Subscribe to Our Mailing List

Get the news right in your inbox!

No Spam Ever!

Subscribe for a little love in your inbox!

Stay up to date and enjoy exclusive goodies!


November 12, 2019 No Comments

Pretty sure I can honestly say that this is my favorite time of year to teach! My first graders have settled into their routines and it’s time to haul out the apples, pumpkins, turkeys, leaves, and all other things autumn-related! In fact, the toughest part is trying to fit it all in!

Teacher planning in coffee shop
Teacher planning always feels different in a coffee shop! #changeofscenery

Hopefully, you share my love of all-things-fall! If not, maybe you’ll be a convert after reading this post?! Or at least have a couple of fresh ideas to bring to your classroom. 😉

Pictures speak louder than words so I’ve included a bunch!


September was all about getting to know each other and APPLES! The Dr. Seuss classic, Ten Apples Up On Top, was perfect for counting and patterning activities in math.

Apples Up On Top patterning with play doh
Apples Up On Top – Play-doh patterning math center
Apples up on top patterning
Raided the gym supply room and found these ‘apples’!
Apple patterning
We used stickers to make some Apples Up On Top patterns


Word Wall Student Name Cards
A My Name Is…by Alice Lyne has become my new go-to for name games!

This book is a whole lotta fun and is great for reviewing beginning sounds as well as getting to know names at the beginning of the school year.

You can check out a read aloud of the book here:

A My Name Is… (skip to :30 for the story)

After reading the book, we play a game where I pull student names from a bag and the kiddos think of something that they like that begins with the first letter of their name. “D my name is Donna and I like dogs!” The cards are from my editable word wall pack here.

We place the cards in the pocket chart and it becomes a game to see if we can remember what everyone liked! Boy, I was impressed with the memories of some of my little ones!


October Teaching Ideas Binder
I looooove pulling the October binder off the shelf!

A new month means a new binder! I keep all activities filed in page protectors in my monthly binders. It makes planning easy as I’m a visual person. The covers are available here!


October Math Centers
Hands-on math centers are a breeze to make with these fall goodies!

Oh so much love for those bags of plastic table scatters in the dollar store! For some reason, fall seems to have the biggest selection. Not complaining at all but I wish my Christmas and Easter centers had this much selection!

Halloween 10 Frame game with ice cube trays
Halloween 10 Frame Game

Oh, how it makes my teacher heart happy when they make ice cube trays that double as 10 frames! Here’s an easy and engaging Halloween math game!

My first graders love playing ‘Fill the 10 Frame’. Each partner has a 10 frame and they take turns rolling the dice. They add the corresponding number of counters to their 10 Frames and the first one to fill theirs is the winner. The KEY is they can’t go over! (i.e., if they have 4 spots left and roll a 6, they lose their turn and try again next turn).

Another variation is to put two 10 frames together and each partner has a different kind of counter. They work together to fill to 20. The player who gets to put in the final counter is the ‘winner’!

Great practice for 1 to 1 correspondence, making 10 and decomposing numbers. I keep an eye out for fun ice cube trays and try to change it up to go along with our seasonal themes!


Sometimes you stumble upon things you didn’t even realize you needed. That’s what happened with these amaaaaazing pencils! I’d heard about triangular pencils but hadn’t seen any around school and figured they’d probably have to be ordered by our occupational therapist. Then, on one of my Saturday morning shopping trips I spotted these!!!

Papermate Triangular Pencils
Whoa!! These have been sooo helpful for a few of my little ones who struggle with gripping their pencils comfortably!

Love, love, love them! Wish I would’ve found them sooner! You can click on the photo to go to my affiliate link on Amazon for them. There will be a stash of these in my room from now on!


It’s a given that my first graders will be excited (ok, excited is an understatement) for Halloween so it’s my goal to capitalize on it as much as I can.

Rainy Halloween First Grade
Halloween was a wash out this year…rain all day. Is there anything scarier than indoor recess on Halloween?! EEEEK!

Let’s be honest, it gets a little nutty so we might as well try to use it to our advantage! Our class learns a new poem each week to add to our Chant Books and this one has become my go-to for the week of Halloween.

Halloween Poem
Halloween Sounds poem – we have lots of fun acting this on out!
Halloween Emergent Reader
Click the photo above to grab a free copy of the Halloween Sounds poem & reader!


Since we’re working on skip counting by 5s and 10s around this time, the Frankenline has been a fun way to help my kiddos practice. The Frankie fun rose to a new level this year all because of this dollar store find!

Frankenline Skip Counting
How adorable is this squishy Frankie?!

They had to skip count by 5s and 10s and glue the numbers in order. Then the Frankenline fun began! They took turns closing their eyes while Frankie was placed on a number. They had to figure out which number he was standing on by using their skip counting skills.

Once they figured it out, they got to pick him up and ‘squish’ him!! I cannot adequately describe how much joy came from this simple act! {This is why teaching little people is such a delight ❤︎}

Halloween skip counting with Frankenlines
The Frankenlines go home so they can continue playing with their families!

