Fall Activities for First Grade
Pretty sure I can honestly say that fall 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 things autumn!
In fact, the toughest part is trying to fit it all in... so I grab my laptop and head to the coffee shop to do some planning!
Hopefully, you share my love of all things autumn!
If not, maybe you’ll have a change of heart after reading this post ;)
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.
The Play-Doh apple patterning was a popular choice during math centers.
This was our first independent patterning task and they did quite well.
These stickers are great because they are removable so I can sit down with my kiddos who had a little difficulty and they can fix up their patterns.
I raided the gym supply closet and found these ‘apples’ which were perfect for hands-on apple patterning.
My first graders took turns laying on the carpet while a partner made an apple pattern above their head!
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 on YouTube here: A My Name Is...
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!”
We place the cards in the pocket chart and it becomes a game to see if we can remember what everyone liked!
I was impressed with the memories of some of my little ones!
Oh October, How I Love Thee!
A new month means a new binder and I LOVE pulling the October binder off the shelf!
I keep all theme activities filed in page protectors in my monthly binders.
It makes planning easy as I’m a visual person. You can see the full collection of monthly binder covers here!
October Math Centers
Hands-on math centers are a breeze to make with these fall goodies!
So much love for plastic table scatters from the dollar store and fall always seems to have the biggest selection!
Halloween 10 Frame Game
Ice cube trays make great 10 frames for math center games!
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!
Halloween Poem & Reader
It’s a given that my first graders will be excited (ok, excited is an understatement) for Halloween so the goal is to channel is as much as possible.
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.
We have lots of fun acting this one out!
They also take home a reader version of the poem to share with their families.
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!
How adorable is this squishy Frankie?!
They had to skip count by 5s and 10s and glue the numbers in order to create their number lines. 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 humans is such a delight ❤︎
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 Dixie cups so they can continue the game at home with their families.
I spotted these adorable Halloween squishies on Amazon and may have to grab them for next year!
Is there a better time to teach the ‘oo’ sound? I can't think of one!
We worked on the sound all week and even our classroom clock got in on the action.
Best time to teach the spooky ‘oo’!
Halloween oo Sound Game
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!!
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 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!
You can download a copy of the Creepy Carrots Connections writing templates here.
It’s getting creepy in first grade!
'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving
T’was the Night Before Thanksgiving is a staple read aloud in my classroom every year.
Note: You'll want to preview this book to see if it's a good fit for your classroom. I change the wording in a couple of places and my first graders have found it an entertaining read!
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?!
These turkeys are simple to create and make unique Thanksgiving ‘guests’!
Easy Turkey Craft Instructions:
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 a 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: Hot glue a 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!
Love how unique they are! Some were even given names before they were even complete :)
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.
Made with ❤︎ Wish I would’ve discovered these sooner! You can find similar stickers on Amazon here.
Speaking of handmade with love, I hope these ideas inspire or help you in some way!
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 ❤︎