The 2nd Grade year is full of experiential learning with a focus on community.  Teachers begin to work with students to hone their organizational skills.
2nd Grade is a pivotal year for our students as they begin to explore the world around them and the influencers that created it. In Reader's Workshop, students critically analyze more advanced books to understand the author's unique perspective. 2nd Grade students also study and perform music on the violin like "Twinkle Twinkle" and "Ode to Joy", while learning about the childhoods of the great composers Mozart and Beethoven. 
The highlight of 2nd Grade is Family Celebration, a longstanding Carlthorp School tradition.  Family Celebration is an extended international research and study program that gives students the opportunity to choose a relative to interview, after which they write and illustrate a “book” about their heritage. Students also dress a teddy bear in the traditional costume of their country of origin. Finally, after learning songs and dances from around the world, the children perform for their families, a celebration of the things that unite us as humans and an homage to the similarities and differences in our heritages.
An experiential field trip to a senior living facility follows Family Celebration, solidifying the concepts they were taught throughout the project. Students have another opportunity to perform songs that they have learned as well as interact with members of another generation. Many of the students use the information they learned through their research projects as conversation starters with the senior residents. The field trip is followed up with a letter of gratitude to their new senior buddies drafted and finalized in writing class.  

Public Speaking

In addition to the excitement about the Family Celebration social studies program, 2nd Graders continue to focus on developing academic and social skills. Public speaking skills are further enhanced and every student is invited to present the Code of Conduct to the entire school at Flag Line at least once during the year.

Meet the Team

List of 4 items.

  • Kate Cushman

    Born in Michigan, Kate graduated from Hope College with a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology, followed by her Master’s in Education at Pepperdine University.  She has taught for sixteen years, twelve of them at Carlthorp School. Yoga, running, hiking, biking, traveling, cooking and learning are Kate’s favorite pastimes.  She loves spending time with friends and family and is madly in love with her apricot poodle, Scully.  
  • Jessica Garrabrant

    Jessica is a native of Morris County, New Jersey, who was a three-­sport student athlete at Morris Knolls High School. She went on to play college basketball at Montclair State University, where she received her B.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics. She then attended Caldwell College. There, Jessica earned her teaching credential in elementary education. Prior to Carlthorp School, Jessica taught 4th-­8th Grades at Lacordaire Academy in Montclair, New Jersey, where she coached soccer and basketball for the upper school, and was in charge of the middle school running club. An avid marathon runner, Jessica also enjoys hiking, bike riding, hot yoga, the beach and, of course, spending time with friends and family.
  • Kristen Gregory

    Ms. Kristen Gregory is entering her second year as a 2nd grade teacher at Carlthorp School. She grew up in a suburb outside of Boston, where her whole family still lives. Even as a child she had a deep love for making art and playing sports. Kristen majored in Art Education at the University of Vermont where she studied studio art, art history, and education. While at UVM, she spent her extra time competing on the school’s Women’s Club Lacrosse team. Her experience in Vermont caused her to fall in love with teaching. When she moved back to Boston, Kristen had the unique opportunity to teach in a Special Education program at the middle school that she attended and to coach Junior Varsity Girls Lacrosse at her high school. After a year at home and itching for a change, Ms. Morrissey decided to move to New York City, where she spent the past three years teaching at Success Academy Prospect Heights, a public elementary charter school in Brooklyn. While there, she taught 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, and art. During this time, she was also an important member of her school’s community by leading community circle and dressing as the school’s mascot (a panther!). At Success Academy, Kristen loved leading art club, reading her favorite chapter books, and exploring math with her students. When not teaching, she is likely painting, reading on the beach, enjoying live theater, or playing with her nieces! 
  • Leslie Keper

    Leslie was born and raised in the northern Chicago suburbs and attended the University of Iowa for her bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Upon graduation, she moved back to Chicago and lived in downtown Lakeview for ten years. Leslie began her teaching career not too far from where she had grown up in Mt. Prospect, Illinois. She was fortunate enough to be a part of a wonderful neighborhood school and spent the first ten years of her career there. During those ten years Leslie taught Kindergarten, 3rd and 4th grades, each one for three years. She also spent one year teaching 5th grade. Leslie earned her reading specialist master’s degree at Olivet Nazarene University and then continued her education by taking several additional classes to broaden and deepen her knowledge as an educator. In her free time she enjoys being outdoors exercising, traveling to see friends and family, reading, and taking her dog, Barkley, outside to play!