Grades 1 & 2
In Grades 1 and 2, expectations for students' academic and social lives are adjusted to account for the growing capabilities and understandings of seven- and eight-year-olds. At this level (as with Grades 3 and 4) students are in mixed-age homerooms comprised of both first- and second-graders. The mixed-age homerooms are an important element of students' development, since children at this age are ready for more robust intellectual and social interactions. Just as important is the two-year relationship the student and family develops with the homeroom teaching team. Staying with the same teachers for two years means that each student is known well and their capabilities thoroughly understood.
- Language Arts: Formal reading instruction is conducted with a balanced literacy approach to integrate phonics, shared reading and writing, guided reading, mini-lessons, and read alouds. Reading instruction is the primary focus, but the range of Grades 1/2 language arts skills also includes writing mechanics and fluency, spelling and vocabulary, speaking, and listening.
Math: Mathematics in Grades 1/2 continues to follow the Math in Focus curriculum and focuses on the continued development of mathematical skills, concepts, and computation. Students build their repertoire of effective problem-solving strategies and begin to learn to articulate their mathematical thinking.
Social Studies: Building on the skills developed in Kindergarten, social studies in Grades 1/2 focuses on individuals and groups that have made or are making an impact on their communities as well as to identify their role in different communities they are a part of. Students are introduced to basic economic principles, concepts in geography, citizens' rights and responsibilities, and investigate the culture and lives of children in other parts of the world in addition to within Minnesota. Throughout the Lower School, social studies units are interdisciplinary, deepening and developing literacy, research and writing skills while also integrating science, music, art and technology.
Grades 1/2 also work in specialist courses 2-3 times per six-day rotation. The specialist courses include science, Spanish, music and movement, art, physical education, and time in the Lower School library. Learn more about specialist courses. Technology continues to be integrated into the curriculum in Grades 1/2.
Family involvement: Although children are becoming more independent in Grades 1/2, parents are still an invaluable source of insight and information about their child’s growth and development. Grade 1/2 teaching teams stay in close touch with their families through regular emails, class website updates, written reports, and conferences. Parent volunteers are always invited to visit the classroom and contribute to the rich learning environment and the fun of Grades 1/2.