2nd Grade Language Arts Enrichment


Selected students from all three 2nd grade classes are pulled from class once a week, during their normally scheduled language arts time on
Fridays from 9:30-10:15 a.m.

  1. Students will learn to actively participate in literary analysis through the use of the "Shared Inquiry" model of discussion pioneered by the Junior Great Books program. 
  2. Students will learn to express opinions on questions that have more than one possible answer, and support their opinions with evidence from the text.
  3. Students will learn to read dramatically, with appropriate voice inflection and pacing.
  4. Students will learn the vocabulary of literary analysis, including character, protagonist, personification, theme, foreshadowing, mood, simile, metaphor, and genre.
  5. Students will have opportunities to do critical and creative writing in response to the literature they read.pulled from class once a week, during their normally scheduled language arts time. 

Curriculum Update - Spring 2015

Session "Brave Little Tailor" by the Brothers Grimm, translated by Ralph Manheim (Junior Great Books - Series 3)

The story teaches subtle and valuable lessons about having faith in oneself and the importance of using intelligence and wit instead of physical force to solve problems.

Our session discussed influential fairy tale authors beginning with Charles Perrault in the late 1600s, the Brothers Grimm, and Hans Christian Anderson in the 1830s. We studied the key elements of many fairy tales (lesson, good character, evil character, magical element, obstacles, and a happy ending). CLICK HERE for more background information about the authors, the story, and the times in which they were writing.

We evaluated significant vocabulary and discussed several critical questions including the following: Is cunning a sufficient substitute for bravery? Is it okay to exaggerate your achievements? What are the characteristics of a hero?

Students will list criteria they think they should have and then evaluate the "brave" little tailor and main characters from other stories we have read to decide if they meet our criteria for heroes.

"Ooka and the Honest Thief" Japanese folktale as told by
I.G. Edmonds  (Junior Great Books - Series 3)
Another opportunity to debate heroic qualities and the "moral of the story" with additional high level questions: Can there be such a thing as an "honest thief"?  Is it okay to steal if you promise to "pay it back"?

Students were also introduced to the concept of an oxymoron - a statement that appears to contradict itself (alternate definition:
a figure of speech which brings two contradictory terms together)
. Examples: "honest thief," "bad luck," "big baby," "awfully nice," "common differences," "fully empty," etc.  See more examples on this web site: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/oxymoron-examples.html

April 10 Session - Robert Frost

1) Students will learn about one of America’s premier male poets
2) Students will analyze his poetry for rhyme scheme and theme

1) Students will read "Fire and Ice,“Stopping By Woods On a Snowy Evening,” and “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost
2) Students will be taught some basic information about Frost’s life and his poetry

April 17 - No Session (Mr. Kendall participating state gifted advisory committee meeting in Richmond)

April 24 Session - Response to "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost

1) Students will learn to write on a similar theme to a professional poet's example
2) Students will, to the best of their ability, imitate the style of Robert Frost including a consistent rhyme scheme.

1) Students will write a story about a time when they made an unusual choice that turned out well for them
2) Students will attempt to convert the story into a poem with a consistent rhyme scheme or

May 1


A “Why Is It?” poem – the one Shel writes is about clothes not fitting right (the picture shows the kid with pants on his arms and a shirt on his legs) but I encouraged them to ask questions they wonder about or find funny.  I used the old Stephen Wright example:  Why do we park on a driveway and drive on a parkway?  The kids were asking things like, “why is the earth a sphere when a pyramid would be cooler?”  “why are there things like boy and girl colors?” etc.

Why Is It? By Shel Silverstein   

Why is it some mornings
Your clothes just don’t fit?
Your pants are too short
To bend over or sit,
Your sleeves are too long
And your hat is too tight– –
Why is it some mornings
Your clothes don’t feel right?

May 8 Session - Emily Dickinson


1) Students will learn about one of America’s premier female poets and her poetry
2) Students will learn the definitions of “introvert” and “recluse” and discuss the connotations of each
3) Students will write a poem imitating Dickinson’s style


  • 1) Students will be introduced to the terms “Introvert” and “recluse” and will be taught some basic information about Dickinson’s life and the publication of her poems after her death. Other terms covered "extravert" and "anonymous."
  • 2) Students will read “I’m Nobody,” “Bee! I’m Expecting You,” and “Success is Counted Sweetest” by Emily Dickinson
    3) Students will discuss Dickinson’s unique writing style, use of punctuation, and use of “incorrect” capitalization for emphasis
    4) Students will discuss Frost’s writing style and how it is similar and different as compared to Dickinson’s writing style 
  • 5) Students will, to the best of their ability, write a poem imitating Dickinson’s style
May 15 Session - Writing like Dickinson or Frost

Students, to the best of their abilities, will write a second poem imitating either Dickinson or Frost’s style.  Challenge option: Write a conversation poem alternating stanzas between Frost and Dickinson.

May 22 Session - Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman


1) Students will learn how to read and analyze poems for two voices, which are similar to duets in music.

