For Laurie Strandberg, a busy little classroom filled with smiling second grade faces is just about one of the best places on earth to spend a day.
“They are at that perfect age when they’re not so little anymore that we’re just focusing on getting them to sit down. We’ve got their attention, and they’re really great. I love second grade,” Strandberg says.
Now in her fifth year teaching her beloved second grade at St. Edmond Catholic School in Fort Dodge, Strandberg enjoys the fact that children at this level are young enough to be thrilled at learning so many new things, and yet old enough to really begin grasping higher learning concepts.
Indeed, getting students prepared to take on the challenges of educational demands that pick up rapidly in third grade and beyond is one of the most important goals of the second grade year.
“Our main goal in second grade is to get independence, so that they can work independently,” Strandberg says. “They are able to take their learning to the next level that way.”
A Dayton native, Strandberg attended Iowa Central Community College and then earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education, along with a minor in psychology and reading endorsement, from Buena Vista University.
Reading improvement is another major goal of the second grade year, and St. Ed’s utilizes a “Daily Five” curriculum that blends reading skills into several segments of the school day. The Daily Five includes time to read alone, writing time, word work, reading with others and listening to someone else read.
Strandberg makes it a point to read to her students each day and enjoys that portion of the day almost as much as the kids.
Her entire teaching career has been spent at St. Edmond’s, and she enjoys the fact that values are a part of everyday learning at the Catholic school.
“I just love that it’s faith-based, and that we can pray with our students,” she says. “There are teachable moments where that really comes in handy.”
It also makes for a peaceful start of the day, as classes begin each morning with prayer.
“We start with prayer every morning; it’s just a great way to start the day,” Strandberg concludes.