The First Week of Prep

Firstweek_header

Be forewarned, this is a LONG post!

At the end of January, here in Australia, we will commence the start of our school year. This coming year, I will be teaching Foundation (also known as Prep or Kindergarten, depending on your location). This will be the seventh year that I’ve taught Foundation, in one form or another.

I recently had a request from a  reader who is about to commence her first year of teaching in a Foundation/Prep class about what to do in the first week. Every school and teacher is different, but I’m going to share with you all a general outline of what happens in my school. I want to stress that everything in this post is simply what works in MY school/classroom. (I’d love for people to share their own experiences in the comments.)

At my school, we have a Start Up Learning Program (SULP) that the entire school follows. This program helps us build our new classroom community by establishing classroom norms, rules and procedures, as well as introducing our students to each other and to the teaching staff. It incorporates  programs such as Habits of Mind, BounceBack, deBono’s Thinking Hats and buddy activities. I’d advise speaking to your new school and team about the sorts of programs they usually include at the start of the year.

This program ensures that all the Foundation/Prep classes complete the exact same activities (although not necessarily in the same order or on the same day).

Firstweek_firstday

Our Foundation/Prep students start one day later than the rest of the school. This allows the rest of the school to settle in to the school year and also spares the brand-new, youngest members of the school from the usual first-day craziness of the older students. We’ve done this at my school for the last five years and it’s very effective as the second day is generally a lot calmer.

On their first day of school, Foundation/Prep students have a staggered start time from 9:00am, with 2 students arriving at 5 minute intervals. This allows the teachers to spend a bit of one-on-one time with students and their families to welcome them to the classroom. All students are in by 10:00am. While students are arriving, we have out a variety of developmental play-based activities, such as puzzles, puppets, drawing/colouring in, magnets, Lego blocks, plastic animals, toy cars, etc. These activities bridge the gap between Kinder and school and allow students the opportunity to settle quicker. Parents are encouraged to help their child settle and then attend a Tea & Tissues morning tea in our hall, run by other parents.

On this first day, the Foundation/Prep students have a separate recess time. These little guys are the rock stars of the school for the first few weeks and rather than overwhelm them on their first day, we give them some space to explore their new surroundings with their same-age peers rather than have the older kids come and crowd them. It gives us the opportunity to explain play spaces, areas that are out of bounds and what to do in the yard if they hurt themselves or need help (i.e.: find the yard duty teacher).

Students finish before lunch time on the first day only. Prior to the end of their day, we invite their Grade 5/6 buddies to come down and meet them. Their buddies were assigned before the end of 2015 and most students had the opportunity to meet them. The older buddies come down to reintroduce themselves, greet their younger buddies and then, at 12:30pm, walk them out to their parents. This gives the buddies an opportunity to introduce themselves to the parents, but also ensures that the Foundation/Prep students don’t just wander off at pick-up time.

Firstweek_Activities

We start every morning with a picture book after taking the roll. Books may include stories about starting school. I also find it useful to read familiar and popular picture books, such as Mem Fox books, Dr. Seuss books or Eric Carle books.

We put together a Starting School booklet for all students that contain a range of activities:

– All About Me (Name, Age, Self-Portrait)*

– I’m a Success (Yellow Thinking Hat activity – students draw/write something they are good at)*

– I Like to Play (Students draw/write something they like to play and share with the group)*

– My Family (Students draw/write about their family)*

– Facts About Me (White Thinking Hat activity – students look in a mirror and draw themselves as they see themselves in the mirror, i.e.: the facts)*

* I do occasionally make copies of these activities to make books for the classroom library. It’s a quick and easy way to develop your own book collection and students love looking back at their own work! I’ve uploaded a starting school booklet on TPT for those who would like these activities.

We use a range of activities from our integrated studies units. These activities include a morning of rotations where each class of students gets to work with each Foundation/Prep teacher (we have four classes, so four rotations).

We have a variety of Buddy Activities, the first being the meet and greet mentioned on the first day, a buddy handprint task where students and their buddies trace and then decorate their handprints (which we then display in the classroom). The buddies also take students on a tour of the school and then come back and assist the Foundation/Prep students in pasting photos of school staff onto a map of the school (such as the Principal, AP, office staff, specialist teachers, etc). We also have a few recess/lunch sessions together, too.

We build classroom community and procedures by creating a T-chart of “What Makes a Good Student?/What Makes a Good Teacher?” We create a morning procedure flow-chart of what students need to do each morning when they come in the classroom. We discuss our whole school behaviour management procedure (The Five Steps). We look at what is in students’ lunch boxes – the things they can eat for fruit snack, recess and things for lunch.

