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The Constellations

2nd Grade

Sundance is a unique school. The best teacher to student ratio, skill based group instruction, hands on learning and an unparalleled creative and performing arts program. All this in the most nurturing environment. We will forever be grateful to Sundance for making our children shine.

Language Arts

The Sundance 2nd Grade Language Arts Curriculum conforms to the Core Curriculum Content Standards (CCCS) for Language Arts Literacy. Following the Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop Model, the components of our Language Arts Curriculum include Guided Reading, Reading Comprehension, Novel Study, Read Aloud, Vocabulary Study, Writing and Grammar Concepts, Spelling and Handwriting.

In all our Language Arts components, we are ever mindful of creating and sustaining differentiated lessons that are tailored to all our students’ needs and skills levels.

Guided Reading

In our Guided Reading program, our students explore and enjoy the many facets of level appropriate literature and informational texts related to school themes and worldly interests. Students are immersed in a “book circle” atmosphere, where all aspects of a text are investigated and discussed. Each class commences with students engaging in discussions of prior knowledge, genre of the text, text and picture features and vocabulary development. Students are grouped according to reading levels and skill needs. The small groups allow for one to one instruction and support. Students will practice reading strategy skills such as:

  • Question and answer sessions where the text is dissected through higher level thinking inquiries
  • Character study and development
  • Vocabulary
  • Decoding words through phonics, word order, and context clues
  • Discussion and written assignments that pertain to themes, settings, plots, and points of view
  • Drawing conclusions/making predictions

Guided Reading is the scaffolding for independent reading for all students. When students are able to read independently, they can excel in other literacy areas, such as writing.

Reading Comprehension

Students develop fluency in determining text details, sequencing, comparing and contrasting the elements of a text, grasping main ideas, drawing conclusions and predicting outcomes, and distinguishing fact from opinion. These are carried over and practiced through other reading materials and used as mentor texts for writing.

Textbook: Making Connections (Book 2)

Novel Study

Conducted as a whole class experience as students read with the teacher at-level and above-level vocabulary and theme enriched texts. Novel Study focuses on lessons revolved around:

  • An author study comparison
  • Character study
  • Text to self, text to text, and text to world connections
  • Novel based projects that include Maker Space collaboration activities, script reading, and following a recipe.

Examples of books:

  • The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo
  • Freckle Juice
  • Goldie Blox Rules the School
  • Goldie Blox and the Three Dares
  • Cam Jansen Series
  • Clementine
  • Chocolate Touch

Read Aloud

Listening Skills are a key element to enjoying both literature and non-fiction. Our teachers love reading classics to the students. Dedicated time is set aside each week for this purpose.

Books include:

  • Theme based picture books
  • Social skills picture books
  • Dogonews articles related to current events

Vocabulary Study

Vocabulary is stressed in all our curricula. We habitually introduce new words on a weekly basis, culling words from our math, science, social studies, reading lessons, and a workbook.

Textbook: Words are Wonderful (Book A)


Two to three hours are set aside each week solely to develop students’ writing proficiency. Classes typically include a mini-lesson. Each lesson stresses some elemental aspect of writing:

  • Brainstorming writing ideas
  • Organizing thoughts and ideas (Making a writing plan)
  • Writing in paragraph form
  • Writing in rough drafts
  • Revising and Editing
  • Final copy/publishing

Throughout the year, second graders are exposed to:

  • Poetry
  • Personal Narratives
  • Letter writing
  • Fiction and Non-Fiction writing
  • Writing to a prompt
  • Basic research skills for presentation (Social Studies End Unit Projects require research, creativity, and critical thinking skills.)

*Teaching elements of good writing can be found in all facets of our curricula. Both written and visual prompts are often given to students in both our science and social studies lessons.


Grammar is reinforced on a daily basis through spoken and written means. One or two dedicated lessons each week focuses on a key element of grammar.

Second grade elements include:

  • Sentence structure
  • Parts of speech: nouns, verbs, pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs
  • Capitalization and punctuation

Textbook: Voyages (Level 2)


Spelling conventions are both introduced and reinforced. Word lists are assembled from various sources, including Guided Reading texts, cross-curricular themes, sight words, spelling challenge words, and standard thematic spelling conventions.

Textbook: Harcourt Family Learning (Grade 2)


Neat and uniform handwriting is reinforced using the Handwriting Without Tears series of workbooks.

