6 Low-Prep November Activities for First Grade

November is such a busy month that if you blink, you might just miss it! If you’re a teacher in the primary classroom, I’m willing to bet you know exactly what I mean. This shorter-than-usual month in the classroom can be tricky to structure when it comes to lesson planning. Luckily, I’ve got a solution for you! It’s time to lean into meaningful, low-prep resources to make the most of your time. Come along to check out my favorite November activities. They are ready to teach in minutes AND make a big impact on learning!

Use these 6 low prep November activities in your first grade classroom this year for fun learning all month long.

Use Strategic Planning For Your November Activities

November has always been one of those months that requires a specialized approach when it comes to planning. It’s important to be very strategic about what to include in the lesson plan for November. With Thanksgiving break soaking up the end of the month, it’s a good idea to make sure you are touching on important standards and making the most of limited class time in the early weeks.

Strategically planning your November activities to include low or no prep activities will help keep your students excited about learning but keep you calm and cool during the busy month of November.

When planning, another key thing to keep in mind is the amount of prep time needed for your activities. I know that the lure of cutesy holiday activities can be strong this time of year! It’s easy to feel like you “need” to add a ton to your plate. You don’t!

Those “Pinterest-perfect” classrooms can make anyone feel compelled to get crazy with holiday activities. But don’t forget, you still have your standards to teach.

Balancing Holiday Fun with Learning

Trust me, I get the “pressure” to do it all, but in the long run, this usually results in high stress levels and chaotic days in the classroom. Add that to the stress of the holidays at home and it is just too much! Instead of overfilling your plans with all.the.things, try to choose just a couple of favorites. By picking one or two engaging holiday crafts or special activities to include in your lesson plan, you can rest easy knowing your students will get to enjoy some holiday fun while also prioritizing your sanity. I promise you’ll enjoy it SO much more if you keep it simple and stick to your favorites only.

Lean Into Low-Prep Thematic Resources

If the idea of only including a few special holiday activities makes you feel like you won’t be adding enough seasonal sparkle to your lessons, I’ve got the perfect solution for you.

Use thematic resources to keep your November activities full of exciting learning that feels more game like for your students which will enhance engagement throughout the entire month.

Over the years, I found the best way to embrace some holiday fun while also meeting academic requirements was to choose themed activities that aligned with the standards.

By intentionally choosing thematic morning work pages, holiday center games, and seasonal study topics, you’ll be able to sprinkle a bit of themed fun through each day without having to find a way to “fit” learning into holiday activities. I love using this method all year long because it also helps keep our lessons feeling fresh and exciting as well!

If you’re getting ready to plan your November activities, take a peek at my top 6 low-prep resources for the month. These activities are designed to help celebrate Veterans Day and Thanksgiving while also making sure to focus on important first-grade skills and concepts to streamline your planning.

1. November Morning Work Activities

Busy times of the year were always when our classroom needed consistency and routine the most. As teachers, we know that our students thrive when they know classroom expectations. One of my favorite ways to help promote this is with a daily morning routine. Doing the same thing every single morning helps calm the chaos and start the day off on the right foot.

A huge part of a successful morning routine is meaningful morning work. In my classroom, students always knew to get started on their morning work pages as soon as they put away their things and got settled. It’s such a nice way to begin the day and ease into learning as a group. When choosing morning work for my students, my criteria included the following:

  • content should include a spiral review of math and ELA
  • must use a familiar daily layout to help promote independence
  • must be engaging for students and include thematic activities
  • digital options are a bonus

I never found morning work pages that aligned with my personal criteria, so I made my own set of first-grade morning work for the whole year.

Each month focuses on math and ELA skills that are typically taught in first grade that time of year. The pages are simple and easy for firsties to complete on their own. The thematic questions add an extra sprinkle of seasonal and holiday fun that keeps kids engaged!

November Morning Work Topics

Our November activities include math questions, vocabulary, and writing with topics like turkeys, the Mayflower, and Thanksgiving. The no-prep pages also include thematic clipart that kiddos love to color afterward as well. And as a final bonus, these morning work pages even include a digital option. You can assign the morning work digitally or project the digital page up on the board to correct with the whole group after everyone finishes. These also work well as homework assignments for students who are absent.

2. Fall Place Value Games

If you teach first grade, you already know that place value is a topic you work on all year long. This basic math concept is something young students need plenty of practice with. Since we spent a fair bit of time practicing place value, I was always looking for new, engaging ways to make it more fun.

Over the years, these Fall Place Value Games were a real student favorite. These activities provide fun, hands-on place value practice with tens and ones to 99 with a variety of different games. Students will love playing place value games using spinners, dice, dominoes, and base ten blocks to represent numbers. These activities are great for math centers, partner games, and even small group intervention activities!

