100 Days of School Celebrations

100DaysofSchool

Last Wednesday (August 3rd, 2011), my prep class celebrated their first 100 Days of School.

Now, I know this is not a new concept, but for our school it was and it was extremely successful. Which was a huge relief for me, because I drove the whole idea, and the days leading up to it were quite nerve-racking for me. Being only in my second year of teaching I didn’t know how it would go over with the rest of the team, and with the school, so I didn’t make such a huge deal over it with the wider school community (although if my contract is renewed at the end of this year that will change for next year).

My rationale behind the 100 Days of School celebrations was purely to give my students something to celebrate – a tangible milestone that had lots of educational merit. We start the majority of our numeracy sessions with counting, and since the middle of last term we’ve counted from 1-100 – so it’s not something that’s out of reach for them. In fact, for some it’s downright easy – but ‘100’ is such an exciting number that just knowing they had reached 100 days filled each of them with such enthusiasm.

Plus, it’s nice to have a themed day where all the activities are geared towards the same concept – from sport, to literacy and numeracy!

We really did have a great day, doing all sorts of activities. I specifically didn’t have a concrete list of activities that HAD to be completed by the end of the day. I had lots of activities that we could move through at our own pace, which turned out to be one of the most successful elements, in my opinion.

So, what did we do?

The shortest answer is: lots!

  • We made posters displayed 100 objects in 10 groups of 10. Students brought in 100 small objects of their choice (including pasta, beads, rice, stickers, matchsticks, etc) to use for their posters and I provided lots of extra items for students who forgot. One of the nicest elements of this activity thought, besides the wonderful numeracy concepts, was that students shared their objects with each other, and had 10 groups of 10 different items on their posters. They approached each other and asked if they could use 10 of the other students’ beads, or use 10 of their stickers. Some students even recorded who they received items from on their charts, which was just lovely to see. This activity took most of the first 2 hours of the day, and I let it, because they just had a wonderful time, and I’m not going to stand in the way of enthusiasm!
  • We did 100 exercises! After recess we stayed outside in the sun (we couldn’t have asked for nicer weather on Wednesday) and made a big circle. We then did 10 groups of 10 different exercises and stretches before heading back inside.
  • We wrote about what we would buy if we had $100. Students brainstormed a list of the things they would buy with $100 and then completed a sentence-starter and illustrated their pages beautifully. All of their writing is to be collated into a classroom book for a class library!
  • We explored the different ways that we could make 100. On a poster we stuck on pictures of 100s charts, $100 notes, 100 smiley faces, a hundreds MAB block and 10 groups of 10 icy-pole sticks and thought about all the ways we could make 100.
  • We made a tower of 100 unifix blocks. Students then took turns lying down next to our tower to see if anyone was as long as the tower (disappointingly, no), and then demanded that I lie down next to it. Unfortunately I am not as tall as 100 unifix blocks! However, when our principal, Mrs. Ringrose visited, the students quickly decided that she was definitely taller than 100 unifix blocks!
  • We rolled 6-sided and 10-sided dice and coloured in a 100s chart. Students rolled a die and had to colour in the number of squares on their 100s chart… until they reached 100. Some students made rainbow coloured charts, others decided to use 2 or 3 different colours to form patterns.
  • We looked at a 1m ruler and talked about how long 100cm was. Students then used streamers to estimate how long 100cm was (with the ruler hidden!) – some results were very close and some of the methods used to work out the results were inspired. One student noted how high the ruler was in comparison to our IWB and then used her foot to hold the streamer on the ground and unrolled the streamer until she found the ‘right’ spot on the board. In the end we had 2 students, one who was approximately an inch too short, and one who was an inch too long, so they were both declared the winners!
  • We made a chain of 100 paper links. A collaborative effort that was placed up in our classroom!
  • We made special masks. This was apparently one of the highlights of the day – something they could make and take/wear home after school. Most just decorated them with textas and sequins, but a few were quite inventive, covering them in the number 100!

At the end of the day, I was able to give each student a laminated certificate congratulating them on reaching 100 days of school.

I suppose the most gratifying part of the day was the happiness of my students at the end of the day – they were just so bubbly. I don’t think I’ve ever had so many hugs as they ran out the door to show their parents what they’d made!

I also had some lovely feedback from parents, and also from my principal who had been running school tours during the morning with prospective parents coming through the classrooms. I know that next year, whether or not I’m there, 100 Days with continue – hopefully bigger and better!

What I took away from the experience is the confidence that I am actually able to introduce ideas – successfully – and that I just have to be brave enough to say “this is what I’m doing (and would you like to join in with me!).”

Does your school run a 100 Days of School celebration?

What kinds of activities do they include?

What is (on of) your proudest achievements/experiences as a teacher?

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