kids with animal hats

Grade 2

Grade 2 students become more active and independent as learners, as they master skills learned in lower grades. They start to build a strong foundation for future intellectual and creative pursuits. Their curiosity is engaged with numerous field trips in New York City.

A supportive and engaging learning environment, Grade 2 students learn to care about each other and members of the larger school community.

Grade 2 offers the Primary Years Program of the International Baccalaureate curriculum. In this student-centered curriculum, learning is inquiry-based, ensuring that each student’s strengths and interests are at the forefront of the learning experience.

Students may study Spanish, French, or Mandarin. Additional language offerings and Mother Tongue language classes are available upon request.

Peek Inside the Classroom

On any day, you might find our Grade 2 students:

  • Working as a team to create silhouettes inspired by Henri Matisse, and sharing their portraits at a meeting of the entire Lower School
  • Writing letters of appreciation to the people who help make Dwight such a special place
  • Researching a natural disaster using iPads, and conducting an experiment to make a volcano explode
  • Visiting Ellis Island as a class to learn about the immigrant experience and writing a realistic story about a journey to America
  • Practicing telling time to the nearest five minutes as part of a math lesson, and then celebrating "Poem in Your Pocket" day by reading a poem about time

Explore the Curriculum

Second grade at Dwight provides a strong academic foundation of intellectual and creative pursuits with a focus on ongoing skill development. The language arts curriculum focuses on basic reading, writing, grammar, spelling, penmanship, critical thinking, speaking, and listening. The second grade Units of Inquiry examine the concepts of interdependence, symbology, transformation, expression through stories, movement of people, and healthy choices. Students begin to learn basic research skills, discuss current events, and work collaboratively with a group. Opportunities are provided to encourage children to become active and independent learners. The curriculum is extended through numerous field trips that utilize the many resources of the city such as Ellis Island, The Museum at Eldridge Street, The American Museum of Natural History, and Central Park Natural Classrooms.

Units of Inquiry

Through the second grade Units of Inquiry, students are guided to ask deeper questions that will lead to richer discussion around the unit topics. Students are also taught to become more proficient in finding answers for themselves in multiple forms of media. There is a strong emphasis on cooperative learning as students use one another as resources and work as a team to make discoveries.

Our six Units of Inquiry and their central ideas are as follows:

Who We Are – The choices we make affect our health and well­-being.

How We Organize Ourselves – Signs and symbols help organize communities.

How We Express Ourselves – Stories inspire us and help us understand the world around us.

How the World Works – Natural forces change the Earth.

Where We Are in Place and Time – The movement of people brings about change.

Sharing the Planet – Living things are connected.


Second graders start the year by acclimating to the reading environment of the classroom, as well as developing their independent reading skills. Students consider their strengths and interests when choosing “just right” books, with an increased focus on chapter books. Second graders continue to develop their ability to decode and work on their overall comprehension of various texts. We help them navigate by giving them a forum to talk about their reading in one­-on-­one teacher conferences, peer partnerships, and small groups. Students are encouraged to discuss connections between texts, their own lives, and the world around them. They are also prompted to recognize characters’ feelings and challenges while following their journeys through books. As the year continues, second graders read non­-fiction books to improve their research skills and comprehension of informational text.


The students start the year by writing about themselves in their personal narratives. They write about personal experiences, as well as various things that they are interested in. Throughout the year, second graders write about things that happen over the weekend, as well as write thoughtful reflections at the end of each week. Students learn how to focus on one event and use that knowledge to produce detailed and thoughtful writing pieces. Second graders are given many opportunities to practice using descriptive language and correct writing conventions and skills. Additionally, they develop an understanding of the writing process and publish many fiction and nonfiction pieces throughout the course of the year.


In math, students work throughout the year on mastering their basic addition and subtraction facts. Problem­-solving and cooperation skills are woven into each of the math units. Students delve into inquiries in place value to further develop their number sense. Additionally, they learn the useful skills of dealing with money and time. Students enjoy the inquiry into measurement, where they are provided with the opportunity to move around the classroom to measure various lengths, perimeters, and distances. During a unit on geometry students explore two-dimensional and three­-dimensional shapes. A favorite unit focuses on interpreting data and graphing, in which students develop their own surveys.

World Language


All students in the PYP are required to study at least one language in addition to English. Learning these languages is seen to be an important element in preparing young people for citizenship in the developing global community.

Students in French, Spanish, and Mandarin are exposed to the culture of the target language and develop the necessary skills to become active users of the language at the end of their school career. Students in grades 1-­5 learn language through a variety of ways including songs, games, role-­playing, and cultural activities.

