Grades 1 and 2



The exciting energy of multi-grade classes begins in first/second grade. Students spend two years in the classroom, allowing teachers to develop a deeper understanding of each child’s strengths and needs as well as the ability to provide just the right challenge for each unique individual. Younger students have older role models to interact and learn with, while older students have the opportunity to become mentors and develop leadership skills. Curriculum is carefully planned on a two-year timeframe so that new learning topics are introduced each year and students view themselves as progressive, cooperative, successful learners.

First and second graders at Lesley Ellis School are energized with the process of becoming competent, engaged readers and writers. They enjoy learning about the value of money through opening up a “virtual” restaurant in their classroom and then use this knowledge to collect money for a community service project by baking and selling muffins to the whole school community in the hallway. Growing plants for the school garden, singing in the lower elementary chorus, cooking empanadas in Spanish class, designing and testing a robotic vehicle, creating a map of Boston…these are just some of the highlights of our first and second grade classrooms!

Learning Looks Like This

As a final activity of a unit on money, one of the Grade 1 and 2 math groups visits a “virtual” restaurant in the classroom so they can practice the skills they have just learned, including identifying the value of coins and bills. The students are excited for the chance to place their orders and pay their checks. Sitting in small groups at tables, each student has a menu, a one-dollar bill, one dollar in coins, and a receipt for recording purchases. As the students place their orders, the food server, who looks surprisingly like one of their teachers, reminds the customers to keep track of their total order. The “virtual” restaurant, like all restaurants, expects its customers to not overspend and have enough money to pay their bill! After eating some tasty items from the menu, each student is presented with a bill and must calculate the coins needed to pay for the food. The whole math group comes together at the end and the students share their strategies for choosing which coins to use and how they made sure they had enough money after ordering.