items at a store
  • Practice newly acquired skills with your child at home to help build confidence (for example, math facts, addition, subtraction)

Science, Technology, and Engineering

During the year, students in second grade will be learning:

  • That different types of materials have different properties and can be classified by their texture, hardness, color, or flexibility
  • That when a chunk of material is cut or broken into pieces, each piece is still the same material however small each piece is
  • That some changes to materials can be reversed by heating or cooling, while some cannot be reversed
  • How different plants and animals depend on their surroundings and other living things to meet their needs in the places they live
  • That different kinds of animals and plants live in different areas
  • How to map the shapes and types of landforms and bodies of water in an area
  • How blowing wind and flowing water can move Earth materials from one place to another and change the shape of a landform
  • To compare multiple solutions designed to slow or prevent wind or water from changing the shape of the land

Social Studies

During the year, students in second grade will be learning:

  • About citizens' rights and responsibilities
  • To locate and name the continents, oceans, major rivers, and major mountain ranges
  • Map and globe skills
  • To locate continents, regions, and countries from which students, parents, grandparents, and ancestors came
  • To find examples of traditions or customs from other countries found in America today
  • About individuals recognized for their achievements in all fields


The elementary years are an important time to nurture social-emotional competence and develop foundational learning skills. The Somerville Public Schools uses the Second Step curriculum, an evidence-based program that includes everything schools need to integrate social-emotional learning into their classrooms and school-wide. The curriculum is designed to promote school success, self-regulation, and a sense of safety and support.

Classroom teachers are responsible for implementing Second Step. Schools guidance counselors and other support personnel assist teachers and students to work toward attaining curriculum goals. Staff at your child's school can give you more detailed information about the sequence of skills taught and how social/emotional skills are taught.

2nd Grade Lessons:


Skills for Learning

1. Being Respectful
2. Focusing Attention

and Listening

3. Using Self-Talk
4. Being Assertive



5. Identifying Feelings
6. Learning More About


7. Feeling Confident
8. Respecting Different


9. Showing Compassion
10. Predicting Feelings


Emotion Management

11.  Introducing Emotion


12. Managing


13. Handling Making


14. Managing Anxious


15. Managing Anger
16. Finishing Tasks


Problem Solving

17. Solving Problems, Part 1
18. Solving Problems, Part 2
19. Taking Responsibility
20.Responding to

Playground Exclusion

21. Playing Fairly on the Playground
22.Reviewing Second Step Skills



Specialists: The Somerville Public Schools provides each student with 40 minutes per week of instruction in General Music, Library/Media, Art, and Physical Education. The specialists at each school are available to give you more detailed information about specific skills that are addressed.

Assessment: We believe that there is more than one way to accurately assess student learning. These include not only standardized measures such as DIBELS (Grades K-3), MCAS (Grades 3-10), and MAP (Gr. 2-8), but also more informal assessments including common end of unit assessments, reading/writing conferences, classroom participation, classroom projects, and writing assignments.

Math and ELA Year At A Glance for 2nd Grade:

Please note that this calendar is only an approximation. Some units might take more or less time depending on the needs of the students and other projects/activities happening at individual schools.

Approximate Time Frame ELA Units of Study (Based on Balanced Literacy Curriculum) Math Units of Study (Based on Investigations Curriculum)
September Launching Readers Workshop
Number Sense
Addition / Subtraction Story Problems
October Narrative
Identify, Describe, and Draw 2-D and 3-D Shapes
November Narrative
Addition/Subtraction Strategies
Addition / Subtraction Story Problems



Counting by Groups



Folktales and Fairy Tales
Addition Combinations to $1.00
Skip Counting
April Folktales and Fairy Tales Fractions
May/June Nonfiction Addition/Subtraction Strategies for 100s, 10s and 1s


















updated 11/2018