Monday, February 28

Leprechaun Homophone Concentration

Dear February,
So this is it, huh?? You're leaving and I wasn't even done with you yet. Goodbye teeth.... Goodbye presidents.... Goodbye February To-Do list, and.....

HELLO MARCH!!!!!!  SPRING BREAK, above-freezing temperatures, meeting the National Teacher of the Year, starting our Frog Unit, beginning First Grade Anthologies, and did I mention, NO SNOW?!?!?!?!? 

Y'all, I don't know if anyone else is feeling this way, but I am MORE than happy to watch February sail off into the old blue yonder. Bring on the SPRING!

Speaking of Spring, need a Leprechaun-themed homophone concentration game???? Well, guess what you lucky duck?!!?!? I made one. HA!!!!! (No one actually thinks to themself- "Hmmmm... I really need a leprechaun-themed homophone concentration game..." except me.  What. A. Dork.)  Anyway, there's also a Show What You Know quiz to check your kiddos' understanding of Homophones after they play the game. 

Have a MARVELOUS Monday and happy almost-Spring!
Mrs. Theissen

Leprechaun homophone concentration
(Click any picture preview to download the entire file)

Leprechaun homophone show what you know quiz
(Click the picture preview to download the file)

Saturday, February 26

Reading Centers

So, this week I was standing around scratching my head thinking, "Golly, what on earth am I going to do for literacy centers next week?"  And, of course I'm thinking this as I'm surrounded by PILES of stuff I've accumulated but never seem to use.  So, I got to thinking: Why don't I use all of my extra stuff to make reading centers? Two birds, one stone, right?

I can't say that what I came up with is too terribly brilliant, but I thought I'd share a couple of activities anyways just in case you're knee-high in extra supplies too!!!!! 

Unifix Cube Compound Word Building

Here's how it works: Program unifix cubes with compound words. Write each smaller word in the compound word on a different color of unifix cube. 

Then, put the cubes for each compound word into a baggie.

Whenever you use the center, kiddos just come and grab a baggie of cubes and build a compound word. By having each smaller word in the compound written on a different color of cube, kiddos can figure out the compound word without being overwhelmed.  It also helps them break the compound word down into its two components.  Here are some example words written on the cubes.

Finally, you can have your kiddos write the words they build on this recording sheet in a word sentence.
I'll be doing compound words with my higher kids. For my lower kiddos, I'll just throw a bunch of letter cubes for a certain sight word into a baggie, and they'll have to unscramble the letters in the baggie to build a sight word. Then, they'll have to write the sight word on a recording sheet and use it in a sentence.

Pattern Block Vocabulary

This center is SUPER SIMPLE. And, who doesn't need a little bit of simplicity in their life?

So, to make it just get some pattern block picture templates (I got mine from my FABULOUS and LOVELY co-teacher Mrs. Enge).  Then, write vocabulary words or sight words you want kiddos to practice on each shape blank.

This center is designed as a game to be played in pairs. To play, students grab a pattern board and a tub of pattern blocks. Then, they take turns trying to cover up all of the spaces on their pattern picture with blocks. To cover a space, a student has to say the word on the space AND use it in a sentence correctly. If they can do those two things, they can cover the space.

The first kiddo to cover their entire picture wins.

Oh, and did I mention how excited I am that it is THE WEEKEND?!?!?!? WHOOOOO!  Can you say Pajama, Bible and Star Trek marathon?  FAB-U-LOUS. I am so excited.

Have a WONDERFUL weekend!!!!
Mrs. Thiessen

Monday, February 21

Reading Comprehension Printable Sort

Well, I am very pleased to announce that there are only 14 days of school left until Spring Break.  But, who’s counting?!?!? HA!!!! I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but the BEAUTIFUL weather we’ve been having is definitely putting me in the mood for a break.  Bring on the above freezing temperatures, please!!!! 