This resource also includes a variety of no-prep worksheets and a mini-assessment to help save you time. Play the games in class and assign the worksheets as homework for follow-up! Also included in this set, is an “anytime” version of all the activities so you’ll be able to continue using these place value games well beyond the fall months.

3. Veterans Day Centers

If you’re looking for a meaningful way to teach your students about Veterans Day, you will love these Veterans Day Activities and Centers! This resource pack focuses on teaching about Veterans Day in an age-appropriate manner through social studies, math, and ELA activities. Included in this resource you’ll find a wide variety of activities including:

  • reference poster
  • vocabulary cards
  • differentiated mini books
  • comprehension questions
  • word searches
  • graphing activities
  • Google Slides options and more!

These activities will make planning a few days of Veterans Day lessons fun and simple. Use the mini readers and comprehension in small groups and assign the games and worksheets to students during center time for follow-up. This is a great way to bring your social studies lessons together with your math and ELA and make the most of limited class time.

4. November BINGO Games

Looking for a thematic game to add to your November activities? BINGO to the rescue! When I was still in the classroom, we used BINGO games all the time during small groups, on Fun Fridays, and even as a party game. I love choosing seasonal BINGO games like this fall set or this Thanksgiving set to learn new vocabulary words. No matter what your day has been like, playing BINGO with your students is a surefire way to end on a happy note. Kiddos love searching their boards for thematic words like Mayflower, turkey, and pumpkin pie!

Both of these resources come with 30 cards in two versions, color and black and white. One of my best tips is to prep your color BINGO cards at the beginning of the month. Print and laminate them for durability and then store them in a tub. I like to keep seasonal erasers to use as BINGO markers in the tub too. This way, you can pull them out at a moment’s notice and use them with your whole group again and again all month long!

The black and white versions of these cards also make a great addition to your November activities if you’d like to have students use BINGO dauber markers. I loved using these during class parties or if we had a parent volunteer in the classroom to manage small groups. These also come in really handy if you’re putting together an emergency sub tub too!

Connecting BINGO to the Standards

And don’t worry. . . these aren’t just for fun and games. In a month where we have to make every activity count, I loved combining these with writing. After we played a game, students would choose any of the ways to make bingo on the card (vertical, horizontal, or diagonal). Then they would use those 5 vocabulary words in a writing activity. Sometimes we would sentences and other times a story. For a real challenge, send your students off to write a fall story using all 25 words on the board! It makes for some fun and often silly stories.

5. November No-Prep Printables

No prep printables are a must when it comes to planning November activities. This extra busy and shorter-than-usual month calls for quick and easy activities! This doesn’t mean fluff though. The last thing I want to do is fill our lessons with printables that aren’t quite hitting the mark when it comes to mastering important skills.

Instead, choose meaningful printables that use a spiral review of math and ELA concepts typically worked on in November. As a busy teacher, you’ll love that these require minimal effort to use and are filled with essential math and literacy concepts that your students need practice with.

Some of the things students will focus on in November include:

  • Gobble, Gobble Counting: Two differentiated versions of a 100 chart are included for students to count and write numbers to 100.
  • Turkey Take Away: Students cut and glue subtraction facts into groups according to differences. Differences 1-6 are included in this activity.
  • Where’s the Turkey: This is a cut-and-paste page that focuses on using prepositions.
  • Making Words: Students cut apart the letters in the word Thanksgiving. They move the letters around to make new words. Students write the words in categories on their paper.

Many of the activities use a Thanksgiving theme. This makes them a super-engaging way to practice important math and literacy skills throughout November. In addition to some skills practice, these pages can also be used for fast-finishers, homework assignments, or any time you find yourself with a few extra minutes to fill!

6. Fall Color by Code Pages

Last on my list of fun November activities is another no-prep hero – color by code worksheets! These come in super handy if you’re looking for a few more activities to add to your lessons that won’t take time to prepare. All you need to do is select the pages you’d like to use, print, and go! They’re great for whole class skills practice, morning work, centers, homework, and fast-finisher activities.

I love using color-by-code activities to master math facts. Students are much more engaged with this activity than they would be with math flashcards or a worksheet filled with math problems. With fun holiday and seasonal pictures to reveal, students will actually be excited to work on their math facts! The pages we use in November include:

Another great thing about these worksheets is that they’re flexible and incredibly easy to differentiate. Simply assign the pages by skill level to ensure each child is working at the pace that’s perfect for them. If you want to give these a try in your classroom, grab a free sample of the Veterans Day pack here. Test them out for yourself and see how they work with your students!

Have Fun Planning Your Own November Activities

Hopefully, these November activities helped inspire your planning session! Try to remember that low prep is the name of the game when it comes to balancing your time and making the most of your days in the classroom. Choosing thematic activities that come together quickly and easily will help add holiday flair without hours of prep work during this busy month.

You can check out all of these activities and plenty more in the Fun Times in First Shop on TPT! Have fun planning and enjoy your month, teacher-friend!

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