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Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.

A Midyear Checklist for 2nd Graders

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This informal 12-point checklist will help you determine if your 2nd grader is on schedule academically at the halfway mark of the school year. Common Core skills are fashioned to be taught sequentially, building on skills from the previous school years. This list of skills is based on the good foundations of kindergarten and 1st grade academics.

In math, she should be able to:

  • Describe and analyze basic shapes (beginning geometry). Be able to draw basic shapes by their attributes. For example, if asked to draw a shape with four equal sides and four angles, she would draw a square.
  • Start to partition shapes into two, three, or four equal parts, and start to use the fraction language to describe the whole as two halves, three thirds, etc.
  • Begin to measure objects using standard tools, such as a ruler or yardstick, meter stick, measuring tape, etc.
  • Recognize all four coins (penny, nickel, dime, and quarter) and begin to solve word problems. For example, “How much money is one dime and four pennies?”
  • Begin to understand place value to the hundreds place. For example, seeing the number 473 and knowing that “4” is in the hundreds place, “7” is in the tens place, and “3” is in the ones place.
  • Determine whether groups of objects (within 20) are odd or even.

In English/Language Arts, he should be able to:

  • Start to decode words with common prefixes or suffixes. For example, unsteady or wonderful.
  • Read on-level text with fluency and expression.
  • Start to determine the who, what, when, where, and why of details in a story.
  • Use illustrations and words to understand different characters in the text.
  • Identify the main purpose of nonfiction or informational text. What did the author want to describe, explain or want you to learn?
  • Begin to write opinion pieces, with reasons and evidence to support the opinion.

Knowing where 2nd grader’s progress stands at this point will help you determine if remediation or acceleration is warranted. If you have concerns, schedule a meeting with his teacher.


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