So, did anyone else watch the season premiere of the Amazing Race last night? What happened, Cowboys?!?!?! My favorite team in last place??? So sad. Good thing I believe in retroactive prayer, because they need some serious prayin’ if they are going to escape elimination after ROUND ONE. Total sadness.. But, it’s okay, Cowboys. I believe in you. I promise ♥♥♥    

But enough about the Amazing Race On to business 
We’re well into the Second Semester of First Grade which means reading comprehension is BIG TIME on my mind. Below is a reading comprehension sort to provide practice recognizing past, present, and future tenses.  In addition to the sort, I’ve included a small quiz you may want to give your kiddos, too. I always like to give the kids a “Show What You Know” activity following any kind of group work to make sure they’ve understood the concept individually.  

Have a fabulous Tuesday!!!!!
Mrs. Thiessen

Sail, Sailed, Sailing
A Past, Present, and Future Tense Sort 
(Click any picture preview to download the entire file)
 Sail, Sailed, Sailing
A Show What You know Quiz 
(Click the picture preview to download the entire file)

Sunday, February 20

Long Vowel & Syllable Sort

Hey Y’all! 

Can you say 3 day weekend?!?!?! I sure can, and believe me, I’ve been saying it ALL WEEK. After all, three pajama days in a row is incredible and, on top of that, the new season of the Amazing Race premieres tonight after evening church. I cannot wait!!!!!

But, until then I need to study for my ESOL certification test. Booooo, right?  
Have any of you amazing teachers gotten your ESOL endorsement? I think the test is going to be a bit of a doosy, so if you have any advice, I'd love to hear it!!!! In the meantime, I'll try and get my study on..... <grimace>

Alrighty, so you wanna see something I was doing when I should have been studying yesterday?  (In addition to eating way too much and watching Star Trek, of course). I made this little workshop activity.  You can use this sort two different ways: to practice long vowel spellings of E, I, and O; or, to sort syllables. I personally plan on giving only one sort to my low kiddos (they'll practice whichever skill they're weaker on), while I'll expect my higher kiddos to complete both sorts.  Can you tell that I  differentiation? There's a recording sheet to go with both sorts. ENJOY!    

Have a FABULOUS Sunday!
Mrs. Thiessen

 My Old McDonald Vowel and Syllable Sort
(Click any of the picture previews to download the entire document)

 My Old McDonald Vowel and Syllable Sort Recording Sheets
(Click the picture preview to download the entire document)

Saturday, February 19


So, sweet Dana from Love 2 Learn and Share awarded me the Stylish Blogger Award. Thanks, Dana!!!!!! Who knows... maybe this will motivate me to spruce up my blog so it will actually be stylish..... HA!!!!

 Here are the rules for receiving this award:
1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award. 
2. Share 7 things about yourself. 

3. Award 5 recently discovered great bloggers. 

4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award.

So, 7 things about me. Here we go.

1. I LOVE pandas.  In fact, I have them all over my classroom. Someday, many years from now, when my kiddos reminisce about First Grade, that’s what they’ll remember about it. Not anything about me personally, or what they learned. Instead, they’ll remember the pandas. HA!

2. My husband is in medical school. At one point, we actually had a box of someone’s bones sitting in our Living Room. The sad thing is, that is completely normal for us. Glamorous, huh?

3. I LOVE the AMAZING RACE. Season premiere tonight. Be there.

4. My school is closing at the end of this year. Sadness.... 

5. My favorite place to eat is the Pronto Pup stand at the Kansas State Fair. YUM!!!

6. Neurological abnormalities fascinate me. Favorite author? Oliver Sacks.

7. I am a Star Trek junkie. Jean Luc Picard is AMAZING.               

Wanna see five amazing blogs that I just discovered? Here they are.

Have a wonderful Saturday, y'all!!!!
 Mrs. Thiessen

Wednesday, February 16

President's Day Activities Two

So, here are a couple of things we're doing in First Grade this week to celebrate the old presidents. 

First, we read a couple of books about Lincoln and Washington and documented our learning (the kids LOVE this.)

