This month, Holy Trinity School highlights its second grade. Second grade is a year in which students further build upon the foundational skills they learned in first grade and continue to prepare academically, socially, and spiritually for what lies ahead.
Holy Trinity’s 2nd grade teacher, Kathleen Maloney knows this well as she has been teaching students for the past 20 years. Mrs. Maloney grew up in Westfield, attended Oak Knoll in Summit, and went to Mount St. Mary’s College. She began teaching at Holy Trinity School 13 years ago as an 8th grade teacher and later moving to 4th grade. She has been teaching 2nd grade for the past 9 years. “Having taught both 8th grade and 4th grade at Holy Trinity has given me a good perspective on the expectations and foundational knowledge children need to build as elementary school students” said Mrs. Maloney. “I love teaching at Holy Trinity because our community embraces the academic challenge and encourages children to be positive, Christian role models.” Mrs. Maloney is also a proud parent of two Holy Trinity alumni.
Academically, second graders experience a number of cross-curriculum projects and exercises. For example, in Social Studies, students learn about our country by reading and discussing the topics of transportation, government, and history. As part of the curriculum, the students write a book report on a historical figure. To bring the book report to life, students dress-up as his/her chosen figure and present an oral report to the class. The Social Studies curriculum culminates at the end of the year with a train ride to see the Somerset Patriots where the students will have the honor of singing the National Anthem to open the game.
In the Science curriculum, in-class experiments are used to reinforce the skills taught weekly. The class also maintains a “Nature Journal” where they focus on writing descriptions of nature and how an object may taste, feel, smell, look, or even change over time. This Fall, the class also will go on a nature field trip to personally experience nature.
Second graders focus a great deal on phonics, spelling, vocabulary, reading, and writing throughout the curriculum. The children start to learn more about the writing process, how to craft a paragraph, and how to work toward being an independent and creative writer. These lessons are taught through in-school, cross-curriculum projects. Students are asked to use adjectives and adverbs in their sentences and to follow standard grammar rules.
In Holy Trinity’s rigorous reading curriculum, students enjoy having an interactive dialogue in small groups. One of the highlights for students is learning how to write in cursive during the second half of the year.
Spiritually, second grade is an important year as it is when most students prepare for their First Reconciliation and First Communion within the Catholic Church. During religion class, students actively prepare for these two sacraments. They also participate in daily prayer and attend Mass once a month. In celebration of their First Communion, the second graders serve as the honor guard for the school-wide May Crowning.