Grade 2 Student Goals:
In Grade 2, the following grammar and punctuation will be expected in my class:
You know why spelling always seems difficult? It is difficult! The rules are always hazy, and when kids ask adults how to spell something or why something is spelled a certain way, they are often met with the kinds of looks puppies give to sounds they hear for the first time. In the second grade, kids get the best they can get when it comes to spelling by learning frequencies of spelling patterns. In the future they can play the odds when it comes to spelling with what they learn in the second grade.
- Ch, Th, Sh, and Wh are H combinations that occur very frequently in English. How many can you and your students come up with. There is no explanation good enough as to why “why” begins with a Wh, but it does.
- K is often silent! Sure, if you're older and know about knives and knitting, you might not feel benighted, but if you're just a young knave this might just blow your mind.
- -igh makes more sounds than it should. Some people never get -igh straight. Shouldn't your kids get it right? They're almost eight!
- Diphthongs are fun to practice. Boing, coin, cooperate, and duodenum all have vowel diphthongs. Can you think of more? Also, although everyone will know what a diphthong is by the end of their second grade grammar lessons, but not many will know how to spell it. Make sure your wards do.
- Double consonants are fun, too. Scribble, rattle, bubbles, and puddles are all fun words to say and write. How many other words can you think of that have double consonants?
Describing the World with Superlatives
By now, most kids will have learned “most” and the -est suffix. The biggest problem is trying to figure out when to use which. Many kids will have trouble with superlatives because, well, there's no rule to this one either. The difference between most big and biggest is that the latter simply sounds better to trained ears. Remember that children do not have trained ears yet. Some will double up, saying things like “the quarter is the most biggest coin,” while others will omit the superlative altogether, saying “the quarter is the big coin.”
When you correct such mistakes, never repeat their mistake back to them; say it properly and wait for them to say it back. Try not to say no either. It's important to stay as positive as possible when it comes to the really frustrating stuff.
Who's the youngest? Who's the oldest? What's the most awesome movie of all time? Where are the coolest buildings in the word? Keep asking questions like these and you'll find out how interminable the usefulness of superlatives is very quickly.
The Poetry of Second Grade Grammar
Tone and rhythm are so extremely important to the English language that no one except poets pay attention to it. Once in a while, when something goes wrong, and you can't understand what has just been said, you might notice that someone's rhythm is out of whack. When a child says unintelligible to everyone but their own parents, it's probably because of a rhythm problem, too. In fact, when a native speaker fails to understand a nonnative speaker, it isn't because of vocabulary or grammar or anything else; it's rhythm.
Tone is another of the poet's toys. Have you ever felt offended by something innocuous? It's probably because the speaker got the tone wrong. Who hasn't felt the ominous foreboding air surround them as they read a horror story or been enveloped by the happy-go-lucky party atmosphere of a comedy? Tone achieves that.
There are hundreds of terms describing tone and rhythm in English, but rather than learn those terms, second grade grammar students will learn how to interpret and create tone and rhythm through poetry and jokes. The second grade is an exciting time because it's where kids start to refine their senses of humor and idiolects. They begin to use irony and sarcasm and play with the language's quirks. In other words, they stop stumbling through the English building blocks and start really building something.