Chinese (Mandarin)

In second grade, students review previously covered material, while new concepts are presented. Students begin to write full sentences in Spanish and are able to read short phrases. Through conversations, students learn to create their own personal responses. Students will experience some Spanish traditions throughout the year as they celebrate “Día de los Muertos,” “Three Kings Day,” and “Cinco de Mayo.”


In second grade, students review previously covered material, while new concepts are presented. Students begin to write full sentences in Spanish and are able to read short phrases. Through conversations, students learn to create their own personal responses. Students will experience some Spanish traditions throughout the year as they celebrate “Día de los Muertos,” “Three Kings Day,” and “Cinco de Mayo.”


In second grade, students review previously covered material, while new concepts are presented. Students begin to write full sentences in French following example sentences and are able to read short phrases. Through conversations, students learn to create their own personal responses. Students will experience some of the French traditions throughout the year through cultural songs and music, from the French and Francophone countries. They also celebrate “La Francophonie” by presenting poems, songs, and stories.


Second graders enjoy creating their own jingles by using technology tools, singing in rounds, and playing and creating their own melodies, inspired by our Units of Inquiry. Students continue building their vocal skills and combine their singing with instrumental accompaniment and dance movements. Second graders learn melodic lines and accompaniments to famous melodies of classical composers. The ultimate goal of music education in Timothy House is to create a solid foundation of vocal music along with strong music notation and note reading skills, using a variety of instruments based on a personalized approach.

Physical Education

Second grade students develop the ability to solve physically challenging problems, individually, in pairs, and in small groups. They learn to identify different roles and responsibilities in team activities during adventure challenges. Students learn to apply skills and techniques involved in a variety of games­-related activities, and lead­-up games, as well as invent, present, evaluate, and modify their own tag games. Second graders are exposed to different stimuli of movement composition, and respond through movement to express feelings and moods using imagination and original ideas. They develop traditional gymnastic skills and interpret and answer movement tasks with or without a partner. Students explore and develop basic techniques of jumping, throwing, and running in their track and field unit, and are also introduced to collecting and recording results. Health­-related activities are taught throughout the year and students focus on the relationship of nutrition and exercise within an interdisciplinary approach.


In second grade, students begin to recognize their ability to utilize the library’s resources for their academic interests, as well pursuing books for personal and aesthetic growth. The primary focus in library is to become familiar with the location of specific types of books, arrangement of nonfiction books by subject, recognizing the parts of a book (index, glossary, etc.) as tools for basic research, and learning about and enjoying a variety of genres. Students are encouraged to use electronic resources, as well as books, in order to have many resources to satisfy their curiosity and supplement their classroom learning.


In the second grade, students are becoming more proficient at using their iPads. Students will continue to have technology integrated in their classrooms two times per cycle where they utilize a variety of applications for writing, programming, researching, and presenting multimedia that enrich their units of inquiry. Students explore a variety of drawing and painting tools in order to share their creativity. One of their favorite units is, How We Express Ourselves. Students become digital storytellers by using the app Puppet Pals, which encourages them to be expressive storytellers.

Visual Arts

Second grade students begin the year by looking at the form and movement of the human body. Channeling the work of Henri Matisse, they create giant figures during the first Unit of Inquiry, Who We Are. Inspired by the work of Paul Cezanne, they also begin to play with pattern and texture while creating detailed drawings of fruit. Students are introduced to printmaking during their second unit, How We Organize Ourselves. Continuing their inquiry into texture, pattern and emphasis, they create block prints out of repeated geometric shapes. Second graders build on the concepts of space and composition introduced in first grade this year, as they learn to use imagery in painting and printmaking to illustrate their stories. Students will embark on their exploration of three­-dimensional form during How The World Works. They will experiment with clay and other materials while creating landforms and natural disasters. Finally, during the Sharing the Planet unit, students revisit the elements of line, shape, and form when they learn how to draw animals by breaking their forms into simple shapes and lines.

Meet the Faculty

Click here to meet the faculty!


Martha Hirschman
Head of Lower School
(212) 724-6360 Ext 220


Chris Beddows
Associate Head of Lower School,
PYP Coordinator
(212) 724-6360 Ext 510



Maryll Spahn
Director of Admissions
Grades K-6


Liliana Rodriguez 
Associate Director of Admissions
Grades K-6


Melissa Andolina 
Assistant Director & Enrollment Manager, K - 12
(212) 724-6360 Ext 207