2) Students will learn how to read these poems aloud so that some words can appropriately be spoken in unison.
3) Students will imitate the two-voice poem format.


1) Students will discuss the unique aspects of two-voice poetry.
2) Students will read a two-voice poem with a partner.
3) Students will attempt to write their own two-voice poems individually or with a partner.

May 29 Session  - Writers' Workshop and Rehearsal


  1. Students will select two poems that they will read at the "Celebration of Writing" (details below).
  2. Students will revise those poems to make sure they are publishable.
  3. Students will rehearse reading their poems aloud.
  4. Students will complete/revise one or two additional poems from their portfolio.
  5. Students may elect to include additional poems in the class collection of poetry even if they choose not to read those poems for the Celebration of Writing.

Session 29 - SPECIAL EVENT! FRIDAY, June 5 - 9:30 - 10:15 a.m.

Celebration of Writing - PARENTS INVITED! Weather permitting we will meet at the Richardson Park Gazebo.

NOTE: If we need an alternate location because the weather is bad we will meet in the hall outside the Waddell office and go to the alternate room.

Curriculum Update - Fall 2014

Session 1 - "Jack and the Beanstalk"

Objectives –

1) Students will learn the vocabulary of literary analysis: personification
2) Students will learn to express opinions on questions that have more than one possible answer, and support their opinions with evidence from the text.
3) Students will consider ideas such as "moral of the story" (as an introduction to theme)
4) Students will consider the attributes we usually recognize in a "hero" and whether or not Jack meets this standard.


1) Students read and discuss the "Jack and The Beanstalk" story, considering Jack's motivations for climbing the beanstalk each time he goes up. We ask, "Why does Jack climb the beanstalk the third time? This forces students to go back in the story to see what motivated him the first and second time to see what might have changed when he goes up the third time.
2) Students debate the notion of a "moral of the story" since Jack is able to steal and "get away with murder" (literally) on his way to living happily ever after with a beautiful princess.
3) We discuss that some literature seeks merely to entertain, some seeks to educate, and some fulfills both of those missions.
4) We also discuss the qualities we would expect of a "hero" and whether or not Jack meets this criteria.
5) Key vocabulary terms covered: theme (the "big idea" or lesson of a story), optimist (in relation to Jack's world view), pessimist (Jack's mother), personification (giving human qualities to something that is not human - speech, thoughts, emotions, and human-like behaviors and movements), and foreshadowing (hints about future negative events).

Session 2 

Finish "Jack and the Beanstalk" lesson.

Sessions 3 and 4"Jack" Revisited - "Jack and the Bean Tree" from "Jack Tales"
We read a version of the Jack and the Beanstalk from a collection of "Jack Tales."  These stories were collected from the oral storytelling tradition in Appalachia.  Students compare and contrast differences between the version we read and this version, "Jack and the Bean Tree."  We discuss dialect (how people from certain areas of the country speak) and figures of speech (expressions that are unique to a particular group of people that have a meaning other than the literal meaning of the words contained in that expression).  Students discussed how the major theme of the story remained the same even though some of the events in the plot were different in different versions of the story.

Session 4 

"The Master Cat" by Charles Perrault (Junior Great Books - Series 3)
We will read and discuss this story (a version of the "Puss in Boots" story), comparing and contrasting with Jack and the Beanstalk in terms of heroic qualities and "moral of the story." 
The Master Cat, published in a pioneering collection of fairy tales in 1697, tells the story of the division of property after a miller's death which leaves his youngest son with nothing but the granary cat.  Disappointed, the son contemplates eating the animal, but the cat bargains with him, promising him riches in return for a bag and a pair of boots. Though dubious, the miller's son goes along with him and provides the items, and gains wealth and prestige through a series of tricks.

Central discussion question: Is survival a sufficient excuse for acting immorally?  We will build up to that question using second grade vocabulary, through questions about whether there is a lesson learned from this story - that trickery and deceit pay off more rapidly and handsomely than do hard work and talent? Or that clothes make the man? Or that there is great advantage in receiving a large inheritance? We also discuss whether all stories have to have a moral or lesson. 

For more information about Charles Perrault click here.

Session 5 "Nail Soup" Swedish folktale as told by(Junior Great Books - Series 2)
"Nail Soup" is a Swedish folktale that strongly resembles the story "Stone Soup" sometimes covered in preschool classes.  This story is about a traveler looking for shelter and food. He convinces an old woman who really doesn't want to share her house or her food stores with the man is eventually persuaded to do both.  Students will learn the difference between static and dynamic characters, as the traveler is static (staying the same - true to his character and persistent in his goals - over the course of the story), while the old woman is dynamic because her attitudes, behaviors, and actions change over the course of the story. We use the story to discuss the proverb "Can't judge a book by its cover" and persuasive techniques.  We also discuss how certain folktales show up in different cultures because of a theme or "lesson" that many different cultures believe is important for children to learn.
Homework: Study for Literary Terms Quiz.