98 First Grade-Friendly Teaching Ideas


If you teach first grade, then I’ve got your back. Here are 98 first grade-friendly ideas to help you teach creatively and make your lesson planning easier. This collection from awesome teachers includes science, reading skills, worksheets and math for 1st grade.

98 First Grade-Friendly Teaching Ideas

There’s no shortage of great teaching ideas that you can tweak for first grade either. If you’re looking for something different – Teach Junkie has your back. Subscribe to get daily or weekly email updates with creative teaching ideas from featured teachers!

Science for 1st Graders

Force and Motion Experiment - STEM Printable
source: firstgradeblueskies

1. Force and Motion Experiments – Teach how force and motion work with these basic tools that’ll have your class hooked.

16 Classic and Creative Ways to Teach Worms - Teach Junkie

2. 16 Classic and Creative Ways to Teach Worms – Digging into the dirt or digging up good lessons on worms? This collection is a great place to start and find your next lesson plan idea.

4 Easy and Quick Parts of a Plant Activities - Teach Junkie

3. 4 Easy and Quick Parts of a Plant Activities – Find creative ways to learn about plants with this mini-collection of plant part activities.

It's a Worm Kind of Day - Teach Junkie
Source: mrsliretteslearningdetectives.com

4. Earthworms In a Day – Fun Life Science – Teach Earthworms in one day and make the most out of it. A fun way to integrate reading, writing and observation.

A Simple Plant Project - Teach Junkie
Source: mrsliretteslearningdetectives.com

5. Simple 3D Parts of a Plant Craft – Combine a craft with learning about plants in this 3D plant part diagram complete with labels.

Growing Plants in the Classroom Just Got Cooler - Teach Junkie
Source: 2busybrunettes.com

6. Coolest Parts of a Plant DIY Viewer – Create a plant viewer that is stunning on display and totally functional in the classroom.

Pond Water Observations and Investigation - Teach Junkie
source: littlemisskindergarten.blogspot.com

7. Pond Water Observations and Investigation – Compare pond water to school water and teach beginning observation skills.

Teach Junkie: 25 Easy Frog and Toad Ideas and Activities

8. 25 Easy Frog and Toad Ideas and Activities – One of my all time favorite collections of creative teaching ideas! This combines both the science and literature aspects of frogs and toads – perfect for first grade curriculum.

10 Scientific Method Tools to Make Science Easier - Teach Junkie

9. 10 Scientific Method Tools to Make Science Easier – Break down the scientific method for firsties with tools like classroom posters that make your job teaching science easier.

Rocks for Kids – 12 Activities and Ideas
source: pencilsglueandtyingshoes.blogspot.com

10. Rocks for Kids – 15 Fun Activities and Ideas – Edible rocks, creative anchor charts and more to take your teaching physical science to new levels.

Butterfly Journal - Teach Junkie
Source: learnwithleah.com

11. Butterfly Observation Journal Printable – Make a mini-book that is perfect for observing the life cycle of butterflies.

First Grade Skills

Freebie Game for Categories & Visual Memory

12. Freebie Game: Categories and Visual Perception – Take categorization to a new level with this clever seek and find game. Also perfect for for reinforcing partner work and learning to agree.

13. Singular and Plural Nouns Sorting Cards – Sort printable cards into piles of singular nouns and plural nouns.

3 Spring Alphabetical Order Downloads for First Grade

14. 3 Spring Alphabetical Order Downloads for First Grade – Order words by the letters of the alphabet with three different printables. All free downloads to work on ABC order.

Word Work

Counting Syllables Printables : Syllables - 8 Easy to Print Activities Teach Junkie

15. Syllables – 8 Easy to Print Activities – Kick up learning about syllables just a notch or start with the basics with these ready to print syllable activity ideas and worksheets.

Teach Junkie: Real/Silly Words Sort {QR Code}

16. Real/Silly Word Sort {QR Code} – A great reinforcement before taking the first Dibels assessment. Students read the cvc words and decode as a real or silly word by sorting it in the correct pile.

Spin and Read Digraphs – Beach Style {Free Download}

17. Spin and Read Digraphs – Beach Style {Free Download} – Build in digraphs into your word work with this fun summer themed spin and rad game. Features sh, ch, th and wh.