Oh how I wish I could’ve sent a “Frankie” home with each of my kiddos! Since I only had one, they had to settle for little cups so they can continue the game at home with their families. Only thing missing today was a good read aloud with Frankenstein… if you have any suggestions, let me know!

You can grab a copy by clicking on the photos above or here! If you open the file in Adobe Reader, you’ll be able to add your own name in the editable boxes .


Is there a better time to teach the ‘oo’ sound? I think not! We worked on the sound all week and even our classroom clock got in on the action!

Boo! Spooky oo activities
Best time to teach the spooky ‘oo’!

Super easy game: place word cards with the ‘oo’ sound in a bag along with some cards that say BOO! Students reach in and pull a card. If they can read it, they keep it in their pile. If they pull a BOO card, they put all their cards back in! 👻

Works great for small groups OR if you’re feeling brave during Halloween week, divide the class into two teams. WARNING: they will get into it and all classroom control may be lost!! 


Spinner the Spider
Making Connections with Spinner the Spider

It’s connection time! Spinner the Spider helps us make connections to the texts we read. It just so happens that one of my absolute FAVORITE October read alouds (Creepy Carrots) is a perfect match for my first graders learning to make Text-to-Self connections.

After reading the book a couple of times, we focus on making personal connections to a few events in the story. I copy the pages and attach strings to each photo. My kiddos take turns coming up and holding a string and explaining their connection to that part of the story. It can be tricky for little ones to make deep and meaningful connections so I find this is a helpful starting point.

Making Connections
Making Connections with Jasper in Creepy Carrots

We follow it up with a writing activity and make our own creepy carrots! It’s a fun introduction to the making connections strategy and OH MY their creepy carrots are always so darling!!

Creepy Carrots Making Connections
Creepy Carrots: Text to Self Connections
Creepy Carrots Craft
It’s getting creepy in first grade!!!


So a little disclaimer here: T’was the Night Before Thanksgiving is a staple in my classroom every year but I suggest you preview it first just in case… There is a part that talks about Farmer MacNuggett ‘chopping’ the turkeys into Thanksgiving feasts. Now, it does have a happy ending and I do a little tweaking of the language when reading so it’s never been an issue for my little ones. I just don’t want you to be taken by surprise ;). Click here if you’d like to grab a copy for your classroom!

The story has a sweet ending as the children return home from their field trip to the farm with some ‘special’ Thanksgiving guests! My kiddos were thrilled to hear that they’d be making their own little gobblers to bring home as guests too! How precious are these?! All the heart eyes!!

T'was the Night Before Thanksgiving
Our sweet Thanksgiving turkey ‘guests’!
Turkey Craft
These turkeys are simple to create and make unique Thanksgiving ‘guests’!


  1. Turkey feathers – make these a day in advance to allow for drying time. Color coffee filters with washable markers. Spray with water and allow time to dry. I recommend 2 filters per turkey.
  2. Place paper bag flap side down with the opening toward child.
  3. Cut out eyes and beak and glue on bag. You can download a template here. Make sure the bags are still placed correctly or else you’ll have some upside down turkeys ;). I have my little ones use the fold line as a guide when glueing the beaks. Now they get to be creative and add details with markers!
  4. Cut long strips of orange paper for the legs. Accordion fold the legs. We call this “flip and fold”. Glue legs inside the front of the bag. They can also cut out feet and glue on the ends.
  5. Turn turkeys upside down and stuff with paper from recycling bin. Tie with ribbon.
  6. Optional: Glue red balloon ‘wattle’ under the beak area.
  7. Fold the coffee filters in half and staple to sides of the turkey head.
  8. Name your turkey and bring it home as a guest for Thanksgiving dinner! Happy Thanksgiving!
Easy turkey craft
Love how unique they are! Some were even given names before they left the classroom!

On another note, I was oh so proud of myself for remembering that I bought these adorable stickers at the dollar store in the summer! Usually I forget about things like this and they remain buried in the craft cupboard for an eternity. #NotThisTime

Made with Love stickers
Made with ❤︎

Wish I would’ve discovered these sooner! You can find similar stickers on Amazon by clicking the photo above or here.

Speaking of handmade with love, I hope these ideas inspire or help you in some way! I remember spending loads of times on my favorite blogs when I moved to first grade and I hope to give back in some way here in my little corner of the bloggie world.

On a personal level, Autumn is a time of year that I look forward to for its beauty and coziness. Sharing some of that love for the season with my kiddos and here with all of you warms my heart.

❤︎ Happy Fall to All!! ❤︎

Heart of the Class - Donna Signature

Hello! Welcome to Heart of the Class! I'm a teacher who has found a happy home in first grade. Creating fun and engaging activities for my little ones is a passion of mine and I'm happy to have this space to share them with you. Let's grab a cup of coffee (make that Turkish...mmmm) and hang out for a while! Read More

Latest Posts

Stay Connected!

Subscribe to Heart of the Class

Exclusive goodies to your inbox!

You'll LOVE opening your inbox!