Students also have the opportunity to attend some of their specialist classes (our school has specialist ICT, Science, Physical Education, Japanese and Arts teachers), and to participate in a range of developmental play activities, often in the afternoon.

If I have time, I like to use activities from my Start Write Away class books pack over the first few weeks to build up our classroom library and have a lot more student work in the classroom.

Firstweek_tips

As a new teacher in Foundation/Prep, you will be VERY tired. It’s a lot of fun and very rewarding, but little kids are very high energy, so be prepared to take it easy on yourself in the afternoons/evenings.

Model everything. Don’t assume they understand what you’re asking them to do. Use short, simple steps and have students repeat the steps back to you.

Young students will either finish things very quickly or very slowly and you’ll have both groups of kids in your class. Be prepared to have a few phrases up your sleeve (like, “I love how you’ve used your favourite colour to draw your picture. What other colours could you include?”). Tip: I like to create a 3 Star Colouring-in chart with the kids to set my high expectations on work, which usually alleviates some of the “I’m Done in Five Seconds” students.

If all students finish quicker than you expect, go with it. Wrap up the task, then read a book (have LOTS of books on hand – if you don’t have a large collection, see your school library/librarian) or sing a song. Foundation/Prep students LOVE to sing songs, especially ones they know. They also don’t care if you can’t sing well. I like If You’re Happy and You Know It (because you can draw this one out with students suggesting new actions) and Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes (because it has lots of physical activity in it). Also, check out GoNoodle – a great free resource that I use every single day in my classroom.

Be prepared to spend a lot of time chatting to parents. They’re anxious at this time of year, and giving them a few minutes before or after school will work in your favour in the long-run.

Start every day fresh and with a smile. You’re going to have an amazing year!

I hope that helps some of my readers who are just starting out. Remember to enjoy yourself and your class!

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Peas on a Plate – Counting to 10

I confess to being quite behind in blog posts, but I blame reports, a week-long head cold and inability to sleep to my lethargic approach to my online presence.

But I’m here to share something fun that I’ve made and uploaded on TpT (and soon TN).

It’s a resource that I actually made in 2010 when I first started teaching and have remade into something a little prettier. It does involve some laminating and printing, but it works beautifully!

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Peas on a Plate is a fun little resource to practise number recognition from 0 to 10. (Yay, subitising!)

I’ve used this little activity for the last 4 years with my kiddos to build and reinforce instant number recognition and I’m so happy to be able to share it with all of you!

Here’s what my cards used to look like… (Ok… shhh! I still have them and use them because the kids enjoy them, so we mix it up!):

Now I have a set that look like this:

All cards come in a full-page format, I simply print multiple pages per sheet (2 per page), laminate and cut them out.

Each number (except for 0) has four pea combinations in different patterns, from dice patterns to less common groupings.

Ideas for use:

– whole class/small group focus: display cards for a few seconds and ask students to identify the number displayed,

– whole class game: divide the class into 2 and line them up so that there are 2 teams, flash a Peas on a Plate card and have the two leaders compete for points, and,

– small group games: play Memory or Snap with students matching different representations of the same number.

Hope that some of you may find it useful!

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The Journey to Next Year

P6120738or an insight into Prep transition!

This week we started our Prep Transition program for incoming prep students for 2012.

Being my second time participating in the Transition program, I had quite a good time. Last year (my first time participating) it was quite a shock to go from preps at the end of the year back to the little 4 year olds who stared wide-eyed at the classroom and the strange teacher in front of them. I haven’t really forgotten that feeling of “they’re so young” this year because quite a few of my current students are very young so I’ve never really lost that sense of ‘coping’ with kinder kids.

A few people from my PLN requested some information on how my school runs their transition program. Now, having only taught for two years – at the same school and in the same year level – I’m extremely biased when I say that I think our program is fantastic. Of course, what works for one school may not be the best fit for another school (and vice versa) so this post is purely to share what we do – and hopefully generate some discussion on what other schools do, etc.

We run five transition sessions over the first eight weeks of Term 4. Each session runs for 2 hours, with the exception of the first session which is a shorter introduction.

Session 1 is about getting to know the school. Students come into the classroom and engage in some fine motor/developmental play activities to settle in. We read a picture book (something they know, a popular book or a starting school book – I read Splat the Cat, and one of my colleagues read Baby Wombat’s Week), and then we go on a short school tour – highlighting where the playing and eating areas are, where the toilets and drink taps are, and visiting the Hall and the Library.