3 Vowel Pattern Worksheets {Free Download}

18. 3 Vowel Pattern Worksheets {Free Download} – Using the letter tiles as manipulative pieces, your first graders can build words using the popular vowel patterns ee and ea.

19. Easy Making Words With Bits Workmat {Free Download} – Reading four and five letter words fluidly becomes important as firsties work on automaticity with digraphs. This reading game encourages thinking about using basic language rules and digraphs.

Teach Junkie: 3 ELA Beginning Sounds and Blends Worksheets

20. 3 ELA Beginning Sounds and Blends Worksheets – Three different free printables to focus on hearing and identifying beginning blends/sounds in words.

21. 4 ELA Beginning Reader CVC Games {Free Download} – A great set of cvc games to help get your year started or for remediation with struggling beginning readers.


Penguins - Poems for Kids - Teach Junkie

22. Penguins – Poems for Kids – While this idea was originally designed for upper grades, first graders can totally handle it! Simply offer more guidance and create word banks together. Perfect to accompany reading Tacky the Penguin books.

Ouch Poetry - Teach Junkie
Source: firstgradewow.blogspot.com

23. Ouch! Poetry that Doesn’t Hurt – A fun poetry lesson or even a cute lesson to leave with a substitute teacher. The band-aids will surely leave them hooked.

24. 6 Spring ELA Word Work Activities {Free Download} – Dig into more word work activities with a spring theme.

11 Spring Poems for Children and Poetry Ideas

25. 11 Spring Poems for Children and Poetry Ideas – Poetry can be integrated in lots of ways including with your science themes. These ideas are to help inspire teaching poetry in various ways.

Reading Strategies

5 Steps to Building Accuracy in Young Readers - Teach Junkie

26. 5 Steps to Building Accuracy in Young Readers – If you’ve got readers that can comprehend but really need to work on fluency, these 5 tips will be a big help. You’ll love that it’s not as tricky as it may seems at first.

5 Quick Sight Word Helpers for Everyday Use - Teach Junkie

27. 5 Quick Sight Word Helpers for Everyday Use – Build up your students banks of sight words with these 5 quick resources to integrate teaching sight words.

Sight Word Battleship - Teach Junkie
Source: lizs-early-learning-spot.com

28. Sight Words Battleship Treasure Hunt Game – A great way to differentiate practicing sight words with first graders. You can completely alter this game to fit the exact needs of your students.

29. Reading Strategy File Folders {Comprehension} – Use sticky notes to help build reading comprehension skills as a way of responding to intervention or to use in your guided reading groups. Complete one as a group to encourage learning how to use this tool.

Guided Reading Goal Setting Bookmarks {printable}

30. Guided Reading Goal Setting Bookmarks {printable} – Help students set goals using these printable and cute bookmarks during your guided reading lessons.

5 Quick Reading Tips and Fun Ideas

31. 5 Quick Reading Tips and Fun Ideas – Reading in different ways is a fun way to change things up. This mini-collection is an easy way to spice up a reading lesson.

Story Elements {Teaching Characters and Plot Structure}

32. Story Elements {Teaching Characters and Plot Structure} – Teach the setting, characters and plot with these story element resources.

First Grade Fun

Sight Word Action Spelling - Ninja Style
Source: pocketfullofkinders.blogspot.com

33. Sight Words Action Spelling – Ninja Style – Spelling words and sight words just got more active with these ninja style moves.

Using iPods as Listening Centers

34. Using iPods as Listening Centers – Find out how you can get iPods donated to your classroom and a way to organize them to use in a first grade classroom.

35. 65 Printable Games {Teacher Created} on Teach Junkie – You’re sure to grab a few games designed for 1st grade from this list of printable math and printable language arts games with some overlap to this list.

Art Projects

Phases of the Moon Oil Painting
Source: the-gypsy-teacher.blogspot.com

36. Phases of the Moon Oil Painting – A gorgeous end product to work on recognizing the moon phases.

Spring Art Project Japanese Cherry Blossom - Teach Junkie
Source: artwithrmotta.blogspot.com

37. Pinkalicious Spring Japanese Cherry Blossom Art – Connect art and literature with this tempera and watercolor cherry blossom art project. Start with a Pinkalicious book to set the lesson up.

