Upgrading the Family Literacy Circle with Your Second Grader
In Second Grade ALREADY!!!!! Prepare for Academic Acceleration in Learning & Language Literacy Skills. Listening & Speaking Vocabulary become increasingly…complex. Reading & Writing expectations approach independence. And the ongoing Research Projects….
Yes, there’s a TON of Academic Acceleration happening during your 7 year-old’s Second Grade year! And, yours truly is here to try & offer some helpful strategies & tips for “dealing” with this “BLOW OUT” year, which, BTW, will set the tone for next year’s “I Totally Got This !” Third Grade year….
So, Faithful Reader, I’m, again, writing a 5 ~ part Series. This time for Upgrading the FLC with Your Second Grade: Language Skills, Celebrations (Part 2), Research Skills (Part 3), and the ever-ongoing Literacy Skills of Reading (Part 4) & Writing (Part 5).
This is Part One :
Upgrading the FLC with Your Second Grader’s Learning & Language Skills
Your Second Grader’s Learning & Language Skills
There are no seven wonders in the eyes of a child. There are seven million. ~ Walt Streighttiff
Notice anything different about the way your 7 year-old looks? Some of that “baby-ness” may be slowly melting away as his/her motor skills continue to mature. S/he may even grow a few inches taller. Ready to take the training wheels off that two-wheeler?
Not only is his/her curiosity continuing to increase, the abilities to investigate & analyze the mysteries of the world are growing as well.
Those limitless questions are part of the excitement s/he is feeling about the exploration and discoveries of new environments as well as all those social situations. (OMG ~ did s/he just ask me THAT question?!?)
S/he is beginning to prefer playing with friends instead of adults, although family outings are still very enjoyable.
Once answered, s/he is eager to share the new knowledge s/he has learned with others, making your child a perfect candidate as a Peer-Mediator for a school-wide program called “PMII”, or Peer-Mediated Instruction & Intervention.
Yes, I’ve Heard About That Program
As a Peer-Instructor, s/he may act as an assistant during classroom instruction, cooperative learning, and/or peer-tutoring.
S/he may, also, be asked to help as a peer-supporter with social skills connections, such as easing reluctant students into group-share situations (cafeteria, recess, activities).
One of the most successful roles s/he will participate in is as a peer-interventionist during conflict resolution scenarios. As an educator of the young, I can tell you these youngsters work wonders with their peers as situational problem solvers without the company of an adult or teacher. Here’s a sample of an effective dialogue a Peer Mediator may use. This PDF includes strategies with options as well as typical student conflicts.
However, because your Second Grader is beginning to show concerns about what others (especially peers) think of him/her~ growing self-criticism & some confidence-shrinking may become an issue occasionally. And then, there’s the Worry-Wartness symptoms….
What’s to Worry About?
That malady called “Peer Pressure” is beginning to take hold now. Longing to be part of a group, your 7 year-old does not appreciate having attention called to his/her actions and/or accomplishments…. unlike the last few years…..oh dear…
Your child may worry about things that never seemed bothersome in the past, like clothes (“Too babyish!”), homework (“I’ll NEVER get all this done !”), physical irritations (“I think I have a deadly disease!”), bedtime (“I know there’s something hiding in my closet…”).
According to Hank Pellissier, founder & director of the Brighter Brains Institute, many Second Graders ” HATE making mistakes, not finishing tasks, and losing at anything. They have to be first, correct, punctual, best & perfect.” Sound familiar???
He further states that all this particular area of angst is part of your child’s brain growth. Understanding concepts like time, space, direction, distance & time are influencing the expectations s/he has on the completion of activities.
You Can Learn from Your Mistakes
You must never feel badly about making mistakes…as long as you take the trouble to learn from them. For you often learn more by being wrong for the right reasons that you do by being right for the wrong reasons. ~The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
I came across this great piece of helpful information when trying to boost a child’s confidence, especially when s/he is feeling insecure during the learning process. It is an anchor chart, Jen of Runde’s Room discovered created by a group of elementary school teachers. I did some editing, so please feel to use it with your little WorryWart:
So, of course, a safe, reliable, predictable & reassuring environment is necessary for maximum learning to occur. Keep those routines in place!
