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Overview: Grade Two

In Grade Two, students continue to build their skills, knowledge and understanding through integrated units that include writing, reading, word study, spelling, social studies, math and science.



Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening

Language and literacy development are essential for learning. The TAS standards and benchmarks for language arts outline what students will know and be able to do in language arts at each grade level. We use a balanced literacy approach to engage students in developmentally appropriate instruction. Our program includes:

Talk Strategies: strategies to help children articulate ideas and deepen their thinking in all content areas

Reading Workshop: strategy-based instruction to develop the skills and habits of proficient readers

Writing Workshop: clear, sequenced instruction that teaches students to turn their ideas into powerful written messages across genres and for a variety of purposes

Interactive Read Aloud: a time for students to engage with literature and grow ideas

Word Study: explicit instruction where students develop phonics, spelling, and vocabulary skills

Grammar: standards-based instruction that helps children develop proficiency in their use of English grammar, orally and in writing

We honor the developmental nature of language and literacy development by differentiating instructional strategies and materials.

In Grade two, students will make significant gains as readers and writers. We have designed a series of standards-based units that, while challenging, will create lifelong enthusiasm for reading and writing. These units are:


  • Taking Charge of Reading
  • Becoming Experts: Reading Nonfiction
  • Studying Characters and Their Stories
  • Bigger Books Mean Amping Up Reading Power
  • Reading Nonfiction Cover to Cover
  • Series Book Clubs


  • Lessons from the Masters: Improving Narrative Craft
  • Information Books: Writing to Teach Others
  • Writing Gripping Fictional Stories
  • Poetry: Big Thoughts in Small Packages
  • Independent Writing Projects
  • Writing about Reading



Character education is woven into every subject area and every classroom. Teachers reinforce the TAS values of honesty, respect, responsibility, kindness and courage through classroom discussions, appropriate literature, songs and role play. By modeling and reinforcing the values, we hope that all students develop good habits and demonstrate the values in what they say and do every day.

Responsive Classroom
Responsive classroom is woven into every subject area
and every classroom. The emphasis is on helping
students develop their academic, social, and emotional
skills in a learning environment that is developmentally
responsive to their strengths and needs.

The Responsive Classroom approach consists of a set
of practices and strategies that build academic and
social-emotional competencies:

  • Interactive Modeling—An explicit practice for teaching procedures and routines (such as those for entering and exiting the room) as well as academic and social skills (such as engaging with the text or giving and accepting feedback).
  • Teacher Language—The intentional use of language to enable students to engage in their learning and develop the academic, social, and emotional skills they need to be successful in and out of school.

  • Logical Consequences—A non-punitive response to misbehavior that allows teachers to set clear limits and students to fix and learn from their mistakes while maintaining their dignity.

  • Morning Meeting—Everyone in the classroom gathers in a circle for twenty to thirty minutes at the beginning of each school day and proceeds through four sequential components: greeting, sharing, group activity, and morning message.

  • Establishing Rules—Teacher and students work together to name individual goals for the year and establish rules that will help everyone reach those goals.

  • Energizers—Short, playful, whole-group activities that are used as breaks in lessons.

  • Quiet Time—A brief, purposeful and relaxed time of transition that takes place after lunch and recess, before the rest of the school day continues.



The lower school counselor, in addition to supporting individual children and parents, teaches a guidance lesson in the classroom once in every ten-day cycle. Lessons are designed to help children strengthen their social skills and better understand the role of emotions in life. Children learn problem solving and conflict resolution skills appropriate for their grade level.



The mathematics curriculum has two major components: Standards for Mathematical Practice and Standards for Mathematical Content. The Standards for Mathematical Practice define what it means to be a mathematical thinker and are addressed at all grade levels of the Lower School. Students will be able to:

  • Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
  • Reason abstractly and quantitatively
  • Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
  • Model with mathematics
  • Use appropriate tools strategically
  • Attend to precision
  • Look for and make use of structure
  • Look for patterns

The Standards for Mathematical Content are the topics addressed at each grade level. Emphasis is placed on a balance of conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, and real-world application.Grade two topics include:

  • Sums and Differences to 100
  • Addition and Subtraction of Length Units
  • Place Value, Counting, and Comparison of Numbers to 1,000
  • Addition and Subtraction within 200 and Word Problems to 100
  • Addition and Subtraction within 1,000 and Word Problems to 100
  • Problem Solving with Length, Money, and Data
  • Time, Shapes, and Fractions as Equal Parts of Shapes

The major resource for the lower school mathematics program is Eureka Math. Parents can access information about the program at http://greatminds.net/maps/math/home. A strategic approach allows for academic rigor while still meeting the needs of all students.



The lower school Mandarin program is committed to developing students’ Chinese language proficiency and deepening their appreciation for Chinese culture.

There are two tracks in the program, and different courses are offered in both tracks, based on students’ language proficiency levels, designed to meet students’ abilities and needs. In grade two, introductory, bridging, and grade level courses are offered.

The Mandarin Learner Track is for students who study Mandarin as a second language. The goal is to develop students’ listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills with an emphasis on oral proficiency as a tool for meeting age-appropriate functional and informational needs. As the students gain oral skills, they begin to read and write, which sets them on a course for more advanced Mandarin language study. Students in the Learner Track use Pinyin, a Romanization system, to help them learn to read and write traditional Chinese characters.

The Mandarin Heritage Track is for students whose first language or strong additional language is Mandarin. The goal is to develop and enhance students’ overall language proficiency while focusing on reading and writing to build a solid foundation in literacy skills. Students in the Heritage Track use Zhuyin, Bopomofo Phonetic Symbols, to help them learn to read and write traditional Chinese characters.