Monet Art Project - Teach Junkie
Source: emmymacsclass.blogspot.ca

38. Beautifully Easy Spring Monet Art Project – Using painter’s tape and fingerprints, this easy art project will have stunning results as students fill the page with color.

Watercolor Flower Art Project - Teach Junkie
source: thekindergartenteacher.blogspot.com

39. Watercolor Flower Art Project – Use materials you have on hand like crayons or chalk and watercolor paint to create beautiful flowers.

Math Made for First Graders

Solving Word Problems - Strategy Posters for Kids

40. Solving Word Problems – Strategy Posters for Kids – Encourage and reinforce using different and appropriate strategies during math lessons with these printable posters.

Even and Odd Cut and Paste Alien Printable - Teach Junkie
Source: knowledgemobile.com

41. Even and Odd Cut and Paste Alien Printable – Solve addition and subtraction problems and sort the answers into odd or even piles to fuel the alien spaceship.

40 Roll and Cover "Bump" Cool Math Games

42. 40 Roll and Cover “Bump” Cool Math Games – This collection of bump games has a lot that are perfect for first grade! Addition, subtraction and more.

Teaching Addition - March Task Cards

43. Teaching Addition – March Task Cards – Play scoot or turn these task cards into a write the room activity. Just right for St. Patrick’s day.

Subtraction Dr. Seuss Style: One Fish Two Fish - Teach Junkie

44. Subtraction Dr. Seuss Style: One Fish Two Fish – Subtract within 20 with these workmats. They have a fish theme that you can connect to Read Across America week, or Dr. Seuss’ birthday.

A Fishy Competition - Teach Junkie
Source: agradeonenutandhersquirrelycrew.blogspot.ca

45. A Fishy Competition Subtraction Game – Create subtraction situations with two parts (or addends) using manipulatives and dry erase boards.

18 Telling Time To The Hour Resources - telling time with snowmen - Teach Junkie
Source: first-grade-smiles.blogspot.com

46. 18 Quick Telling Time to the Hour Resources – Working on telling time to the hour just got easier with these printables, videos and more.

St. Patrick's Day Time {differentiated activity}

47. St. Patrick’s Day Time {differentiated activity} – Take the analog clocks with time to the hour and half hour and use the alphabet letter to write in the answers on the included worksheet.

Time for Spring! Telling Time Practice Pages

48. Time for Spring! Telling Time Practice Pages – Give students the opportunity to draw time onto an analog clock and hook them with a springtime riddle.

49. 16 Spring and Easter Math Ideas {Free Download} – Spring and Easter themed math printables are designed to work on addition, subtraction, even and odd and analyzing data.

50. Birthday Scatter Graph – Simple Display – Make your birthday display functional as you create a scatter graph with all of your first graders’ birthdays by month.

5 Graphing Measurement and Data Activities for Fun - Moustache You a Question - Teach Junkie
Source: mrsliretteslearningdetectives.com

51. 5 Graphing Measurement and Data Activities for Fun – Students create their own questions to ask of their classmates and analyze the results. The moustache aspect is a trending way to turn into a fun activity.

M&M Graphing Activity - Teach Junkie
Source: teachingwithtlc.com

52. M&M Graphing Activity – What’s not to love about a classic sorting activity to introduce collecting data… with chocolate? Create your own questions for analyzing the data that matches the needs of your class.

The BEST Way to Learn 3D Shapes - Teach Junkie
source: theclassroomkey.blogspot.com

53. The BEST Way to Teach 3D Shapes – Reinforce the vertices and faces of 3D shapes with these hands on playdough tutorials on how to form 3D shapes.

Superhero Hundreds Chart Game

54. Superhero Hundreds Chart Game {Free Printable} – Use knowledge of adding ten to place this game set up on the hundreds chart.

Cool Math for Kids - Counting to 120 Quick Trick - Teach Junkie

55. Cool Math for Kids – Counting to 120 Quick Trick – Here’s a fun math activity that reinforces counting to 120. Students will love to play this trick on their parents.

56. How to Teach Drawing Ten Frames – If you’re working on place value or composing and decomposing skills, start with the basics of how to draw a ten frame. It’s a great tool in place of using tally marks.

6 Place Value Printables and Activities
source: kinder-pond.blogspot.com

57. 6 Place Value Printables and Activities – A whole range of place value materials to print and use for working on understanding numbers in tens and ones.