Speaking & Listening

As throughout all the curriculum components, students will practice proper speaking and listening skills through a variety of educational practices as modeled by the teacher.

  • Listening comprehension
  • Collaborative discussion
  • Oral presentations
  • Reading with expression


Through an enriching and rigorous math curriculum, students will develop a strong conceptual understanding of various topics in mathematics. Students in grades 2-5, will attain mastery in all five major content areas: number sense & operations, algebra, geometry, data analysis & probability, and measurement. At the core of each unit are key concepts and open-ended problems that align with the New Jersey Student Learning Standards. The essence of all math learning is problem solving. At Sundance, students are taught the skills needed in order to be effective problem solvers. Manipulatives are used throughout each unit of study to help students gain a deeper understanding of concepts, and discussions of mathematical ideas are practiced daily. Students are challenged every day to become more confident learners and more willing risk-takers.

Number and Operations in Base Ten


  • Recognizing and reading numbers to 1,000
  • Expressing numbers in standard form, word form, and expanded form
  • Odd & even to 1,000
  • Understanding and counting on number lines
  • Comparing numbers
  • Ordering numbers

Number Sense: Addition and Subtraction:

  • Addition meaning and properties
  • Subtraction meanings
  • Using mental math to add and subtract
  • Making sense of addition and subtraction equations

Adding Place Value to Add or Subtract:

  • Adding 3-digit numbers
  • Adding 3 or more numbers
  • Subtracting 3-digit numbers
  • “Choose the operations” problem solving

Operations and Algebraic Thinking

Meanings of Multiplication:

  • Multiplication as repeated addition
  • Arrays and multiplication
  • Multiplication to factors of 7
  • Solving multiplication stories

Meanings of Division:

  • Division as sharing
  • Division as repeated subtraction
  • Solving division stories

Division Facts:

  • Relating multiplication and division
  • Fact families
  • Dividing into equal groups

Numbers and Operations- Fractions

Understanding Fractions:

  • Dividing regions into equal parts
  • Fractions and sets
  • Fractional parts of a set


Two-Dimensional Shapes and Their Attributes:

  • Define attributes of solid figures
  • Identify plane shapes that the bases of flat surfaces make
  • Regular and irregular polygons and their attributes
  • Transformations
  • Parallel lines, intersecting lines, perpendicular lines
  • Symmetry

Measurement and Data


  • Time to the half hour
  • Read a time schedule
  • Units of time
  • Elapsed time

Perimeter, Area & Length:

  • Understanding perimeter
  • Understanding Area
  • Using a ruler to measure length


  • Collect data in a variety of ways (surveys, tally marks)
  • Length and line plots
  • Reading pictographs and bar graphs
  • Making pictographs
  • Making bar graphs


  • Coin recognition
  • Count bills and coins and write amounts
  • Add and subtract dollar amounts


The Sundance Upper School science curriculum is based on the New Jersey Core curriculum standards for elementary grades. We use the Scott Foresman Science textbooks to help us with the scope and sequence.

Learning experiences in science include hands-on investigations using the FOSS science system, knowledge gained through observation, and regular discussions of concepts in class. Questions are encouraged, as is research into topics. Occasionally, deeper insight into specific topics is enabled through projects and presentations. The children also learn and read about famous scientists and inventors.

Unifying all these learning experiences is the fundamental development of a scientific temperament. The children become well versed in the scientific method through exposure to a variety of scientific tools during their investigations.

Given our school’s unique multi-grade classroom composition, units covered in a given year are dependent on the yearly theme and what the children were exposed to in the previous year.

Social Studies

Social Studies is given a dedicated two hours per week. We have 6 units in the social studies curriculum revolving around people and the communities they live in. The units discuss types of communities, reading and creating maps of communities, laws, jobs, local governments, businesses, and diversity throughout the United States. The units are very interactive allowing children to work in small groups sharing ideas about how communities should be governed, how a classroom is like a community, and how to be a better citizen. Each unit will have an end unit project completed at home. The projects provide school to home connections in the learning process. The projects are an important part of the learning process because it allows students to practice some self-education. They also get to choose how they plan to share all their new knowledge in a variety of creative ways. Each unit project will have a rubric that guides the project so that all students can “guesstimate” what their final score is before they turn it in. Some of the projects may be delivered as:

  • A video presentation
  • Interview script
  • Dioramas
  • Poster board displays
  • Making a commercial
  • Debates

On some occasions, families and other members of the Sundance family are invited in to see the students’ presentations.