Lincoln’s Log Sorting Center

This week I wanted to incorporate President's Day into my reading workshop, so I made this little center. President’s day theme? Lincoln’s cabins. The idea is pretty basic.

Students sort “logs” onto Lincoln’s “cabins”. Once they fill a cabin up with logs, they’ve built it! (And, wowie-wow-wow are Firsties proud of themselves after they’ve “built” a cabin!! Ha!)


Post Sorting
Here are some example sorts.
Compound Words V. Non-Compound Words

Long E Words and Short E Words

What I love about this center is the variety of sorts you can make to differentiate for different kiddos. I stuck to sound sorts when I made my cabins, but you can also make syllable sorts, type of speech sorts, computation sorts, even and odd number sorts, and all other kinds of sorts with this pattern.

Want to make your own? Here’s how.

First, print this pattern (click the pic to download). It is UGLY.  But, I promise it will turn out okay.... Just trust me on this one :)  
  I know it is ugly!!!!! See explanation below.  

 (I was totally afraid to cutesy this pattern up in case I lost the sizing of the craft sticks. They were a TOTAL nightmare to trace! Hence the lack of loveliness...)

To improve your cabins, I suggest adding some Cabin Bling. I just added a door and a window to mine because I am an underachiever, but that shouldn’t prevent you from going wild!!! You may also want to laminate your houses for durability.

After you’ve made your houses, program craft sticks for whatever skill you want your kiddos to practice.  Math, reading, whatever.  You also want to create labels for the houses (e.g. “Long E Words”, “Short E Words”).

To store this center, I put all of the sticks for each sort into a different labeled baggie. Then, I pull specific sorts for different kiddos who need work on different things. Or, when I’m feeling crazy, I just put out all of the baggies and the kids can sort whatever two groups they feel like. Before sorting the kids like to "shuffle" the sticks- translation: dump all of the sticks on the floor and swirl them around like there's no tomorrow. Then they get down to sorting business and once they’re done, the sorting sticks and labels go right back into the baggies. EASY!
President Mobile

So I totally wish that I could take credit for this super cute idea, but I can’t. It was entirely the mind-child of my brilliant and adorable colleague, Mrs. Shackelford. 

My class hasn’t actually done this activity yet, but here’s how I plan on doing it. First, the kiddos are going to make their mobiles (glue a presidential silhouette to each side of a heart- EASY!!!!).

Then, the kiddos will sort statements about each president onto to either side of their mobile, gluing them to the mobile tail. Simple and cute. And who can’t use a little simplicity in their life?! Here's what it looks like when it's done (one pic of each side).

Any big plans for the Presidential Weekend?  I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but I plan on catching some zzz’s. (Can you tell my mind is already on the weekend!?!?!?!)

Have a FABULOUS Wednesday!
Mrs. Thiessen

Monday, February 14

President's Day Activities

Alrighty, so while I was in the process of planning for President’s Day next week, I thought I’d share a couple of the things I’m working on.

President Venn-Diagram

Click the picture to download the pattern for this activity. Each paper has directions regarding what color it should be printed on. The only paper that needs to be resized is the Venn-Diagram itself. Just blow it up to 11x17 and print it on white construction paper.  I suppose the only thing left to explain is George's hair... it's just two cotton balls glued smack-dab on both sides of his face. EASY!  (p.s. The patterns were homemade, so they're a little unpolished. SORRY!)

What President’s Day isn’t complete without the old George v. Abe Venn Diagram?  Hence this buddy. I added a little crafting component to make it hallway-worthy. If you’d like the pattern for the presidents, just click on the Venn-Diagram picture to download it!!!!!

Persuasive Writing

I figured it was high-time I got my kiddos working on persuasive writing, so next week the kids are going to write persuasive “essays” stating why they should be elected president. Should be an absolute hoot. I cannot wait to read what they write!!!!!

 So, what are YOU doing for President’s Day? I'm eager to hear!

Finally, I have a couple more presidential things I’ll try and post later in the week (once they're finished, that is...! Ha!) 

