First Grade Language Arts Ideas for the First Week of School

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Day 1

First grade language arts impacts on every aspect of the program. It is the vehicle for all written and spoken language. Here is a brief outline of an example for the first days of the new school year.

Students will:

- listen and react to stories

- respond to familiar or predictable language patterns by joining in

- use initial consonants to help unlock words

Book suggestion: Snug as a Big Red Bug by Frank Edwards. Illustrated by John Bianchi. Synopsis: This pattern story tells about poor Red Bug who does not know anything about a cold harsh winter. His friends do not want him to join them. Eventually he finds a spot just for himself where he can be as snug as a bug in a rug.

Input Session

Introduce the book:

Title: Which words rhyme? How are they alike? How are they different? What does snug mean? Can you think of another word with the same meaning? What color word is in the title? Which two words begin with the same letter?

The Book Cover: What do you see on the cover? What do you think the Red Bug is saying to them? Is he real or imaginary?

Read the book.

When the students are familiar with the story encourage them to join in. As you read leave out some of the rhyming words and ask the students to fill in the missing words.

Each time the word ‘bug’ is said ask the students to point to the ‘B’ on the alphabet chart. Look at the letter ‘b’ in an alphabet book.

Invite the students to make the letter ‘b’ shape in the air. Then ask them to trace the letter shape into the palm of their hand. Trace the letter shape on their leg.

The Activities

  1. On large sheets of paper ask the students to draw a BIG red bug. Provide old magazines and ask them to cut out pictures of things that begin with the sound ‘b’. Then paste them on to their bug pictures.

  2. In trays of sand or salt (styrofoam meat trays work well) trace the letter ‘b’ six times.

Day 2

Students will:

- produce short pieces of writing using simple forms

- organize information so that writing conveys a clear message

Review the book Snug as a Big Red Bug. Look through the book together and on chart paper make a list of signs that warn that winter is approaching (leaves falling, snow flakes, dark clouds)

Discuss different activities that go with different seasons of the year e.g. swimming in Summer, skiing in Winter.

Introduce the daily journals . This could be a daily activity that students work on independently each day. They should print the date, draw a picture and try to write a sentence about the picture.


  1. Fold a large sheet of paper into quaters, open it up and in each section illustrate Red Bug taking part in an activity suitable for each season. Ask students to print the name of the season in each section. Students should print a short sentence describing each activity or dictate a sentence for a helper to write for them.

  2. Daily Journals (independent)

  3. Spray shaving cream on the tables and have students make the letter ‘b’ with their fingers in it (your room will smell wonderful after this activity!)

Day 3

Students will:

- read using reading strategies

- write simple sentences

Read and review the book Snug as a Big Red Bug

On a chart make a list of the rhyming words in the text

Choose one of the rhyming sets and make a word family chart e.g. bug,dug,hug,jug,lug,mug,pug,rug,tug

Ask students to make up sentences containing each of these words


  1. Make a class BIG BOOK.

a) Print the text and leave space for the illustrations (have this already prepared). b) Students choose a page to illustrate.(several students may choose the same page) c) Place their pictures to accompany the text.d) Design a cover.e) Staple the pages together and reinforce with masking tape.

  1. Individual journals

  2. Use finger paint on large sheets of shiny paper to make letter ‘Bb’


Did the student recognize rhyming patterns?

Was the student able to use rhyming to further own writing?

Did the student extend their vocabulary?

Working out what to do in the first few days of first grade langugage sessions need not be the challenge you think it is. These activities are a great way to get the first few days done in a fun and enjoyable way. Try them today and see how great they really are.

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