Primary School

Children are naturally eager to question, develop their own theories — even change a point of view.

Second Grade

Social Studies

Social Studies in the primary school has a universal focus on community awareness and global citizenship. Daily interactions provide much of the foundation for social studies as students learn how to work together, navigate conflict, and be a productive member of the classroom and community. The beauty of diversity is explored, and there is a central focus on cultural competency, or the understanding of difference. Studies of people, the community, and how these are related help to connect the social studies curriculum between the grade levels. 

Second grade focuses on specific countries in order to gain awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the similarities and differences that exist within our global community. This exposure is essential for the students’ future success in an ever-changing world. Students spend extended time in integrated units on Japan, India, and the Amazon Basin in conjunction with the study of the rainforest. These in-depth studies allow students to integrate music, art, drama, and other curricular areas into the units. Second graders also continue to build on map skills and geography, expanding their understanding to a more global view.

Goals and Objectives

My Community:

  • Define what makes a community and identify the different kinds of communities that exists in students’ lives
  • Identify how a community governs itself and develop rules for the classroom community
  • Utilize maps (physical and digital) to locate home, school, and neighborhood landmarks

China, Southeast Asia, Japan, and India Studies:

  • Locate countries on the world map and recognize neighboring countries and geographical features
  • Define and/or recognize population, area, language, currency, environment, and flag of the region
  • Explore architecture, art, theater, literature, and language
  • Research and have exposure to traditional and modern lifestyles, foods, and crafts
  • Cooperate with partners to research a Southeast Asian country

The primary school Spanish program is led by two native Spanish speaking teachers. Students are expected to develop four interrelated skills: auditory discrimination (listening), comprehension (understanding), production (speaking), and communication (the ability to use language meaningfully in new situations). We introduce the Santillana curriculum beginning in kindergarten and continuing through fourth grade. Our goal is for students to develop communicative competence in the Spanish language through cultural awareness activities that focus on the gradual development of listening, speaking reading, and writing skills. We use arts and crafts, role playing, music, visuals, hands-on materials and technology as teaching tools. The student’s progress is evaluated through periodic formal and informal assessments targeting the four main skills. Spanish classes meet three times a week in junior kindergarten through third grades, and four times a week in fourth and fifth grades.

Communication is key in second grade language acquisition. The Spanish classroom is rich in interactions (adult-child, child-child, small groups) which encourage both listening and speaking.They are expected to ask and answer questions in full sentences. They also expand their writing and reading skills which are enhanced by participating in our pen pals program with Colegio Williams in Cuernevaca, Mexico. We use technology, interactive games, arts and crafts and role playing as tools for learning. TPR (total physical response) is also used to help students internalize the mechanics of the language. 

Goals and Objectives

Listening Comprehension:

  • Understand greetings
  • Understand simple directions and commands
  • Understand and interpret pictures in context
  • Recognize story patterns


  • Respond to oral questions about self and classmates
  • Ask and respond to simple questions


  • Match the written word with the picture
  • Recognize simple written instructions
  • Begin to read and recognize single words


  • Put together simple sentences
  • Copy words and sentences
  • Develop an outside the classroom experience through “Pen-pal Program”
  • Given the students opportunities of global education
  • Write words from dictation

The mathematics program emphasizes problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Students are actively engaged in skill- and concept-building exercises and activities in individual, small group, and whole-class lessons at every grade level. Our program focuses on real-world experiences, integrating our outdoor education center, projects lab, and other classes in lessons and projects to support the development of higher-level thinking skills. Our problem-solving and critical thinking based curriculum teaches step-by-step approaches to solving problems while encouraging students to develop and utilize their own problem-solving strategies.

All grade levels junior kindergarten through fourth grade address developmentally appropriate benchmarks following the following strands: number sense, geometry, measurement, operations and computation, patterns and functions, and data and probability. 

The junior kindergarten through fourth grade classes use the Bridges in Mathematics from The Math Learning Center. The program focuses on math literacy, emphasizes problem-solving and critical thinking, and utilizes hands-on, real-world components. “Number Corner,” a component of Bridges in Mathematics, is an integrated daily calendar activity which focuses on patterning, prediction, problem-solving, and critical thinking. Math support specialists from the Learning Resource Center provide student support, and also work with small groups and individuals to be sure all students are receiving individualized instruction (enrichment or remediation) as needed.

In addition to classroom mathematics instruction, students work in the projects lab and use measurement, computation and problem-solving skills to build woodworking projects. This allows our students to apply their mathematical knowledge to something relevant and meaningful and experience math in the real world. Second graders spend the year working on building and learning to play a box guitar, even measuring the proper distance for the placement of the frets. Throughout the primary school years, students have the opportunity to create something from scratch, using math, problem-solving, and collaboration with their peers.