Your Child’s Classroom Learning Environment
Although having high expectations for your child may seem a bit harsh, they are, in fact, a match for those s/he and her/his classroom teacher has already put into play. Your Second Grader loves a good challenge ~ even thrives on it ~ as long as the limits are not too stressful. Rigor is a part of the curriculum.
The Second Grade classroom is filled with SEVERAL libraries: fiction readers ~ Picture & beginning Chapter trade books; nonfiction readers ~ earth, physical, ecology & life science concepts; social studies concepts ~ world culture, community helpers, economics, historical biographies, & atlases; math concepts ~ measurement, computation, fractions, money, geometry. There are bins of manipulatives, tools, instruments, notebooks, writing supplies, art supplies, etc. Center nooks are usually in place : reading, writing, science, math, social studies, a large, interactive calendar, maps, and, maybe even, a globe.
Your Child’s Home Learning Environment
Your Home Learning Environment probably shares many of the same elements. My Resource Library has some information for you regarding Your Educational Home Environment. Here’s the link:
And a PDF Materials list for you to download, copy & print:
And, then, there’s your Brain’s favorite Learning environment ~ the Great Outdoors! Nothing like fresh oxygen!
Your Seven Year-Old’s Brain
Call for brain power. ~Barbara Jordan
Outdoor play is critical to all children’s growth & development. They need to walk, run, jump, twist, turn, spin & play. Not only are 7 year-olds ready for free physical play, they are, also, ready get those training wheels off their speed racers, skateboard (YIKES) and participate in organized sports as well as back yard games. You remember these, right?!
- Hide ‘n Seek
- Red Light, Green Light
- Mother/Father/Granny/Granpa/Auntie/Uncle, May I ?
- Simon Says
- Multiple Tag Games
- Freeze Dance
In a recent article “Why Kids Need to Spend Time in Nature”, written by Danielle Cohen & published on the Child Mind Institute website, research supports what we humans, have known all along.
As educators, we all agree indoor recess is just not the same as being outside on the playground. Being outdoors is beneficial, not only to your physical health, but also, to your mental wellness.
“Most of the studies agree that kids who play outside are smarter, happier, more attentive, and less anxious than kids who spend more time indoors.”
Here are links to the complete article with an additional link for Ideas:
Lots of research, also, suggests students who engage in physical, outdoor play are able to learn more easily in academic environments. Dr. John Ratey, a Harvard Medical School psychiatrist & author of the book, Spark : The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain states exercise elevates a brain-building chemical he calls “Miracle-Gro for the Brain” because it encourages its growth & development.
Here’s another interesting article regarding Green Spaces & the Brain : https://parenting.firstcry.com/articles/research-finds-surprising-thing-that-can-boost-your-childs-brain-development/
And there are lots of indoor Brain exercises you can do.
Inside the Brain Activities
Second Grade requires students to participate in a more rigorous learning environment. Their Critical Thinking skills are engaging them in more complex reading, longer writing compositions, and greater problem solving concepts.
Because they are improving their brains’ processing skills, creating & presenting research projects become a significant part of their everyday classroom expectations. Technology will be used for these investigations, but…..go easy on Screen Time….it’s a Brain ~ Eater, but more on that in Part 2…..
Memory & rational brain areas are growing, giving them more impulse control, independence & planning power. Three-step directions should be easier for your child to follow ~ clothes in the hamper, bath with soap, pajamas on. Oh, and brush teeth & hair….guess that’s more than 3….
Need some support ? Gotta a Resource in the Library for you: :https://www.bizzylizzybiz.com/resources/meeting-following-directions-challenge/
I, also, have the Resource “Your Child Is A Brainiac” available for you :
And a few Critical Thinking List PDFs for you to download, copy, print & use for ideas :
And, speaking of Brain Food…..