This year we’ve had an increase in enrolments and with so many families coming along on the day we split students into three groups (alphabetical for the first session, we’ll mix them up from session 2) and had our Grade 6 school leaders support us by pinning name badges on to students and staying in the classrooms to sit with students and walk around the school with us. This was extremely successful and I’m so glad we had our helpers – the students were very happy to have them around as an older person who wasn’t a ‘scary’ adult!

Session 2 will have a focus on art activities. One activity will be run by our specialist Art teacher who will rotate through the three classroom groups with extra classroom activities on hand as these activities finish up. We’ll also have a fruit snack (with fruit platters that come out of our fruit grant money!). We haven’t settled 100% on our art activities yet – but once we’ll do I’ll share them in a post.

Session 3 will introduce the students to our PMP and Computer programs. For PMP we’ll set up in the Hall and have a variety of equipment out for students to rotate through. For computers we’ll set up the laptops and let the students explore Tux Paint in pairs. I believe we’re hoping to have our ICT teacher come in and support us for this activity – mostly to introduce some of the teachers they’ll have next year – but we’ll see.

Session 4 usually sees the trial run of potential class structures for the new year. We may or may not trial this a little earlier to try and even up our classrooms a bit. We stay in the classroom for this session, have a fruit snack, and run a fine-motor activity. This will be a simple drawing of a butterfly that is provided for students, who then use cut-up squares of coloured paper to create a ‘mosaic’ by pasting the squares on the butterfly. We’ll also encourage the students to write their own name – giving us an indication of who can and cannot do this independently. As with the art activity, I’ll post some examples after the activity has been completed!

We also run a Parent Information Night during this week  which goes through the details of starting school for incoming families. This year we’ll be showing videos of this years’ students talking about their experiences at school so far! (That has been my pet project!)

The final session (5) is the final class structure, where the students will meet their class teacher for 2012 (and theoretically, their classroom… but the preps will be in the new building which is, at this stage, still incomplete!). Also a short session, it allows for students to ask questions about the next year, we read stories and sing songs. Finally we hand them a ‘showbag’ to take home.

The showbag usually contains a laminated name strip and texta so that students can practise writing their name over the holidays. We also include a little bag with coloured pasta and string to make a noodle-necklace (fine-motor, threading skills), a little tub of playdough, a calendar, a copy of the school song, coloured pencils and some simple tracing activities, etc. (Parents get the information folder, and the kids get the fun stuff – as it should be!)

And that’s the run-down of our transition session.

I’d love to hear your comments, suggestions, ideas, etc!

(Image from morgueFile, by mconnors)

What activities do you include in your transition program?

What picture books do you recommend/include in your transition program? (Always a good idea to have a good bank of ‘starting school’ books!)


Isabella’s Garden

Isabelllas Garden

Last year, my favourite CBCA Shortlisted book was Isabella’s Garden, by the extremely talented Glenda Millard, with gorgeous illustrations by Rebecca Cool.

Earlier this week I was reading the latest blog post from 2KM and 2KJ about their Book Week celebrations. Now, Book Week is probably my favourite calendar event at school – and has been since I was in primary school. I remember many years of trying to decide on which book character I was going to dress up as for the Book Parade and now as a primary school teacher, I get to do it all again!

(This year I dressed up as Sunday Chutney – apparently there’s a photo floating around, so I’ll need to find it and post it!)

But, going back to 2KM and 2KJ’s blog post, I left a comment for them about how my class would be celebrating Book Week – with lots of reading and lots of art activities and lots of celebrating learning. And I was talking about some of the books we’d be reading as well – not just the 2011 shortlisted books, but also some from last year – including the aforementioned Isabella’s Garden.

I received a lovely comment back from Molly, asking who the author for Isabella’s Garden was and I was happy to reply, and with a bit about why I really adore this particular book.

I’ll even go so far as to say that this book is probably up there with some of my all-time favourite picture-books. I just love the language that Glenda Millard uses to conjure up such wonderful mental images – the repetitiveness of  the phrases she uses and how it depicts the change in the seasons and the life cycle of the plants in Isabella’s garden.

Last year, my prep class loved the book, and I was even happier to be sharing it with my class this year, because I know how much pleasure students can get out of hearing the story – and joining in when they realise that they know the words to the story. It’s quite lyrical in that sense.

These are the flowers that waltz with the wind that ruffles the buds, all velvety-skinned that swelled the shoots that sought the sun that kissed the clouds that cried the rain that soaked the seeds that slept in the soil all dark and deep, in Isabella’s garden.