Teaching Money with Games and Anchor Charts {Free Download}
source: handsonhappiness.blogspot.com

58. Teaching Money with Games and Anchor Charts {Free Download} – Printable money posters that are ready to hang in your classroom.

Spring Insect Coin Value Game {Free Download}

59. Spring Insect Coin Value Game {Free Download} – Adding money with this roll and cover game introduces adding pennies, nickels and dimes.

Writing Prompts and Ideas

60. 10 Helpful Writing Prompt Ideas and Anchor Charts – Get writing ideas to help you build up your first grade writers.

61. Pre-Writing Graphic Organizer – Persuasive, Narrative, Informational – If you teach writing different genres, this pre-writing organizer can help.

Paragraph Writing – Common Core Main Topic
source: secondgradesweetiepies.blogspot.com

62. Paragraph Writing – Common Core Main Topic – Teach how to stick to the topic and write three sentences to create a simple paragraph.

6 In-Depth All About Writing Tutorials - Teach Junkie

63. 6 In-Depth “All About” Writing Tutorials – If you love using “all about” books for a writer’s workshop – try one of these tutorials to give new insight or inspiration.

Student Executive File and Word Wall Idea

64. Individual Word Wall File Folder – Create an individual file folder word wall. Fill it with meaningful charts and words for each student – a great way to differentiate!

65. Writers Workshop Headphones {DIY} – Keep students quieter and give those that need more focus the opportunity to get it with old headphone sets.

5 "How-To" Writing Prompts {Goodie Bag}
source: thefirstgradeparade.blogspot.com

66. 5 “How-To” Writing Prompts {Goodie Bag} – Take the “how to” writing prompts to the next level with these five examples for inspiration. Some include free printables.

Teach Junkie: Need for Snowman

67. All I Need for a Snowman {Free Download} – Writing papers to connect with the classic winter story “All You Need For a Snowman.”

Holidays Made Easy

10 Teacher Friendly Earth Day Go-To Activities - Paper Plate Globe - Teach Junkie
Source: ourdayourjourney.blogspot.com

68. 10 Teacher Friendly Earth Day Go-To Activities – Make celebrating the Earth in smart ways easy as you plan ahead for April.

69. 7 Fast Activities for Earth Day and Printables {Free} – Printing these free downloads may be the last minute Earth day lesson plans happen in blink.

70. The BEST April Fools Hoax Ever – It’s the Teacher’s Turn! – This April Fool’s day, you’ve got the best trick in the bag ready to go. All you need are some carrots and a straight face.

6 St. Patrick’s Day Lesson Plan Ideas

71. 6 St. Patrick’s Day Lesson Plan Ideas – Whether it’s writing or a craft, here is a list of lesson plan idea starters to help you find a great lesson for March.

72. 7 St. Patrick’s Day Math Free Downloads – Focus on math on St. Patrick’s Day like with a lucky coins game download.

73. 4 St. Patrick’s Day Language Arts {Free Download} – Sort nouns, adjectives and verbs or get free March vocabulary word wall cards to make your teaching life easier.

74. 2 Fun Activities for St. Patrick’s Day Math – Tweak this activity with Lucky Charms to create problem solving prompts for math.

6 Dr. Seuss Inspired Math Activities {Free Download}
source: thesecondgradesuperkids.blogspot.com

75. 6 Dr. Seuss Inspired Math Activities {Free Download} – Use a a set of missing addend cards or an addition bump game in March.

76. Dr. Seuss Language Arts {Free Downloads} – Create a Lorax paper bag puppet or do a little green eggs and ham themed word work with these two free downloads.

77. 13 Fun and Clever Dr. Seuss Ideas For the Classroom – Teach hot to draw Cat in the Hat, make Horton Hears a Who, or grab a few printable games.

Guided Drawing – How to Draw Cat in the Hat

78. Guided Drawing – How to Draw Cat in the Hat – Teach how to draw the Cat in the Hat with this great step by step tutorial.

Dental Health Coloring Page

79. Dental Health Month Coloring Page – Remind students how to take care of their teeth during dental health month with this a printable coloring page.

80. Valentine’s Day Addition Doubles Game {printable} – Students work on adding their doubles facts in this printable math game.

