January Lesson Plan Ideas for First Grade

Once the holiday season has come and gone, it's time to start thinking about January lesson plan ideas! I know that coming back from holiday break can be hard, but having plans in place that will get your kiddos back in the swing of things makes it much easier. Come along to see some of my favorite January activities for first grade!

Use these January lesson plan ideas for first grade for fun and exciting lessons covering key math and ELA concepts you have been studying so far this year.

Getting Back to Routine After Break

Ahhh winter break. It's so great to have a break to enjoy the holidays, but there are usually some extra things to work on when you get back, right? After being out of school for two weeks, your students will likely need a little refresher on things like classroom procedures as well as the material you've been covering. 

This is completely normal, and in fact - it should be expected! I like to approach every January with this in mind. After all, coming back to the classroom knowing that you'll need to start slow and ease in as you did at the beginning of the year is a good way to prepare yourself with realistic expectations. 

Use Strategic Lesson Planning in January 

Let's talk about lesson plans for January. Speaking from experience, the last thing you want to do is jump right into a complicated new lesson or try and revisit a confusing concept that you left off on before the holidays. Instead, I like to be super strategic with my January lesson plan. 

Use a spiral review in your January lesson plan ideas to help students get back in the groove and review important skills they have learned during the first half of the year.

For the first few days, I use a spiral review of familiar concepts, add plenty of fun learning games, and choose low-prep activities to save my own sanity. This combo will not only help your students get back in the groove, but it will help you too! It takes us teachers a few days to get used to those morning alarm clocks again and dive back into daily life. 

Once you've decided on your go-to activities for the first few days back at school, you can gradually add in some new activities and lessons for January. I've found that spending a few days reviewing is a great way to painlessly fall back into the groove. If you need some recommendations to make your transition back to regular classroom routines a little easier, I have some great ideas for you! 

Winter Math Mystery Puzzles 

Once we're back at school after the holiday break, these Winter Math Mystery Puzzles are one of the first things I break out. My students love mystery puzzles and they're a great way to ease back in after we've been out of the classroom for a couple of weeks. 

These mystery puzzles focus on many different common first-grade math concepts so there are plenty of options to meet a variety of skill levels. You can choose pages that target 2D shapes, telling time to the hour, adding and subtracting within 20, place value, and more! 

Mystery puzzles like these are a great addition to your January lesson plan ideas because they give your students a fun way to practice common first grade math concepts.

These puzzles are also super low-prep and easy to use too, which I always appreciate after winter break. Each puzzle and all of the pieces are included on a single page. Students will cut out the pieces, solve the problem, and match them up to the correct spaces. The puzzles are self-correcting as well. If students have answered incorrectly, the puzzle will be mixed up, so they can try again. These are great morning warm-up activities on your first few days back in the classroom. 

Winter Math Boom Cards 

Next on my list of fun activities to include in your January lesson plan are some fun digital games that your students will love. These winter math boom cards are great for the first few days since students tend to view them more as a game than a lesson. You'll be able to refresh their memory on important concepts, while also keeping their interest in the assignment! 

Boom Cards like these are great for your January lesson plan ideas because they give your students a fun, interactive way to practice math skills during center time.

This bundle covers everything from addition and subtraction to fact families to place value. They're great for center time, independent learning, and for those fast-finishers in your group. Not to mention, these activities are completely no-prep, self-correcting, and provide immediate student feedback so they can see if they answered correctly each time. 

Past, Present, and Future Timelines 

Another thing that I always include in my January lesson plan is my unit all about student timelines. This is one of my favorite social studies units to use in first grade and students always really enjoy it too! This unit is focused on using timelines to look back on the past, consider the present, and try to imagine what the future will be like. Students love this activity and it's a great way to refocus after the break. 

This unit includes a mini-reader that's perfect for small group teaching as well as worksheets, writing pages, a timeline activity, and a fun craft. The mini-book and worksheets help set the stage for the main event- the student timelines! The preliminary activities focus on defining timelines and helping students understand the concepts of past, present, and future. 

Before we start, I send out a parent letter that asks families to help assist students in compiling a list of events to include in their student timeline. Some of the ideas I suggest include date of birth, learning to crawl, losing a tooth, going to school, and more. It's great to involve families in this and reflect together on important events. 

Use a fun timeline activity like this in your January lesson plan ideas to get students thinking about the concepts of past, present, and future.