In second grade, each child grows attuned to her or his own approach to problem solving and learns to articulate the thought process. We utilize many resources including the Bridges in Mathematics to help students develop a deep understanding of mathematical concepts. The second grade math program emphasizes that there are many paths to the right answer, while steeping children in the fundamental mechanics of mathematics.  

Goals and Objectives

Number Sense:

  • Know the base-ten numeration system (ones, tens, hundreds)
  • Recognize, name, and represent numbers to 1,000
  • Count by 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, 10s
  • Create sets of objects based on their attributes
  • Order and compare whole numbers to 1,000 using >, <, =
  • Understand that fractions and decimals refer to parts of a set or whole
  • Recognize and create half, quarter, eighth, and third sets using manipulatives 

Data Analysis:

  • Collect, record, and interpret data


  • Develop linear measurement skills
  • Measure using metric and U.S. customary units
  • Develop estimation skills with measurements
  • Develop skill in partitioning and transitivity
  • Determine temperature using a thermometer (U.S. customary/ metric)

Operations and Computation

  • Know basic addition and subtraction facts with all combinations of numbers
  • Determine the sum or difference of two whole numbers up to three digits
  • Determine the sum or difference of two numbers mentally
  • Add and subtract with regrouping
  • Use repeated addition, arrays, and skip counting to understand multiplication
  • Connect past work with equal sharing to division
  • Determine how to approach, set up and solve problems
  • Use math tools to model problems
  • Justify the process used in solving math problems
  • Check the validity of math reasoning


  • Estimate quantities and measurements
  • Identify and discuss the attributes 2-dimensional and 3- dimensional shapes
  • Draw 2- dimensional geometric shapes
  • Recognize and create symmetry


  • Model, represent, and interpret number relationships to create and solve problems


  • Explore the concepts of probability
Language Arts

The goal of the MP&MS language arts program is for students to develop a lifelong love of reading, writing, and learning. Small class sizes and the expertise of our Learning Resource reading specialists allow for individualization and small group work in all primary classrooms.

The primary school utilizes the Writer’s Workshop framework for writing instruction and practice in the classroom. Similar in format, the Reader’s Workshop model teaches students strategies for reading and comprehension. Students in the early primary grades focus on spelling, phonics, and vocabulary through the Words their Way developmental program.

Second grade continues the reading workshop approach to literacy learning, providing independent, small group, and partner experiences. In second grade, students begin to participate in literature groups, with a teacher facilitating a small discussion group. Students begin to learn how to extract information from nonfiction texts and participate in reading research projects in small groups. In second grade, students have their first experience in writing fiction in the writing workshop. Spelling skills continue to be taught, and spelling becomes almost completely conventional as students are more independently responsible for the editing of drafts.

Goals and Objectives


  • Reads with expression and intonation to enhance meaning of story or poem
  • Compares and contrasts plots and characters in different stories
  • Relates plots and characters in literature to real life experiences
  • Asks thoughtful questions and makes meaningful comments during literature discussions
  • Uses a variety of comprehension strategies as needed (e.g., generating and responding to essential questions, making predictions, comparing information from several sources)


  • Writes original stories
  • Recognizes and uses various genre forms and uses these elements in original stories
  • Uses correct capitalization and punctuation in writing
  • Spells grade level words correctly


  • Prints with automatic legible printing and correct word and letter spacing 

Listening and Speaking:

  • Listens respectfully and responsively to others’ observations and points of view
  • Follows oral and written directions with three or more steps
  • Asks thoughtful questions and makes astute comments
  • Asks for clarification when necessary

Science at Marin Primary & Middle School is taught through the innate curiosity of children using a hands-on, experiential method. Questioning, exploring, experimenting, and discovery are essential components of the science curriculum at all grade levels. Students begin learning about scientific investigation as early as junior kindergarten, conducting experiments and observing nature. Each grade level spends time in the Outdoor Education Center (OEC, our school garden) taking advantage of the wonderful ecosystems flourishing there, observes weather, and seasonal changes, and explores ways to help the environment. 

Second grade science is an introduction to “ecological literacy,” or the understanding that all life is related and interdependent, humanity has a responsibility to respect and protect the balance of earth’s systems, and that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The children begin the study of atoms and molecules as the “building blocks,” and move into the study of rocks and minerals. Second graders also study many different ecosystems, including marine ecology and the rainforest. Field trips are taken to explore the local ecology of Marin County as well as to other destinations.

Goals and Objectives

Physical Science:

  • Understand states and properties of matter
  • Recognize atoms and molecules as building blocks
  • Explore properties of sound with exploration of amplitude and wavelength
  • Build a musical instrument

Earth Science:

  • Identify types of rock
  • Study the rock cycle
  • Recognize fossils and aspects of evolution

Life Science: 

  • Identify and explore ecosystems and food webs
  • Become more aware of rainforest biodiversity
  • Explore marine ecology focusing on tide pools
  • Study watershed systems
  • Research a rainforest plant or animal and describe its body, habitat, food and interesting facts
  • Study the skeletal system
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