Valentine’s Day Time {differentiated centers}

81. Valentine’s Day Time {differentiated centers} – Turn this game into a matching game or a walk the room task card activity.

82. Valentine’s Day Doubles Roll, Add, Cover Game – We love roll and cover games for primary students. This one is a heart theme set of cards just right for February.

Martin Luther King - Teach Junkie

83. I Have a Dream Coloring Page – Review what you’ve taught on MLK with a coloring page.

27 Helpful Martin Luther King Jr. Activities - Diversity: Teach Junkie

84. 27 Helpful Martin Luther King Jr. Activities – This collection has a lot of options for teaching MLK Day in first grade friendly ways – including using playdough to teach diversity.

Easy Ways to Pose the Elf on the Shelf

85. 47 Elf On The Shelf Classroom Escapades and Resources – The fun and cutest ways to make the Elf on the Shelf happen in your classroom leading up until Christmas break.

Thanksgiving Games


86. 13 Thanksgiving Games and Worksheets for Kids – This collection of crafts, games and worksheets has a lot available for first grade. The ABC order worksheet is one good example.

Crafts for First Grade Fingers

Bird Nest Collage - Teach Junkie

87. Spring Themed Crafts DIY Birds Nest – Create a birds nest craft using simple items like a paper plate, tissue and paper.

Dinosaur Craftivity - Teach Junkie
Source: lifeinfirstgrade1.blogspot.com

88. Simple Dinosaur Craft Pattern Freebie – Create a dinosaur template to glue together. Pieces can be traced by students or simply run onto construction paper and cut out.

Frozen Snowman Olaf Craft Activity - Teach Junkie

89. Frozen Olaf Snowman Craft Activity – Work on beginning money skills with this popular Frozen themed craft. Students spend money to purchase decorations for their snowman.

90. 22 Apple-licious Classroom Activities and Freebies – A whole collection of primary resources for teaching about the life cycle of an apple tree.

Teach Junkie: Snowman Cut n' Build {Free Download}

91. Snowman Cut n’ Build {Free Download} – A printable one-page template for students to cut and glue together a snowman. Great with the All You Need to Build a Snowman writing prompt above.

Teacher Tools

92. 10 Classroom Library Organization Labels {Free Download} – Whether it’s by level or theme, you can organize your classroom library with these book basket labels.

93. 5 Free Printable Word Wall Alphabet Cards – Get cute headers for your classroom word wall since having a print rich environment is so key in first grade.

2 Classroom Management Expectations Poster Sets
source: 3rdgradethoughts.com

94. 2 Classroom Management Expectations Poster Sets – Focus on the positive with posters that help set up your expectations for classroom procedures and routines.

End of the 1st Grade Year

17 Simple End of the school Year Student Gifts and Writing Activities

95. 17 Simple End of the School Year Student Gifts and Writing Activities – The writing pieces in this collection are just right for the end of a first grade year.

10 Day Countdown - Teach Junkie
Source: firstwithfranklin.blogspot.com

96. Last Day of School 10 Day Balloon Countdown – Set up a popping good coutndown to the last day of school with this clever balloon display. Includes a free printable with 10 activities for first grade.

How to Send Home Work SIMPLY {End of the Year}
source: teachertothecore.blogspot.com

97. How to Send Home Work SIMPLY {End of the Year} – Add items to a snuggle bag to help get all of your first grade projects home safely. Make them cherished by families with this cute twist on sending work home.

26 Fun and Memorable End of the School Year Celebration Ideas

98.26 Fun and Memorable End of the School Year Celebration Ideas – Repeat your beginning of the year photo idea with a new end of year one – to show how they’ve grown. Or create a new picture-taking setup to celebrate the end of the first grade year.

Now that’s a whopper of a collection that has a little bit of everything! I hope you found these first-grade friendly ideas a time saver.

Cute First Grade Teacher T-Shirts

Thanks to all of the talented teachers featured in this collection – your ideas will be so helpful to many fellow teachers! Feel free to grab the “I’m a Featured Teach Junkie” blog button as your creations are definitely worth the shout out.

Most Popular Ideas on Teach Junkie

Leslie {aka the original Teach Junkie} loves learning new things to make teaching easier and more effective. She enjoys featuring creative classroom fun when she's not designing teacher shirts, making kindergarten lesson plans or planning her family's next trip to Disney World.