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Second Grade
 

Click on the link below to view a description of a curriculum unit that exemplifies how different core subject areas are enacted within a particular grade. These descriptions provide a glimpse of life inside SCCS.

Montgomery Bus Boycott Study Recycling

 

Social Justice: The Montgomery Bus Boycott Study
Boycott
 
Boycott

In second grade, students continue to learn how to take care of each other within the context of the classroom and school community. We also look beyond the walls of the school to explore how people advocate for change in the face of inequality. Or in the language of second grade, what happens when people try to change the things that are unfair in their communities. We study the Montgomery Bus Boycott as a vehicle to begin to grapple with an historic struggle for social justice. During this study, children are particularly drawn to the sacrifices people make and to the power that a group of individuals can exert.

To deepen our understanding of this historical event, we walk together for a mile. The experience of walking as a group over a distance helps children begin to understand the power of participating in a movement as well as the difficulties of having to walk great distances daily. This experience becomes a communal touchstone as our study deepens.

Toward the end of the unit, the students write poems in which they explore and document the power of the movement as expressed in the language and choices of the participants, as well as the difficulties they endured: “Months have passed/Tired legs of strong-hearted citizens/Strong voices shouting in every direction,” "Sitting tall Rosa Parks/Refused to get off the bus/Rosa's proud voice said, 'You may do that.” Another culminating project is the creation of a three-dimensional mural in which children construct a narrative timeline depicting the people, places, and events of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This is exhibited in a public space to be shared with the larger school community.

 

Our Earth: Recycling
Recycling
 
Recycling

Second graders begin the year enthusiastically anticipating their role as school-wide recyclers. This on-going curriculum connects to one of the guiding questions of second grade: what is an activist? Every day teams of second graders gather their equipment – gloves, buckets, and clipboards – and walk through the school. They gather recyclable containers from each classroom and keep tallies of the categorized materials consisting of glass, plastic, metal, and other.

Collection involves mathematical problem solving as students figure out how to keep track of the materials in each category, recording first daily then weekly totals using tally marks. This involves grouping, skip counting, breaking apart numbers and recounting, and checking over the work. We also visit a recycling center to see what happens to the recycled materials after they leave the school. We invite outside activists to speak to the class, such as “Pedal People”, a garbage collection company that uses bicycles instead of trucks. At the end of the year, we calculate the grand totals and share this information with the school during Earth Day celebrations. At this event, the second graders joyfully participate in a variety of fun activities that emphasize environmental awareness, including the recycle relay race on tricycles honoring the concept of “Pedal People.”


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