What's been happening??

Hey guys! Idk about you but I am so incredibly tired (like every day!) I just finished up my 4th week of school and it's been a rocky start to the school year: I've got a new curriculum that I am having a difficult time adjusting to, a wide variety of learners and behaviors in my classroom from non-English speaking to a reading level M (F&P), and my grad classes just started! So yeah... 

Anyway, I wanted to share a bit of what's been going on in my classroom lately through some pictures. 

My district uses the Lucy Calkins Units of Study, but before we begin writer's workshop with our first graders, my team likes to review sentence structure. We realized that a lot of our students would be able to write these creative stories, but still had difficulty writing a complete sentence with capital letters. 

We spent about 2 weeks just going over capital letters at the beginning of a sentence, punctuation marks, and writing a "whole idea." Daily I would review the parts of a sentence and give them different writing prompts for their journal. I've seen a lot of improvements so far but we still need continued practice. 

I introduced literacy centers around the middle of the second week of school. Here is a picture of my kiddos working on their handwriting. I pulled back small groups to introduce the handwriting booklet they are working on. Now they complete it for morning work unless I have another activity for them.

The first unit in my new curriculum is our study on Monarch caterpillars and butterflies. We typically collect caterpillars from our courtyard but because of the construction and rough heat, we didn't have any. Instead, we had to have them shipped to us from the local environmental literacy center. The kids get to observe the caterpillars lifecycle and then release them as butterflies. 

At our exploration center there are a group of children observing the caterpillars and completing an activity called "I think, I see, I wonder..." It really gets their brains thinking and I had some great responses. 

After a majority of our caterpillars died (oops!) I had to think of ways to keep the kids engaged while still thinking about butterflies. So I gave them the challenge of creating a butterfly with only 3 pipe cleaners and it had to be better than mine. They were SO quiet for this activity and thoroughly engaged - it was awesome. And some of them turned out really good. I wish I would've taken pictures. 

Last little tidbit I've got for you is that my iPads from Donor's Choose arrived!! The iPads don't have access to the internet, which is okay because we have 3 computers in the room that do, but they have tons of educational apps as well as art inspired apps and "fun" apps that teach them how to use technology in a different way. The kids are really enjoying using them. 

So what's going on in your teaching world? :)