By the end of Primary School, our second graders have built a solid foundation of academic skills and social-emotional wellness. Our curriculum includes the following units and activities that continue to expand their abilities:
- Exploring inventions and inventors of the past and comparing them to items they use today before sharing them with the whole school in our Inventors Showcase
- Portraying a beloved character after studying a favorite book
- Increasing math fact fluency and applying this knowledge to bar models and word problems
- Conducting hands-on experiments about water conservation, hydroponics and solar power in our new outdoor classroom
Students learn to identify and explain the main idea and other important story elements both while reading and in discussion. They learn to decode, spell and define challenging vocabulary. In our Writing Workshops, students learn the art of writing. They create personal narratives, research reports on topics of interest, poetry and realistic fiction. Armed with knowledge of the parts of speech, sentence structure, and punctuation, student writers are able to edit and improve their writing to share with a variety of audiences.
Using enriched teaching methods including visual models, apps, collaborative work, hands-on activities, and gameplay, students are able to build on and master challenging math concepts. Students develop solid conceptual understanding through a focus on problem solving. Through the use of concrete-to-pictorial-to-abstract development of concepts, students use model drawings to connect visual representation to problem solving and algebra. They explore patterns, addition, subtraction, fractions, money, measurement, multiplication and division. In Geometry, students learn to identify both two and three dimensional shapes and their properties. Real world word problems included in every chapter apply the concepts and skills. Consolidation of the concepts and skills is reinforced by practice, activities, math journals, and homework.
As their understanding of basic music concepts evolves, students identify notes, rests, verses and refrains. They read, sing and sign musical patterns and melodies. They explore meter through various styles of music and have the opportunity to create and improvise. Students are introduced to the Orchestra—learning about brass, woodwind, string and percussion sections through experiences and written tests. Connecting to their global studies, students are introduced to musical styles and instruments from around the world.
Physical Education & Swimming
With a varied mix of sports and activities, students enjoy the social interaction and self-expression our classes provide. From jumping, throwing, catching and kicking to learning how to play team sports with strategy, students activate their minds and bodies in new ways. They play soccer, team handball, floor hockey, basketball and gymnastics. Instructors also utilize obstacle courses and our climbing wall to build skills in balance and coordination. In our Red Cross swim program, students progress between Levels II to IV. They improve their strokes, kicks and turns and continue to learn water safety—from proper diving and jumping to various ways to tread water. At this stage students are also challenged with an endurance swim, many completing a one-mile swim over the course of multiple classes.
Students engage in scientific explorations in the science lab, living classroom, and outdoors on the school’s campus and beautiful surrounding Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Through in-depth studies of environmental issues students explore a variety topics including plants, seeds, the water cycle and water conservation, and the sun and its alternative energy possibilities. Science extends into physical science units that include sound, simple machines, engineering, and robotics. Highlights of the year include building hydroponic gardens from recycled materials, taking walks on campus to identify the wide diversity of trees, preparing and examining dry mount slides under a microscope to observe leaf structures, wiring circuits and connecting solar batteries to power several toys, making musical instruments and analyzing sounds using a virtual oscilloscope, and a series of robotic and engineering challenges.
Social Studies and Science curriculums are integrated and experienced through a year-long unit titled, “Magnificent Things”. Students learn about inventors and inventions from the past and how their creations have a direct impact on your lives today. The driving question is, “What problems do inventors solve?” The students will study the history of transportation (cars), the history of flight, famous buildings around the world, and the history of toys. At the end of each unit of study, parents are invited to the student lead showcase where all students will have the opportunity to share their learning and be the ‘experts’. The products created through both collaboration and individual work follows each step of the Engineering Design Process.
At Old Trail, the World Language classrooms have evolved in response to research on language acquisition and best practice so that every student can find success. Spanish classes are executed with comprehensible input in mind - the idea that language-learners must be provided with spoken and written messages in the target language that are easily understood. Outdated, grammar-based practices have been replaced with genuine engagement in the target language. The Primary division welcomes students to the rich and exciting world of natural language acquisition. Old Trail creates an environment with the right conditions for language to develop organically. Children at this level begin their engagement in a native-like, acquisition processes. They listen to stories, songs and other input that is relevant and to which they can connect emotionally, as this connection is what encourages them to internalize the language. Students communicate their comprehension through movement, art and simple phrases.
Students use a wide variety of the latest technology tools to enhance their classroom study. The children have access to desktop computers, interactive whiteboards, document cameras and a computer lab. Second graders use iPads in a 1:1 setting in the classroom. Students use technology programs for drawing, drag and drop programming and coding, and computer-aided design (CAD). They learn to log in to their school accounts and cloud-based file storage and access and use logins and passwords for various programs and websites for school and home use. Students use word processing, age-appropriate websites, map creation programs and Google Earth. They perform internet search techniques, learn how to be safe online and how to be good digital citizens. Basic keyboarding skills, QR Codes, introductory robotics, presentation creation, camera use, and movie and book creation are also introduced and used at this grade level.
Visual ArtsStudents gain a deeper understanding of their global studies with related artistic project ideas. Students explore geometric shapes, parallel lines and hot and cold colors through drawing, cut paper and weavings. Students imagine and create their own place where the inhabitants live in harmony, then reflect on their creation in a written summary. These Peaceable Kingdoms and Queendoms are based on literature and global culture. Through artwork, students also explore Polar scenes, city skylines, and self-portraits in sculpture, cut-paper collage, clay and printmaking. In conjunction with a visit to The Cleveland Museum of Art, students compose still life drawings using a crayon-resist and watercolor technique as part of a project-based learning in Spanish and Art.