Welcome to 2nd Grade!

by Ms. Cammie Ochoa

About Me

Dear Families,

I am so excited about teaching second grade at St. Mary, Star of the Sea, known for its high quality of education.   Second grade is a very special year and one reason is that the students make their 1st Holy Communion. I have fond memories of my 1st Holy Communion and the life long friends I made when I attended Holy Family in South Pasadena, CA.

A little bit more about me:  I have taught first grade for 10 years in public and charter schools, including St. Columba Catholic School.  Prior to that I was a training instructor for PSA/USAirways.

I received my bachelor’s at University of Arizona, my teaching credential at
San Diego State University and my master’s with my California reading
certification at National University.

I enjoy traveling and take off in my car or plane every chance I get.  When I am home, I like working in the yard and hosting game night with family and friends.  I also enjoy boogie boarding, taking walks around my neighborhood, hanging out with my desert tortoise Godzilla in my backyard and cruising in my '56 Ford pickup "Torch".

I love teaching and look forward to coming to work every day.  Your child is my main concern while I am at work and they are often on my mind even when I leave for the day. Thank you for entrusting your child in my care.

Blessings,
Ms. Cammie Ochoa

My Class

Second grade is an exciting year! This is the year when body and mind begin to work together instead of as separate entities.  The children are beginning to think in an abstract manner and more importantly, they begin to be morally responsible to a degree that younger children are not. This is why Second Grade is traditionally the year that Catholic children take First Communion along with Reconciliation. It is truly a joy to be part of this journey of faith and to witness together the adventure, responsibility, and awareness. Whether Catholic or not, they all make this journey together.

Our Second Graders also begin the stair step to independence - allowing them to do things on their own under the watchful eye and guidance of their parent/guardian.  I think it's important for our children to speak with confidence.  This year is important in the development of a child's self-esteem, indeed, their very sense of self. We all know that self-esteem or its lack can impact the development of a child's identity and that it has a profound effect on the ability to make friends and succeed academically. However, self-esteem is not natural and must be cultivated by both the family and the school. That is why I place a great deal of emphasis in making sure that all the children feel valued, and in developing their confidence. Speaking from my own confidence, I have had much success in cultivating secure and happy students, and I know that parents appreciate this aspect of our Second Grade.

Fostering imagination is important and is the key to remembering if you can think it, say it, you can write it. This is also the level in which play becomes more dramatic, more imaginative, and more competitive! This is where our second graders begin to realize "I'm pretty good at this!" and push to experience more.

In Second Grade, more emphasis is placed on vocabulary and comprehension, the importance of following directions (both orally and written exercises), and independent thinking.  Our students will identify and correctly use nouns and verbs, recognize simple prefixes and suffixes, and identify simple multiple-meaning words. By the end of second grade, students will be able to write a basic story with a clear beginning, middle, and end. They will also be able to edit and revise their writing to make it clearer and to correct errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization.  The strides the children make in vocabulary and reading comprehension during the year are truly remarkable.

Math is important in school, as well as life. In addition to counting, reading, writing, and ordering sequential numbers up to 1,000, Second Graders will be able to add and subtract two-digit numbers more quickly and accurately. They will learn to add and subtract whole numbers up to three digits, and will hone their understanding of place value with three-digit numbers when adding and subtracting. Second graders will also solve multistep addition and subtraction word problems, and gear up to learn simple multiplication, which will be an important third grade skill.

Second graders will measure length to the nearest inch or centimeter. They will be able to describe geometric shapes and classify them according to the number and shape of faces, edges, and vertices (corners).

Children this age will tell time to the nearest quarter hour, and will understand relationships and units of time, such as the amount of minutes in an hour, hours in a day, and days in a month. They have a better grasp of when things happened or will happen.

Our science program will be a "hands on" experience. I will be using the Next Generation Science Standards to plan our lessons and activities. Science is a great way to explore the world around us and learn problem solving for real world application. We are able to make sense of the world around us by using the strategies learned through investigating science. In science, we learn that even the smallest of things are dependent upon one another and work together to create something amazing.

In Social Studies, students develop a sense of the world around them. They study maps and environments as well as learn about types of community jobs and people who have made a difference. They begin to realize one person can change the world! They will naturally identify with some of these people and be inspired for the future. It is always interesting to see the children grow in their awareness.