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Back to School Cut and Paste Activities for First Grade

Cut and paste activities are the perfect back to school activity for first grade (or any K-2 grade, really)!

Cut and paste activities allow you to set clear expectations for your students during their independent work time or stations and even get acquainted with their new classroom by learning where to get extra supplies, such as glue, or where to turn in papers when they are done!

Even more, what seems to be a simple back to school activity, can offer so many more benefits that you don't even realize! 

Keep reading to find out: 

-why you should use cut and paste activities as a first grade teacher

-how to effectively teach your students to complete cut and paste in a way that makes them independent learners

– my favorite cut and paste activities that I use in my own first grade classroom

Why should you use cut and paste activities in your first grade classroom?

There are three main ways that I like to use cut and paste activities for in my first grade classroom…

  • Guided Practice

I always like to walk my students through A LOT of guided practice when it comes to cut and paste activities at the beginning of the year!

We got step by step on what I expect… clean lines, no leftover paper hanging off, no excess glue and scraps in the trash. It is well worth it to establish your expectations EARLY!

  • Morning Work

Cut and paste activities are great to set out each morning for your students to do when they come into the classroom.

If you choose this option, be sure the academic skills on your cut and paste activity in the pack are review skills that can be used as a “warm up”. 

  • Station Work

Once students become more independent at cut and paste activities, they are a GREAT resource to use as station work.

It’s a great way to fit in those social studies and science topics that you might not get to during your regular (and busy) schedule!

What are the benefits of cut and paste activities?

Using scissors and glue in educational settings can offer several benefits for students. Here are some of the key advantages:

  1. Fine motor skills development: Cutting with scissors and manipulating glue require precise hand-eye coordination and control. 
  2. Spatial awareness: Students learn to understand and manipulate objects in relation to one another, improving their spatial reasoning abilities.
  3. Cognitive development: Engaging in cutting and gluing exercises can support cognitive development. Students learn to plan and execute their ideas, follow instructions, solve problems, and make decisions.
  4. Attention and focus: Working with scissors and glue can help improve students' attention span and focus. These activities require concentration and sustained effort, contributing to the development of concentration skills. 

How do you teach first grade students to complete cut and paste activities?

Cut and paste worksheets can be a fun and interactive way to engage students in the classroom.

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to effectively use cut and paste worksheets:

  • Choose appropriate worksheets: Select worksheets that align with the learning objectives and curriculum of your students. Ensure that the content is suitable for the grade level and provides meaningful learning opportunities.
  • Gather necessary materials: Besides the worksheets, you'll need scissors, glue sticks, and a sufficient number of copies for each student. Make sure the materials are easily accessible to all students.
  • Introduce the activity: Begin by explaining the purpose of the activity and the learning outcomes. Present any instructions or guidelines, emphasizing the importance of careful cutting and accurate placement.
  • Demonstrate the process: Show the students an example of how to complete the cut and paste activity. Highlight important steps, such as cutting along the lines, avoiding cutting off any essential information, and applying glue neatly.
  • Provide guidance: Before allowing students to work independently, offer guidance and clarification. Address any questions or concerns they may have and remind them to ask for help if needed.
  • Monitor progress: Circulate around the classroom as students work on their worksheets. Observe their progress, provide feedback, and ensure they are following the instructions correctly.
  • Encourage creativity: Although cut and paste worksheets typically involve specific placements, encourage students to express their creativity. They can add personal touches, such as drawing, coloring, or labeling, as long as it doesn't compromise the learning objectives.
  • Review and discuss: Once students have completed the worksheets, have them share their work with the class. Discuss the concepts covered and encourage students to explain their choices and reasoning. This promotes engagement and helps reinforce learning.
  • Reflect on the activity: After the cut and paste activity, take a moment to reflect on its effectiveness. Consider whether the objectives were met, if the activity engaged students effectively, and if any adjustments are needed for future implementation.

Remember, cut and paste worksheets can be used for various subjects, including language arts, math, science, and social studies. They can be adapted to suit different learning styles and abilities. The goal is to make the activity enjoyable while reinforcing the desired knowledge or skills.

A quick tip for cut and paste activities

When I'm starting out the school year with cut and paste activities, I LOVE to use a highlighter. 

A highlighter provides a great visual reminder of where I want students to cut. 

I'll warn you. You have to go SLOW. 

I have each of my students take out their scissors, glue and their highlighter.

All other school supplies go back in their desk. 

Then we use our highlighters to mark the first cut.

(Hint: Teach your students to cut off the main pieces first, leaving no extra “scraps” behind.)

We go cut by cut, marking it first with a highlighter and then cutting with our scissors. 

It is SO important for you teach your first grade students to cut off ALL of the pieces at one time. This will keep your students from cutting the pieces off one at a time and making a huge mess! 

My Favorite Back to School Cut and Paste Activities for First Grade

I created the following back to school cut and paste activities to use in my own first grade classroom for the first 25 days of school!

25 days of cut and paste activities to be used for…

  • Guided Practice
  • Morning Work
  • Station Work

Not to mention…

Handwriting practice on EVERY page!

Assign pages individually, or staple them and make a booklet! Just be sure to teach students how to not cut into the other pages!

Students will love the hands-on engagement that cut and paste activities allow while unknowingly practicing their fine motor skills!


Because most of these activities can be done independently, you can put them in your reading  station or have students complete them for morning work.


Because of the independent nature of the activities (not to mention, they take up a little time), cut and pastes are the perfect activity to leave for a substitute!

Cut and paste activities are the perfect back to school activity!

This activity pack includes 25 days of cut and paste activities perfect for back to school!

More Back to School Favorites

Cut and Paste Activities - Kristen Sullins Teaching

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Kristen Sullins

Kristen Sullins

I am a current Elementary Librarian and
Enrichment Teacher, mother of two, follower of Christ and Texas native. In my own classroom, I love to save time by finding unique ways to integrate writing, social studies and science into all parts of my day. I also love all things organization!