Two Daily Language Arts Activities for First Grade Students

Taking Attendance

Never miss a teaching opportunity when teaching in a Grade One classroom! Incorporate playing with numbers into your Language Arts program.

Most classroom teachers mark attendance at least once a day. This provides an excellent opportunity for interactive questions and answers, making observations and using the conventions of discussion and conversation e.g. taking turns, listening politely to others.Language arts for grade one comes in many different forms.

After the attendance has been taken ask simple questions: How many students are away today? How many students do we have in our classroom when everyone is here? How many students do you think are here today? After eliciting a number of answers have students stand and, as they are counted, sit down.

When everyone is comfortable answering these questions – it may take a few weeks- move on to the question of whether the total number of students present is an odd or even number. To prove it ask the students to stand. Ask them to touch one other person’s hand and then sit down immediately with that person. If there is a student left standing, without a partner, then it is an odd number. If everyone is sitting down then it is an even number. This is a wonderful opportunity for language development.

Add a New Twist

After another week or so ask the students to tell something else about the number of students present e.g. What number comes before or after it? Is it a one-digit number or a two-digit number? Are both digits even or odd? How many tens, how many ones? If you add the digits together what is the total?


On a piece of paper invite the students to write any two-digit number and then ‘tell’ about it. For example the number 49 may initiate these kinds of responses : It is an odd number. 48 comes before it and 50 comes after it. There are four tens and nine ones. Four plus nine equals thirteen. 4 is an even number. 9 is an odd number. 4 is less than 9.

Language Arts is Part of Everything

Language is incorporated into everything that we do. It is not necessary to divide subjects into compartments .

By subscibing to this philosophy the “Show and Tell” time each day can become a meaningful experience and not just a time filler at an odd moment. Students love this activity and it is an important part of the Oral and Visual Communications curriculum.

At the beginning of the year establish routines and rules. It could be a named group of students each day so that each child knows their ‘day’ in advance. Of course there will be exceptions if someone has had a very special event e.g. a new brother or sister, or they have won a special prize or trophy.

After a couple of weeks establish some guidelines e.g. the student gives three clues about the object they are going to show and the class has three guesses. Everyone listens to the clues, everyone takes turns.

Post the categories for each week.

Suggestions: Something red (blue, green etc). Something that will fit in the palm of your hand. Something that will change. Something to do with sports. Something antique (this provides an opportunity for fabulous mini-history lessons). Something scientific. Something technical. Something that will roll.

In conclusion

Use these two activities in your input session each day and you will see the students enjoy and learn at the same time.

This post is part of the series: First Grade Language Arts Curriculum

Enjoyable daily activities for students to enjoy with a minimal of preparation for the teacher. Taking attendance and Show and Tell time become vehicles for oral language development.
  1. Language Arts Curriculum for First Grade: Two Daily Activities
  2. Language Arts for First Grade: Week 1