October Teaching Ideas for First Grade

Crisp autumn air, bright orange pumpkins, Halloween costumes, and candy... what's not to love about October? As a long-time first-grade teacher, I'm a big fan of leaning into the seasons and holidays to create excitement in my classroom. We all know that some fun, seasonal themes are always well received by our rambunctious youngsters. This is especially true during October with Halloween just around the corner! Come along to see some fresh October teaching ideas to help plan your lessons. 

Use these fun October teaching ideas with fall and Halloween themed activities to teach math and ELA concepts.

What Should I Teach In October? 

The exact skills you'll focus on during this month will vary slightly depending on the skill set of your learners and your curriculum pacing. Still, a few things always make the cut on my lesson plans! Year after year, I look forward to teaching new grammar topics, focusing on addition and subtraction fact families, teaching map skills, working on basic sentence structure, and place value in October. 

These October teaching ideas include everything you need to plan fun fall themed math, ELA, and social studies lessons this fall.

No matter where my students are, these topics are pretty safe for ensuring that everyone can participate in some way at this time of year. For students requiring more support, I typically differentiate these topics as needed with additional recording sheets and/or alternate forms of instruction.

And don't forget about small groups too! Using your small group time as an opportunity to facilitate deeper learning and topic intervention is a great way to ensure everyone is on the same page with your October topics. Ready to get into the specifics? Let's talk about October teaching ideas!

1. Fall Nouns and Verbs Grammar Lesson 

First up, let's chat about grammar lessons for the month of October. This time of year is still early in the school year, and we're focusing on some basic concepts like nouns and verbs. We spend the month of October defining these terms, sorting them, and using them in practice. This resource is my go-to, all-in-one lesson for mastering this topic. 

In this resource, we start with definition posters that help students understand verbs and nouns with examples for each. Then, we work on a sorting game as a class or in small groups. This activity is great for introducing nouns and verbs and helping students pause and think about which category they fall into. 

Include this fall nouns and verbs grammar lesson complete with an adorable craftivity in your October teaching ideas for practice on nouns and verbs your students will love.

After they've got a solid foundation of this grammar topic, we practice working with nouns and verbs with center activities like clip cards and no-prep worksheets. I love using these throughout the month during center time, independent work, and I even assign them as homework.  

The best part of this whole resource is the final craft, though! If you've been here a while, you already know how much I love using crafts in the classroom, especially when they tie into our learning. This nouns and verbs craft allows students to create their own cute fox collecting leaves with verbs and nouns on them. Students will sort words by category and glue them to the correct basket. These make a lovely festive display for the hallway during October! 

2. Place Value Activities for October 

My next October teaching idea is one that we practice all year long. Place value is an extremely important first-grade math standard that helps students master more complex skills in the future. In October, we're diving into tens and ones in a variety of fun formats to help this concept stick! 

One of the ways we target place value is through our daily number sense activities. These printable pages for month 2 (October) are perfect for helping your students work with numbers 20-50, practice sequencing numbers, work with expanded form, skip counting, and more. We use these activities daily with base ten blocks to help students become place value wizards! 

Using place value activities like these in your October teaching ideas means your students will get essential first grade math standards practice every day.

Aside from the daily worksheets, hands-on center activities are also included in this resource that target expanded form, ordering numbers, and comparing numbers. I use these activities in small groups to facilitate teaching these topics towards the beginning of the month and then reuse them during centers for even more practice throughout the month. 

Speaking of centers, I also like to use these pumpkin-themed Boom Cards during October to target place value skills in a fun way. These cards are interactive, no-prep, self-correcting, and provide instant feedback to students! They're a great way to add even more practice to your center time without adding more prep to your load. Plus, they make a fantastic digital homework option too! 

3. Introduction to Map Skills 

Teaching map skills is one of my all-time favorite social studies lessons all year long. Learning the purpose of maps and how they're used is also a student favorite! Our maps unit covers a lot, including definitions of important terms such as the compass rose and cardinal directions. Students also learn how to locate items on a map, how to use map keys, and the difference between a map and a globe. 

This resource uses a combination of activities to teach these skills, including a mini book, various worksheets, and a few hands-on learning activities. The students even get a chance to build a 3D map of a town. We round out the lessons with a lapbook filled with exciting map information. If you want to make social studies more fun and relatable for students, hands-on learning activities like these are always a winner!

Map skills are always a hit, but including them in your October teaching ideas means your students will get even more fun and engaging map skills practice during your social studies time.

Depending on when we do this lesson in October, I also plan to include a fun pirate-themed map skills activity. This version of our map skills lessons focuses on the core skills we learned in our introduction to maps but with a pirate-themed twist that my students love!