Highly engaging and rigorous, the program is developmentally appropriate and provides an enriching experience for all young scientists. The processes and skills of science are emphasized within the context of ‘doing’ science in real life situations using live specimens, suitable technology, and hands-on materials. The curriculum is built on the California State Science Standards and Benchmarks. The FOSS (Full Option Science System) science program serves as the core resource.

In grade two, students will study the following concepts:

Pebbles, Sand, and Silt

Students engage with the anchor phenomenon of earth materials that cover the planet’s surface. They observe the properties of rocks of various sizes and study the components of soil, study the results of weathering and erosion, locate natural sources of water, and determine how to represent the shapes and kinds of land and bodies of water on Earth.

The driving questions are what are the properties of earth materials and how do they interact and change? Students use simple tools to observe, describe, analyze, and sort solid earth materials and learn how the properties of the materials are suited to different purposes.

Students explore how wind and water change the shape of the land and compare ways to slow the process of erosion. Students learn about the important role that earth materials have as natural resources.

Throughout the Pebbles, Sand, and Silt Module, students engage in science and engineering practices to collect and interpret data to answer science questions, develop models to communicate interactions and processes, and define problems in order to compare solutions. Students gain experiences that will contribute to understanding of crosscutting concepts of patterns; cause and effect; scale, proportion, and quantity; energy and matter; and stability and change.


The Insects Module provides experiences that heighten students' awareness of the living world. They come to know firsthand the life cycles of a number of insects. Students see the life cycles of insects unfold in real time and compare the stages exhibited by each species.

In this module, students will:

  • provide for the needs of living insects and growing.

  • observe beetles and butterflies change from larvae to pupae to adult.

  • observe insect mating and egg laying.

  • compare structures on crickets to other kinds of insects.

  • observe incomplete and complete metamorphosis.

  • make predictions about the the other insect and animal life cycles, based on observations of other insects in the classroom.



In our Robotics and Engineering programs, students are exposed to computational thinking skills, a set of problem-solving skills that are applied to working with computers and other digital devices. Its application in science and engineering projects enables students to use powerful digital tools to carry our investigations and build and program models. Students explore the fundamentals of programming and learn how to use variables, loops and functions to create simple animations and games. Students also learn about the electronic and mechanical parts of robots and explore how to program their behavior. To control a robot's movement, students focus on the relationship between force and time and distance.



The purpose of our social studies program is to cultivate global citizens by ensuring students have knowledge of history, governmental systems, economics, culture, geography, and religion. Our history and social studies program is designed to ensure that students have the necessary tools and understanding to become effective problem-solvers, critical thinkers, and decision-makers in an ever-changing, interconnected world. In grade two, students will study the following units:

Main Street: Understanding Goods and Services

Students learn about the role of businesses in the community and learn how to deal with a variety of problems that businesses face.

Solving Problems in the Park

This unit provides children with an array of problems to solve in the creation and maintenance of a park. When children are confronted with bullies, they learn strategies for responding and keeping the park a safe place for everyone.

Participation in our Community (Service Project):

Students from each classroom discuss the importance of helping others within our community. Students gather supplies to support a family in need in the Taipei area. In addition, the students will visit the elder care center and teach them a math game. This provides second graders with an opportunity to experience and explore diversity (age) and to strengthen social, emotional, and character traits. It is also an opportunity to strengthen oral communication and experience risk taking.



Music students sing, play pitched and un-pitched percussion instruments, dance, do creative movement, improvise, and learn to read and write music. We use experiences with language, body percussion, instruments and movement to help students develop their musical skills and understanding.

Each quarter we work on developing three specific drama skills through a selection of fun theater games: Cooperation/Collaboration, Physical Expression, Speech, Vocal Expression, Concentration, Imagination, Stage Skills, Characterization, Listening, Timing, Trust, and Self-Discipline. In addition, at various times in the year, we will use themes from homeroom classes, rhymes, songs, fairy tales, folk tales, myths, poetry or inspiration from music and literature to develop short drama projects. These pieces may be shared in the form of audio recordings, video, informal in-class presentations, and public performances.



In Grade Two Physical Education, the students study units in the areas of manipulative, movement, fitness, aquatics and personal/social development. Manipulative involves the development of skills in throwing, catching, striking, kicking and dribbling such as hitting a stationary target with an overhand throw and striking a ball with a lightweight racket. Movement involves the development of skills in spatial awareness, locomotor and non-locomotor such as creating pathways around objects and balancing on a variety of body parts. Fitness involves both the study of concepts and skills. Aquatics is a swim development program based on individual needs. Personal and social development is a reflection of the TAS values in action through physical education.

The focus of the lower school program is age appropriate, carefully sequenced skill development in a spirit of cooperation.



The art curriculum lays foundational skills through exploration, discovery, creativity, and amazement in visual media by teaching art history, art production, art criticism, and aesthetics at a developmentally appropriate level. The program is carefully sequenced to ensure each year builds on the previous year’s skill development and knowledge. At each level the foundational skills of basic drawing techniques, color mixing, principles of design, and critiques are built upon, while integrating STEAM concepts. Learning a design process with these basic art skills gives students the tools, experience, and confidence to develop and present their creative ideas. In addition to drawing, painting, printmaking, and ceramics, a variety of other media and concepts are explored throughout the year.



Teachers work with the IT Coordinator to develop integrated lessons that use relevant tools and current technology to enhance the learning experience. Lessons are also designed to help students develop positive digital citizenship skills.



The library provides a wide range of materials which encourage and support information literacy development. Students visit the library for literature enrichment, library skills development, digital resources, book checkout, and to conduct research.