Have a Marvelous Monday!!!!!
Mrs. Thiessen

And P.S.. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sunday, February 13

President's Day Printable Center

So, here’s a little President’s Day syllable sort that I’ll be using next week to celebrate the big wigs of our country.  Some of the 4 syllable words are kind of tough for Firsties, so I’ll only be giving those to my most advanced kiddos. Isn’t differentiation the best?

Hope it helps ya! I’ll post more President’s Day stuff later this week!

Happy Valentine's Day!!!!! 
Mrs. Thiessen

  Presidents Day Syllable Sort
(Click on any picture preview to download the entire file)

Presidents Day Syllable Sort
Recording Sheet
(click the picture preview to download the entire file)

Wednesday, February 9

Valentine's Day Sorting Activity

 Here’s a little Valentine’s Day sort for ‘ya.  I suppose it could be used on occasions other than Valentine’s Day, but I went a little crazy with the hearts so it’s definitely got a mushy gushy feel to it. What can I say I have holiday spirit, I suppose... :D   

So this sort is super simple. There are 8 animals. Each animal has 5 clues that describe it. Kiddos match up the clues with the animals they describe. 

Hope you have fun with it (and your kids, too. Ha!)  
Happy teaching!

I Only Have Eyes for You:
A Valentine’s Day Sorting Activity
(click on any of the picture previews to download the entire document!)


Mrs. Thiessen

Monday, February 7

Sentence Scramble Printable

Well, we’ve finally returned for what should be our SECOND full week of school since Winter Break, and snow is forecasted for tomorrow. Go figure, right? I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but I am seriously tried of Old Man Winter. He needs to go to time-out.

But, on to business- here’s a little Sentence Scramble for 'ya, complete with a Highway Sorting Mat and Recording Sheet. Lately I am all about the Sentence Scrambles. Fluency, vocabulary, grammar, sentence structure- love it all! 

Hope this helps you and your Firsties out!
Mrs. Thiessen

slug bug sentence scramble
(click any picture preview to download the entire file!)

Saturday, February 5

Asking or Telling Sentence Sort (With a Side of Fire Safety)

 So, one of my goals this year is to try to review fire safety every season so it stays fresh in my kiddos' minds long after Fire Safety week has passed in the Fall. And because we're always short on time in the classroom, I decided to encorporate my winter fire safety review into a little center activity. Hence, this Asking or Telling Sentence Fire Safety Sort.

Here’s the low down.: Just treat this old buddy like a  normal Asking/Telling Sentence Sort, but it will also review fire safety.  Each asking Sentence is a fire safety question. Each of the Telling Sentences answers one of the fire safety questions from the Asking Sentences. So, after the kiddos sort the sentences into Asking and Telling groups, they can figure out which telling sentence answers each asking sentence. 

Hope you enjoy it!

 Asking or Telling:
A Fire Safety Sentence Sort
 (Click on any of the picture sneak pics to download the entire file)

Here's a little Fire Safety review worksheet you can also use that uses the Asking and Telling sentences to review the information presented in the sort. 

Asking or Telling:
A Fire Safety Sort Review Worksheet

Here’s to hoping that none of our kiddos ever have to practice what they learn about fire safety! But, hoping they learn it anyway :)

Enjoy your FABULOUS weekend!!!!!!
Mrs. Thiessen 

Thursday, February 3

Valentine's Day Sequencing Activity

 So, is anyone else getting a little bit tired of snow days? 

 I am!

This is sort of difficult for me to fathom because normally I am a Snow Day’s BIGGEST fan, but after THREE days at home, I am ready to see my little people again!  

 Okay, okay... less complaining, more sharing!!!!
So, here's a little Valentine's Day Sequencing activity for you. It should get your kiddos reading and using those higher order thinking skills in no time!  Enjoy!!!!!     

1, 2, 3, Sequencing for Me!
Click on any of the picture sneak pics to download a complete copy of the file!


Happy Thursday! 
Mrs. Thiessen