Typically, I feature the introduction to map skills towards the beginning of the month, and then towards the end - we revisit it with the pirate-themed activities. This is such a fun way to continue working with maps in a fresh, new format. Not to mention, it's great for using the week of Halloween. I love having students dress up as pirates the day we're working on this activity or simply providing some paper eyepatches for an extra touch of fun!

4. October Math Center Activities 

I'm a big fan of variety when it comes to center time. As a long-time first-grade teacher, I've had the opportunity to prep many different center activities over the years. I have a nice little stockpile of games and activities for each month. This comes in handy now since I prepped them years ago, and they're still in rotation! If you're a newer teacher, don't fret! Soon, you'll also have a cabinet full of fun center activities for every month too. By simply adding a few each year, you'll be in good shape!

During October, these math activities are always a student favorite. Pumpkins are a fun topic for students, so I always use this to my advantage with pumpkin-themed games! These activities focus on numbers up to 20 using tens frames, objects, and tens and ones. 

October teaching ideas wouldn't be complete without a fun math center activitiy like this one which will help your students target practicing counting by tens and ones.

Students will work on partner games like "Pumpkin Race to 20," which targets tens and ones, and "Seed Count," which focuses on subitizing with tens frames and more. Prep these once, and use them year after year to support your students in math! 

5. Halloween Sight Words Card Game 

If you're like most teachers in the primary classroom, you're probably looking for fun ways to engage your students in sight word practice. Mastering sight words is essential for building confident readers, but memorizing them isn't always the most exciting activity, right? Try switching things up with a fun, Halloween-themed card game this year! 

This game focuses on 50 different common sight words. To begin, add all the sight word cards to a bucket or bin.  I like to use a pumpkin trick-or-treat bucket for an extra dose of Halloween fun! To play, students will take turns drawing a card from the bucket and saying the word on their card. If they answer correctly, they keep their card. If they answer incorrectly, they place it back in the bucket. 

Use a fun Halloween sight words card game in your October teaching ideas to keep the learning going during your Halloween party this year.

This continues until all of the cards are drawn. There are also "Treat" cards that allow students to take a second turn and "Boo" cards that ask students to return their collected cards. This game is so much fun during October and a great way to practice sight words. Try it as an afternoon activity on Fun Friday or with small groups!

6. Fall Fact Families 

Next up on my list of October teaching ideas includes a fun new way to focus on fact families. Just as we do with sight words, we spend a lot of time working on addition and subtraction facts in first grade. I like to frequently switch up my teaching methods for this topic to keep things fun. 

One of my favorite ways to practice related facts is with this Fall Fact Families resource. It's packed with fun and engaging worksheets like color-by-code and mystery puzzles. The best part of this whole resource is the fall craft. Students will create their own oak tree, complete with acorns that list fact families for sets of numbers. 

Your students will love practicing fall fact families when you include this adorable squirrel themed resource in your October teaching ideas.

I love this resource because it's low-prep, but the pages are different from your average math facts drill page. Each worksheet has a twist that engages my firsties and keeps their attention as we practice this skill. Plus, the craft also makes an adorable bulletin board display that can stay up during November! 

7. Spooky Halloween Sentence Writing

Are you looking for a fun way to engage your students in learning about proper sentence structure? If so, I've got the perfect activity. These Halloween Scrambled Sentences are always a huge hit in the classroom! With the fun, spooky Halloween theme, students will be thrilled to participate. 

To use, your students will cut and paste the words to create a grammatically correct sentence. The sentences say fun things like, "The scary house had bats." The sentences focus on identifying the proper order of the words and allow students to choose an adjective to make it their own. Two options are included to make this activity a bit trickier as the month progresses. 

Use this spooky Halloween sentence writing activity to wrap up your October teaching ideas and as a fun learning game during your Halloween party.

Also included are word cards and a sentence-building pocket chart game. This is great for introducing this activity to your whole group and sending them to complete their writing page. After they unscramble their sentence, a directed drawing activity is included on each page. I love to display these writing pages on a bulletin board in October!

More October Teaching Ideas 

Hopefully, these October teaching ideas provided some inspiration to get you started. October is a fun month for planning, with so many great options to include! You can find all these activities in my TpT Shop and even more Halloween-themed activities that your students will love. Wishing you all the best this month, teacher-friend! 

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Looking for fun fall themed lesson ideas for your October teaching plans? These resources include everything you need for a fun fall themed learning adventure this October. From math and ELA to Social Studies, these October teaching ideas will keep your kiddos busy and learning in a super fun way they will love. #thechocolateteacher #octoberteachingideas #falllessonsforfirstgrade #octoberlessonsforfirstgrade #halloweenactivitiesforfirstgrade

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