2nd Grade

There are three second grade classes at St. Joseph School. Each student finds the attention they need and deserve at this pivotal point in their learning careers. At the end of this year, St. Joseph second grade students are ready for challenges awaiting them in the third grade. They are able to do this by building a community within their classroom, with their grade level peers, and with the greater St. Joseph community.

In the Classroom

The second grade team sets up a classroom which is organized, structured and conducive to learning. Teachers plan together weekly and follow the same curriculum based on the second grade curriculum map and the grade level standards. Content delivered may vary between classes on a given day, depending on how each individual classroom is understanding the content.

2nd Grade Curriculum


The principal religious focus of the 2nd grade is to celebrate and receive the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist. This parish-led program highlights the wonder for all God's gifts and accepting these gifts with hearts full of thanks. We celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation in gratitude of God's gift of mercy and love. The students first Holy Communion celebrates the gift of Christ's love for us-given with the Holy Spirit, with new life, from the heart of God.


Through their reading and writing experiences, second graders strengthen their phonemic awareness. Focused phonics instruction and spelling activities tied to literature themes help students strengthen decoding skill and build fluent reading. Through guided reading and independent reading of award winning texts, students broaden their vocabulary, practice reading with expression and utilize comprehension strategies. The Houghton-Mifflin series provides quality literature on a variety of levels to allow students explore stories and non-fiction material on their level. Theme studies include silly stories, along with selections about families, communities, animals and nature. Second graders gain familiarity with genres including poetry, folktales and fables, biographies, and chapter books.

Reading strategies are continually developed as students make story predictions and infer meaning before and while reading. They ask questions of themselves and one another during and after reading. Monitoring their own comprehension and clarifying their understanding while reading is another important reading strategy. Students also gather experience by summarizing narrative and informational text using elements of story structure and graphic organizers. Students practice critical thinking as they evaluate text for effective writing.

Language Arts

Second grade students spend time journaling, writing observations, stories, letters, descriptions and reports. Students build a strong understanding of sentences in second grade and begin understanding the structure of paragraphs. While studying rain forest animals, students write reports on a specific animal of interest.

The writing process: On this level students are using a variety of ways to brainstorm and collect information in the pre-writing phase. After drafting a writing piece, students provide feedback to one another. While revising, children can add or clarify elements of their writing before moving through an editing checklist to publish an effective piece of writing. Writing conventions of capitalization and ending punctuation are emphasized. The correct use of nouns, pronouns and verbs of present and past tense are grammar skills built through writing and proofreading experiences.

Writing Traits: Students are supported in developing ideas and organizing their writing. Instruction and feedback help writers to carefully choose specific language. These young writers are encouraged to let their voice come through in their choice of words. Throughout the year, students work on building their writing fluency and conventions (capitals, punctuation, spelling, etc.).


The second grade will be using the Math in Focus: Singapore Math by Marshall Cavendish that builds on the foundation outlined by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Each lesson is structured to develop proficiency in conceptual understanding, fluency with skills with a focus on problem solving.

The following is a list of math skills to be addressed:

    • Place Values of Numbers to 1,000 (Ones, Tens, Hundreds)
    • Addition and Subtraction up to 1,000
    • Using Bar Models for Problem Solving
    • Measurement in Metrics (length, mass and volume)
    • Customary Length Measurement
    • Money and Time
    • Multiplication and Division (by 2, 3, 4, 5 and 10)
    • Geometry
    • Graphs
    • Fractions

    Social Studies

    Our three second grade classes presented songs, poems, life events and cheers about Martin Luther King Junior this year. The second grade social studies curriculum introduces students to important historical figures and important events in our nation's story.

    The Houghton Mifflin’s Work Together book helps second grade children explore building community in our class, city, country, and world. Themes explore communities and regions, mapping skills and landforms, as well as work and our government. During December students investigate winter holidays in a country of interest and present Christmas Around the World reports.


    During 2nd grade science at St. Joseph School students find themselves learning about a wide range of topics as well as doing a large number of hands-on activities. Some of these subjects include:

    Air and Weather: Second grade students experiment with air pressure using syringes and tubes. Students observe and record weather, noting cloud types as well as wind and temperature data. They construct their understanding of how air interacts with objects as they create pinwheels, gliders, windsocks, kites and propellers.

    Solids and Liquids: Students learn about the properties of solids and liquids. Students investigate solids and liquids in hand-on learning experiences. Exciting experiments include: building "solids towers," floating/sinking foods, building foil boats that sink/float, and many more.

    Forest Exploration: Second grade students compare our local temperate rain forest to the tropical rain forest of Costa Rica. We participate in the Woodland Park Zoo Forest Explorer Program and research a particular rain forest animal.

    Plants: When studying plants, the second grade students become familiar with flowering plants. They plant from seed, rapid-cycling brassica, a relative of the mustard plant, and observe the entire life cycle of this plant. They also grow new plants from cuttings, bulbs, and roots and monitor growth. Students grow a single shoot of wheat in a straw and throughout the growth of the plants, they keep a scientific journal to note changes in the plants.


    The students become familiar with IXL (Math) and Spelling City, MS Word, PowerPoint, internet research and other online programs, all of which support classroom reading, math and social studies curriculum.


    The 2nd grade students participate in a number of service activities throughout the year.

    Throughout the year the entire second grade supports West Side Baby, an organization that supports moms, children and families in need, as a part of their yearlong outreach program. Second graders collect baby items such as diapers, formula, clothing and more in efforts to support West Side Baby.

    2nd grade also supports St. Mary's Food Bank, St. Vincent de Paul and sister schools in Africa and El Salvador.

    Field Trips

    Over the course of the year, the 2nd grade visits Seattle Children's Theater, St. Vincent de Paul, Woodland Park Zoo-- Forest Explorers Program, Museum of History and Industry and Pioneer Farms.

    Dorothy Ambuske

    Dorothy Ambuske

    Job Title: 2B
    Grace McLaughlin

    Grace McLaughlin

    Titles: 2A
    Juli Rangel

    Juli Rangel

    Titles: LRC Specialist, Grades 1 & 2