The Visual Arts program at Sundance is designed to provide a comprehensive arts experience that enriches the overall curriculum. Students are exposed to a wide variety of two-dimensional, three-dimensional and digital media projects. Students are also introduced to a multitude of artists from varying time periods and cultures with the “Artist of the Month” series. Many of the artists and art projects are intertwined with Sundance’s yearly themes in order to augment the thematic learning experience. Rounding out the arts program in the upper grades is a focus on aesthetic examination that encourages students to understand, discuss and analyze a variety of art forms. Using the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards as a guideline, the Visual Arts program helps students to explore their creativity and develop their abilities to understand, produce and appreciate art.

Click here for more information about The Sundance Arts Program

The Creative Process

Students will use and recognize the elements of art (line, value, shape, form, space, color and texture) and principles of design (unity, emphasis, balance, proportion, contrast, movement, rhythm, variety, harmony).

History of the Arts and Culture

  • Students will be introduced to a new artist each month representing a variety of time periods, cultures and styles.
  • Students will identify how artists and specific works of art reflect, and are affected by past and present cultures.

Art Creation

  • Students will create two- and three-dimensional works of art using the basic elements as well as a variety of art mediums and application methods.
  • Students will employ basic verbal and visual art vocabulary to demonstrate knowledge of the materials, tools, and methodologies used to create art.
  • Students will create works of art that are based on observations of the physical world and that illustrate how art is part of everyday life.


  • Students will identify aesthetic qualities of exemplary works of art and identify characteristics of the artists who created them.
  • Students will compare and contrast culturally and historically diverse works of art that evoke emotion and that communicate cultural meaning.
  • Students will apply the principles of positive critique in giving and receiving responses to artworks.

Theatre Workshop

The Primary and Upper School Theatre Workshop at Sundance provides our students with an opportunity to develop skills necessary for success in the 21st century. We appreciate the parental support and enthusiasm for the Theatre Workshop model and show time experience that is a vital component of a Sundance education.

Our theatre program offers instruction that integrates several aspects of the art form: creative, drama, improvisation, acting, script writing, readers theatre, theatre history, directing, designing, researching, comparing art forms, analyzing and critiquing and understanding contexts. Classes are formatted to encourage teamwork, risk taking and full participation while providing fun and challenging opportunities for students to explore basic acting skills and the technical elements of theatre. Performance opportunities include a literature based stage production in the fall, a theme-based spring production (students help script, plan, produce and perform) and two variety shows where acts themselves are student generated. Students also function as stage crew and technical support.

Click here for more information about The Sundance Theatre Program

Physical Education

The Physical Education program is designed for the purpose of enhancing psychomotor, cognitive, and physical development through physical body movement. Physical Education offers opportunities to develop independence, goal -setting, leadership, teamwork and sportsmanship.

Skill Development

  • Demonstrate appropriate techniques used in physical fitness such as push-ups, sit-ups, etc.
  • Combine movement skills to participate in physical activities such as sports, games, and lifetime recreational pursuits
  • Understand the basic concepts of sports, physical fitness and game-related situations


  • Students will participate in the Presidential Fitness Challenge Program
  • Calisthenics
  • Soccer
  • Flag Football
  • Floor Hockey
  • Basketball
  • Lacrosse
  • Cooperative Games



  • To continue developing enthusiasm and eagerness to communicate in another language
  • To be actively involved and willing to participate in class
  • To speak, interact and sing only in Spanish
  • To enlarge vocabulary and improve writing and reading skills
  • To share and learn more about other cultures and traditions

Spanish Curriculum 2019


This course is designed for Constellations, Milky Ways and Galaxies students with no Chinese background. It focuses both on developing communicative competence in Chinese and also on motivating the students. The objectives enable students to form a solid foundation of learning Chinese for their further study in a fun way. The introduction to Pinyin helps students to pronounce and understand Chinese correctly. The lessons will teach students greetings, numbers, family members, animals, colors, food and drinks, school life etc. in Chinese words and simple characters. Interactive sentence patterns and Chinese cultures will be integrated in the language learning. Students are expected to understand the vocabulary in order to communicate with each other through simple dialogues. Many colorful pictures and multimedia tools are used in classes. Activities such as singing songs, telling stories, and playing games are adapted. By the end of school year students are expected to know: 20 Chinese characters and 30-50 new words, how to speak simple sentences, ask questions, and how to recite or sing several Chinese poems and songs.