1st Grade Common Core and a Free Tool to Improve Your Student’s Writing!

1st Grade common core standards

Hey everyone, I’ve got a freebie for you all to use with your kids, but first let me explain.

If there is one thing I am learning from writing this blog, it is that there is a ton of Common Core State Standards for each and every single grade. None of them are more blatantly, in your face, related to occupational therapy as is CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.1.1.A – “Print all upper- and lowercase letters.” This standard screams occupational therapy to any 1st grade teacher who 1) knows what OT is, and 2) sees a child continuously squishing their letters/words together or forming all lowercase and capital letters the same size with no regard for the base, mid, and top line.

For me, these 2 concerns have got to be up there in the top-5 reasons for a referral, along with sensory worries (more on that in an upcoming blog). While it may be a first grade standard, a referral to OT almost always stems from a child being unable to meet CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.1.1.A. Well today, I Just want to provide you all with a support tool. This is one I keep handy at all times and hand out to special education teachers and general education teachers alike. It’s nothing special, but it helps kids with sizing, spacing, and placing their letters on the line. The best part about it, is that you can make as many copies as you’d like.

I call it Gray-space paper and I recently created several versions that can be used from pre-K up to about 3rd grade if we are talking about typically developing kids. You likely have seen paper that use aspects of this paper, but when I couldn’t find paper that had both aspects of the paper kids seemed to respond to, I create this paper.

So anyways, I want you to have it. Just click anywhere on this paragraph to sign up. Simply leave your info and you will soon receive an email with the Gray-space paper attached.

And if for some reason you do not want the paper for free, but still want it… You can purchase it for $1.99 at teacherpayteachers.com. You may also want to take a look at the Hi-write paper down at the bottom of the page. This is also a commonly used adapted paper.

Thank you again. I hope this resource is able to help at least one of your kids and maybe even an entire 1st grade class.


Hi-Write paper (Picture is a Link to Amazon)


Paint Writing

Paint Writing


paint bag


Hello again,

I just wanted to share this quick, easy, – and most importantly – fun activity. It can be used to work on many of the skills required for pre-writing and writing skills. Some of the many skills include: following individual or multiple steps, finger isolation, pincer grasp, functional pencil grasp if using a Q-tip as a stylus or a dry erase marker, and shape and letter formation sizing, and placement.

I used this activity with a general education first grade classroom to work on following multiple step directions and then we focused on our letter formation, sizing, and linear placement. Both the teacher and the kids loved drawing shapes, forming letters and spelling words.

Possibly the best aspects of this activity are how easy it is to create and that the paint bags are reusable. To create this project, all that is needed is some acrylic paint, sandwich bags, masking tape, and a sharpie if you plan to sketch some lines on the bag for writing. A q-tip or dry erase marker can also be used by the children to make indentations or draw on the bag.

Some additional tips:

Be sure to use ample paint and try to get all of the air out before sealing the bag. Then there is air, the drawings/letter do not come out as sharp.

Black and white paint aren’t as fun. And they just don’t show up as well. Blue and green seemed to yield the best results.

If sealed tightly, the paint will not dry up for a few days. The teacher I worked with has used them several times to practice spelling words with the class. They still enjoy it.

Well that is it for this post. Let me know what you think about this idea or how you would adapt it for your kids. If you have seen something like this before or used this activity, share your experiences or even pictures. Any questions are also welcome.

Thank you for taking the time to learn about a new activity. If you appreciate this text and wish to view more when available, please subscribe HERE to my email list. As a thank you, I’ll send you a free printable adapted paper you can read more about HERE