Analyzing Primary Sources: Grade 1 Writing Prompts & Activities

Clifford Shorts' children playing
Primary source images are great resources for integrating language arts with social studies. The activities below were designed around the grade 1 Common Core State Standards for writing. These first-grade writing prompts and activity ideas build on the kindergarten writing prompts and activities.

Text Types and Purposes
Grade 1 Writing StandardsWriting Prompts / Activity Ideas
1. Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or name the book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion, and provide some sense of closure.
  • Give this picture a title and describe why you chose that title. Do you like this picture? Why or why not?
  • What story does this picture tell? Would you give the story a thumbs up or a thumbs down? Why?
  • What question do you have about this picture? How might you find an answer to your question?
2. Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.
  • What is this topic or story that this picture tells?
  • List the different shapes you see.
  • How many people do you see?
  • Circle all of the people with _______.
  • List all of the objects that start with the letter “___”.
  • Circle all of the people/objects with/that are _______.
3. Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure.
  • What do you think the people in this picture could be saying?
  • What do you think the objects in this picture could be thinking?
  • If you could talk to someone/something in this picture, what would you say?
  • What might have happened before this picture was taken? Why do you think so?
  • What might happen next in this picture? Why do you think so?
  • In this picture, what if ___________?
Production and Distribution of Writing
4. (begins in grade 3)N/A
5. With guidance and support from adults, focus on a topic, respond to questions and suggestions from peers, and add details to strengthen writing as needed.Provide students with feedback (teacher or peer) on one of the prompts.
6. With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.Publish images and student responses on a blog or using slide presentation software.
Research to Build and Present Knowledge
7. Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., explore a number of “how-to” books on a given topic and use them to write a sequence of instructions).In pairs or in a group, have students use an historical map and write out step-by-step directions to get from one point on a map to another.
8. With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
  • Ask students to describe how a picture relates to their own lives.
  • Ask students to describe how a picture relates to a theme or unit that you teach.
9. (begins in grade 4)N/A
Range of Writing
10. (begins in grade 3)N/A

Kindergarten Writing Prompts & Activities

Grade 2 Writing Prompts & Activities

Grade 3 Writing Prompts & Activities

Grade 4 Writing Prompts & Activities

Grade 5 Writing Prompts & Activities

More Standards-based primary source activities