Are you a new 2nd grade teacher? Welcome to the BEST grade! Second graders love their teachers, love school, and are creative and funny! They are eager to learn and soak up content like sponges. Below are the best tips for taking on grade two and all the fun that comes with it!
Second graders love familiar routines. Prioritize teaching routines right at the beginning of the year. (Model, model and model those routine behaviors!) One important routine is the morning routine. What should students do right away when they enter the classroom? Some ideas:
The easiest morning routine is seat work, sometimes called bell work. Seat work is work that students know to do first thing (After getting their needed materials for the day!) Having seat work takes away the question of “what should I do now?” when students enter the classroom.
Ideas for Seat Work:
Have students get out their notebooks and answer the writing prompt of the day OR free write. (Check out this free Writing Prompt Generator!) Another great prompt is projecting a picture for the whole class or passing out magazine pictures for the students to make up a story about or list things they see.
Spiral Seat Work:
Spiral work aligns with 2nd grade ELA and math standards. Also, it’s available in three differentiated levels and gets more challenging as the school year progresses. The Lucky Little Learners curriculum team has created Spiral Math for grades 1-3 and Spiral ELA for grade 2. Using a year-long resource causes the students to get familiar with it and stops the teacher from hearing “How do I do this?” while they are already multitasking all of those first thing in the morning to-dos.
STEAM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics, is HUGE in the education world. These tubs allow students to use critical thinking skills in these areas, while using their hands and having fun. STEAM tubs are kits for students to pull out each morning and create whatever they can think of! An easy way to get the materials for these tubs is to ask for donations of items from your classroom families! They can even fill the tub at home for their child to discover at school. Another name for this concept is “Makerspace”. The best way to understand how this type of morning work looks is by seeing pictures. Check out this GINORMOUS Pinterest board dedicated to Makerspace!
If you are okay with organized chaos, allowing students to choose a game, toy or other free time activity is always fun! Students will look forward to this each morning. It is IMPORTANT to set ground rules for choice time. For example: Only two students per lego tub, no running or yelling, stay at your own table, etc..do what works best for the class! When you ensure that students understand the expectations of this time of day, everyone is more productive and learning is more fun! It may be beneficial to create a schedule for the most popular items, like iPad/computer time, Legos, etc.
Want more morning routine ideas? Check out our Classroom & Online Morning Routines post.
The classroom is the home away from home for the teacher and students. Setting up the best classroom is something teachers think about all year round! One way to picture your classroom layout is drawing it out. Check out this quick’n’easy Classroom Setup post to see one way to set up your dream space with small groups/centers in mind.
Here are some ideas to simplify your classroom set up:
Pocket charts, clipboards, seat sacks (if students won’t have desks), chart paper, etc..are all essential tools in a 2nd grade classroom. We all know Amazon is a teacher’s best friend right? Check out this previous post 11 Amazon Organization Tools For Your Classroom for detailed ideas. Our favorite organization tool is the Lucky Little Toolkit. (A teacher’s lifesaver!) This tool allows students to have all their graphic organizers, worksheets, and paper manipulatives in ONE spot!
2nd graders like a WIDE variety of books. It is best to have a healthy mix of fiction and nonfiction titles for students to select from. You can sort your books by Lexile level, AR level, or genre. If you need to get more books but lack the funding for brand new books, head to garage sales, ask families for donations of old books, browse thrift stores or rack up points from book orders!
Second grade is all about turning students into lifelong learners and readers. It is so important to expose students to many genres. Having a designated read aloud time will become a familiar routine students look forward to! Check out the teacher voted on Top 20 Read Alouds for a 2nd Grade Classroom to get your reading list started today! We also have a post dedicated to the best 30 picture books and chapter books for second grade read alouds.
There is SO much to share about teaching second grade that it cannot fit into one post! This post will end with some bonus ideas to keep your 2nd grade classroom the best place to be!
Turn an ordinary school day into a theme filled day! Here are some ideas!
2nd Graders LOVE drawing! Check out this amazing youtube channel with TONS of drawing videos.
Toothy is a SUPER engaging game created by Lucky Little Learners that can be used in all subject areas! Bonus – students learn to play it once, then they will be self-sufficient! Teachers like to use Toothy games for whole group skills review, partner work, center/ station activities, an option for early finishers, and intervention assignments. This is SUCH a versatile and powerful resource to have on hand throughout the year.
2nd grade truly is the BEST grade to teach! Want more ideas? Check out our facebook group, Lucky 2nd Grade Teachers!