Yes, There ARE Brain ~ Healthy Foods
Numerous brain scientists & nutritionists agree ~ there are certain foods, when part of our daily diet, actually help brains grow, develop & function more effectively. I created a little PDF reminder you can put on the fridge next to your grocery shopping list. It’s a broad, general list, so Go Julia (Child) ! Brain Foods Poster
Many lists I read, listed Oatmeal, Blueberries & Eggs as the top 3 foods, especially for children. Hmmm…sounds like Breakfast & Cookies…… And because I LOVE to cook, especially with children, I adapted a few recipes using these ingredients for you to make and eat with your child (ren). They’re in a PDF, recipe card format with front & back covers, so you can download, copy, print & cut apart to include as a section in your kitchen recipe box or notebook :
This GREAT website is packed with loads of links, activities & recipes to include in your family’s health & wellness regimen:
Plus a few more:
The Brain continues to influence the healthy development of your child’s Language skills ~ yes….finally…for the Language part of this post. It is in the title, after all…..
Your 7 ~ Year ~ Old’s Literacy Language Skills
Remember the Receptive & Expressive ~ Listening & Speaking ~ components of your child’s ever-growing Language Skills? Well, talk about Academic Acceleration….
Your Second Grader’s curriculum content, trade books, grade-level readers AND critical thinking vocabulary expectations are escalating to new heights….
If your child’s school district follows the Common Core, here are a FEW of the Listening & Speaking objectives being taught in the Second Grade classroom:
- actively participate in collaborative discussions about grade-level content with peers as well as adults in small/large group settings
- use complete sentences to ask or answer questions, tell a story with details, recall & describe an experience, verbalize comprehension of learned content/concepts with key ideas
- orally present & explain research projects to include details
Speaking of Concepts…. Does your 7 year-old understand:
- Ordinals ~ first, second…
- Differences & Similarities
- Comparatives ~ small, smaller, smallest
- Time ~ yesterday, tomorrow, last week, etc.
And how’s his/her grammar ?
Then, there are a bunch of the “Conventions of Standard English” to be used when writing and/or speaking. Some of these, I’ll call them Grammar, include:
- Plurals ~ regular & irregular
- Collective Nouns
- Past Tense verbs ~ regular & irregular
- Adjectives & Adverbs
I created a few PDF Grammar activities for you to download, copy, print & play with your Second Grader:
My BLB Shop has a game to help your child learn how to Categorize Nouns, which is, also, a Critical Thinking skill. Just click on the link below for access:
Then…………there is, also, the Vocabulary Acquisition & Use components….for Understanding & Using when Speaking, Listening, Reading AND Writing….. uh huh….
MY, What a BIG Vocabulary You Have…..
Among the expectations in THIS category…..
- root words /prefixes / suffixes
- compound words
- critical thinking words
- high-level, academic words
- difficult common content vocabulary
- beginning dictionary & glossary skills
My Calendar Corner collection in BLB Shop can help your Second Grader master some of these Vocabulary concepts in a fun, engaging way:
I, also, created a specific product for learning those BIG High-Level & Common Content Vocabulary Words :
The website, studenttreasures.com, published an article ~ “Effective Strategies for Teaching Vocabulary to Second Graders” with these ideas:
- Engage in oral & hands-on Wordplay
- Use visual elements, like a Word Wall, Word Collages
- Locate vocabulary during read-alouds
OMG!!!! Now you see why I had to divide this content into a 5 ~ part series…..
Just one more thing….I promise….
SOOOOO, By the End of Second Grade….
Your child, approaching or celebrating 8 years-old, will probably:
- Continue to improve his/her reasoning, processing & focusing skills
- See connections between concepts for compare & contrast purposes
- Experience a MAJOR vocabulary expansion
- Increase her/his reading fluency, decoding & comprehension skills
- Utilize dictionary skills to locate irregularly spelled words, harder words, definitions & synonyms
- Improve his/her editing & revising skills during the writing process
Onto Celebrations !!!
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