I find second grade one of the most delightful grades to teach.
Major resources/blocks to think about:
Physical Movement: See Part One of this post. All rhythmic games are so important. In the home environment, I would also consider morning walks, “recess” before or after lunch and limiting school hours so you can have long afternoons of hiking, biking, skiing, swimming and being outdoors.
Gardening: Developing the twelve senses through gardening, stories of elemental beings
Eurythmy: We don’t have a lot of options for this in the home. You can try Cynthia Hoven’s website.
Music: All manner of folk songs and pentatonic songs, pentatonic flute.
“Woodworking”: stories of woodland creatures and gnomes, building little structures out in the woods
Handwork: Crochet is usually what is done this year. “Will Developed Intelligence” writes: “Second grade handwork also begins with a series of projects using the continuous thread. This time the children learn to crochet using bright colored balls of cotton yarn thick enough for a size seven crochet hook. Crocheting emphasizes one hand instead of two. The balance is different, although both hands are busy. It takes a new, more intense kind of concentration. This is another rhythmical, repetitive activity with the hands that strengthens the will and brings clarity to the thinking.”
Modeling: Modeling simple shapes with beeswax.
Painting: Painting with all six colors, animal forms arising from the interplay of color, choosing the right paints for which ones help each other and how not to have one color dominate too much, specific paint names and lighter/darker/warmer/cooler, how to place a figure in the painting and echo the color of the figure in the background,
Drawing: For form drawing – I like running forms (I sometimes put this as the very last block of first grade, sometimes beginning of second – depends on your child – LOOK at your child!); symmetry and mirror drawing, using block and stick crayons.
I like this passage from “Drawing With Hand, Head and Heart”: “Second graders are only just on the cusp of leaving early childhood’s dreamy at-oneness with the world. In second grade drawing is similar to that of first grade but a bit more detail begins to appear (both in the teacher’s drawings and in the student’s work) in simple fashion. Facial features on people and animals may appear, and backgrounds can include more detail, but still no foreshortening, linear perspective, or play of shadows.”
Mathematics – Whole numbers, patterns, times tables, place value, lots of ACTIVE games (see my game-oriented math board on Pinterest), some sources say adding in columns and some sources say to stick with horizontal problems for now (again, LOOK at your child!), time (although many folks do a block on this in third grade), money – thinking in mathematics really comes in here. The beginnings of mathematical reasoning.
- Do check out Multiplicando by Howard Schrager
- Grandfather Tang’s Story by Tompert
Sciences – Nature studies based on nature stories; stimulation of the Twelve Senses in nature, Cooking
Some of my favorite resources:
- The Little Gnome Tenderroot by Jakob Streit
- Among the (Forest, Night, Meadow, etc) People
Languages (foreign) – in the school setting this would include imitation of songs, verses, games, poems, plays, counting, names of animals, family members, body parts, foods, the seasons, the colors, months of the year – usually in two different foreign languages. I find in the home environment the study of foreign languages rarely happens unless the parent has a particular skill in a language.
English and Grammar – reading from the Main Lesson books the child has written, simple sentences in writing, working on small letters if not already introduced in first grade, rhyming words and word families. See back posts on “Waldorf Education in Practice” for more information (book review section). If you have times to practice reading simple books, which I am not sure if the Waldorf Schools make time for this or not, but this is common in the home environment, I suggest looking at these books (again, look at your child and these books and see where they are!)
- Sam Cat and Nat Rat (and other titles) by Shelley Davidow
- Lazy Jack (and other titles) by Kelly Morrow
- Hay for My Ox and other stories: A first reading book for Waldorf Schools edited by Isabel Wyatt and Joan Rudel
- The Pancake by James Fassett
- Fee Fi Fo Fum! by Arthur Pittis
- Voices of Nature: Stories for Young Readers Whole Spirit Press
- Little Wolf by Ann McGovern could be a possible reader or read aloud.
Sources of Literature/History:
Fables – Aesop’s, Celtic, African, Latin American, American Tall Tales, Norwegian and Swedish Folks Tales, Chinese and Tibetan Folk Tales, Folk Tales of Eastern Europe, etc.
Some of my favorite resources:
- Russian Fairy Tales Pantheon Fairy Tales and Folklore Library; also individual books such as “Masha and the Firebird” by Bateson and Wilson
- Favorite Children’s Stories from China and Tibet by Lotta Hume
- Norwegian Folk Tales by Asbjornsen and Moe
- Hidden Tales from Eastern Europe by Barber and Hess
- Anansi the Spider Man by Philip M. Sherlock
- The Boy Who Drew Cats and Other Japanese Fairy Tales by Hearn and others
- Tales of A Chines Grandmother, Tales of A Korean Grandmother
- Bantu Folk Tales
- The Dancing Palm Tree and Other Nigerian Folktales – Walker
- “Why the Sun and Moon Live in the Sky” in “Hear the Voice of the Griot!” by Staley
Legends of Saints – I feel very strongly that figures such as Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr do NOT belong in this grade. I think the figures in this grade, which is under the nine year change, need to be more archetypal and more figures with one foot in legend and one foot on earth, so to speak.
Some of my favorite resources:
- Saint Odelia by Jakob Streit (he also has a small book about Saint Francis of Assisi)
- For a reader in this block, perhaps “Bless This Mouse” by Lois Lowry
- Perhaps Pollack’s book about the Ba’al Shem Tov’s proverbs could go in fables or in saints
- Main Lesson free book with Saints and Animals (Christian): The Book of Saints and Friendly Beasts
- Any number of good resources about Saint Francis of Assisi and Orthodox/Anglican Saint Saint Seraphim of Sarov; also Saint Felix and the Spider, and The Saint and His Bees by Jackson
- You can tell simplified stories of the Saints found in “Hear The Voice of the Griot!” by Staley, including the Christian Saints St. Augustine of Hippo, St. Marcarius The Elder of Egypt, St. John the Little, St. Moses the Strong Man; Islamic Holy figures of Sidi Ahmed El Kebir, El-Magharibi, and Holy Man Kintu and the Law of Love,
American Indian stories – great for nature stories! I have some titles on my Second Grade Pinterest Board
The King of Ireland’s Son by Padraic Colum (and along this vein, I like the book “Where The Mountain Meets the Moon” by Grace Lin).
For General Reading Aloud:
- I love Carolyn Haywood’s sweet books about Betsy, Eddie, etc.
- The Paper Crane by Molly Bang
- The Clown of God by Tomie de Paola
- “Little House In The Big Woods” and “Little House On the Prairie”
Please leave your second grade suggestions below –