Once we have all the forms returned, we work on creating timelines together as a group. Students will start with the day they were born and gradually add events that have occurred in their lives that are meaningful and important to them. Students can draw pictures of these events or bring in photos to glue to their timelines. I model this for the group with my own birthday and a quick illustration. Then, I ask students to fill in theirs and wait until everyone has finished. 

We repeat this process and add events in chronological order. These are so much fun to look at when everyone is finished. If you have time, consider allowing each student to stand up and present their timeline to the class. Then, hang them in the hallway for others to look at! 

January Phonics Lessons 

In January, our phonics lessons are focused on learning hard and soft c and g sounds. This is a tricky concept, but I find it to be a fun one to work on little by little throughout the month of January. As students return from winter break, these activities offer just the right amount of challenge to grab their interest and keep them engaged during small groups. 

Enhance your phonics lessons with hard and soft c and g sounds activities like these perfect for your January lesson plan ideas.

We start out with visual posters and coloring pages to help define these terms and then use a word-sorting activity. The word sort is fun to play as a group and then used again as a partner activity during center time. The sorting game comes with 3 recording sheet options as well, so you can use it a few times as your students get the hang of this new concept. 

Finally, we wrap up this lesson with plenty of no-prep practice worksheets to continue practicing this skill. There are 22 different pages included, so there are plenty to choose from throughout the month. I like to use these for independent learning, center time, and homework. 

No Prep Phonics Practice Pages 

Speaking of phonics lessons for January, I also always include some no-prep activity pages to help review important concepts. My students love these winter phonics color-by-code worksheets, making them a no-brainer for our January lesson plan! 

No prep phonics color by code worksheets like these are a great addition to your January lesson plan ideas and give your students some extra time to be creative while practicing key skills.

These pages review a variety of important phonics skills such as digraphs, trigraphs, silent e words, and even hard and soft c and g! These are easy to differentiate since there are lots of options, and since they're no-prep they won't take any extra time to prepare. I love to use these worksheets throughout the month for instant phonics centers, morning work, fast-finisher assignments, and even homework.  

Winter Write the Room 

I don't know about you, but my students usually need some opportunities to get up and moving after that long holiday break. I'm a big fan of write the room for this reason! It allows students to move around the room, while still working on some important skills and concepts. 

In January, we use this Winter Math Write the Room resource that helps students practice adding three numbers together. My kiddos love the fun snowman theme on these cards and I love being able to give them a simple and fun activity to practice this math skill. 

Get your students up and moving as you plan your January lesson plans with winter write the room activities like these.

Each card shows 3 snowmen with buttons to visually illustrate the numbers that students will add together. There are 4 different recording sheets to vary this activity by skill level as well as a bonus cut-and-paste activity for follow-up. We often use this for a traditional write-the-room activity, but it's also lots of fun when played as a scoot game or used as a center activity too! 

Adjective Activities for January 

Last but not least, I have a fun grammar activity to add to your January lesson plans. Its great for mid-late January after your students are back in the groove and ready for some new material!

This resource focuses on comparative and superlative adjectives using the suffixes -er and -est. We start out this lesson as a group using posters that define each term and how the words change when you add suffixes. The posters come in color and black and white versions. I like to use the color posters on the board and have students color in their own version to follow along. 

Practice suffixes with these fun worksheets and activities to include in your January lesson plan ideas.

After this, we work on word sorting activities and practice worksheets on this topic. I like to use the sorting activity in my small groups and then send students off to practice independently. We finish up this unit with an activity that asks students to fix incorrectly written sentences. These activities are engaging and fun for students, making them a great choice for January! 

Get Started with January Lesson Planning

I hope you found something inspiring in this January round-up! These are some of my all-time favorite activities to use in January to keep everyone on track and ease back into our daily routine. As long as you're intentional about the activities you include in your own plan, I know you'll have nothing to fear after the holiday break! 

You can find all of these activities along with plenty more in my TPT shop! Take a peek if you're looking for even more low-prep, engaging resources to add to your month. 

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Looking for meaningful lessons to teach during the month of January? Use these low and no prep resources in your January lesson plan ideas for first grade to help your students review key concepts and skills they have been learning during the first half of the school year. #thechocolateteacher #januarylessonplanideas #januarylessonplanideasforfirstgrade

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