Recreating Isabella’s Garden:

And, to follow up the reading, my students and I talked about the change in the seasons – and what happens to a garden over the course of a year. Then we talked about how each season can be represented by different combinations of colour (which prompted us to go back to the story):

  • Summer: yellow, orange, green, bright blue
  • Autumn: orange, brown
  • Winter: pale blue, white
  • Spring: bight green, pink, orange, red

Following this we made a very simple paper collage – with 2 rules:

  1. No scissors allowed!
  2. No pencils allowed!

Students created a scene from the season of their choice – a landscape –  using paper ripping techniques and their imaginations.

They were quite apprehensive when I told them they weren’t allowed to pre-draw their images – but once they realised that they were capable of tearing the paper and creating a picture using small bits and pieces they spent quite a bit of time putting together the ‘perfect’ scene. Not a single student complained that they couldn’t do it, or that they didn’t know what to do – and that is the mark of a successful lesson, where everyone can achieve their best work.

Isabella's Garden

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Do you have a favourite picturebook that inspires you?

Do you have a favourite book activity that you would like to share? (I’d love to hear it!)

Mobile Learning

IMG_0009(Preps using an iPad during Literacy Rotations)

This term I’ve been ‘road-testing’ mobile learning devices in my prep classroom. This is in part due to a research project my school is participating in, funded by the DEECD’s Innovation department, and partly inspired by my own grand ideas of using technology.

This morning I was listening to Shelly Terrell‘s webinar at SimpleK12 on “Read World Learning Through Mobile Devices” (at 5am!) – which was particularly fortunate timing for me, given my exploratory use of an iPad and iPod Touch in the classroom. I also particularly enjoyed Shelly’s ebook Effective Mobile Learning (50+ Quick Tips & Resources).

Now, a very quick overview of my class: I teach a class of 22 preps (5-6 year olds) in a government school in the Northern Metropolitan region of Melbourne. I have a wonderful mix of cultures within my classroom, a small number of ESL students, and a wide range of abilities (both in traditional curriculum areas and also in using technology). A handful of students have iPod Touches, 1 has an iPad that he shares with a sibling, a few more occasionally play on their parents’ iPhones, and about half the class have access to a computer (desktop or laptop) at home under parent supervision.

Since the start of this term, I’ve spent quite a bit of time incorporating at least 1 literacy-based technology activity into my literacy rotations (school wireless permitting!). I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the way all of my students have worked together to respect the rules of using these devices, and have demonstrated great cooperative skills and a willingness to be involved. Needless to say, the enthusiasm of the group using the iPad outweighs most of the other activities!

Activities I have incorporated:

  • An interactive ebook story (The Three Pandas) – students listened to the story, touched the screen to interact with the characters. At the end of each session the groups discussed the story, relating it to other stories they knew of (Goldilocks and the Three Bears), talking about the differences between the ebook and a traditional paper-based book. We also connected it to our IWB and watched it as a class.
  • Watched (downloaded) YouTube videos appropriate to lessons (including nursery rhymes, counting rhymes and other fun little videos based on sounds and word play).
  • Used Halftone to take photos and create a one-page poster with a descriptive sentence. I worked with each student one-on-one (and quite a few of the students worked together, teaching each other, too!) to explore how to take a photo and how to edit and create text in the Halftone app. They then saved these photos to iPhoto and printed them in colour to make a classroom book. They were able to show (and demonstrate) to our Principal – who was amazed at the knowledge and ability of the students after one lesson using the app – and Assistant Principal their creations both on the iPad and then the book. This lead to their introduction to Comic Life during ICT sessions (starting today).
  • This week we’re focusing on short-vowel sounds and are using Spelling Magic 1 (and 2) to listen to and make simple/CVC words using the vowel sounds. The picture at the top of this post is 3 students using the app and recording the words that they hear on a vowel chart. They then took these posters to our desktops (Macs) and (with some help) logged into Voki and created avatars who introduced themselves and shared some of the words from their posters. We’ve put their Vokis onto our classroom blog, to share with their peers, families and members of our school community. Needless to say, they’re all very proud of their work, and I look forward to seeing what else they come up with during the week.
  • I’ve also recorded lots of simple levelled reading texts in Garage Band and uploaded them onto the iPod Touch which, coupled with a headphone splitter, has turned into a portable listening post.

What do I have planned for the future?

  • Inspired by Shelly’s webinar, I’m planning on using MouthOff on the iPod Touch (and our mini HD Flip cameras) to record student communications – most likely with them talking about their weekends!
  • A simple QR code hunt – likely to revolve around either our Sounds of the Week or a text response activity.
  • An activity (still in the planning stages) using the PuppetPals app on the iPad.

Plus a whole host of other activities that I’m determined to design using lots of apps and the cameras and video functions.

I don’t think any of these activities are revolutionary (I see so many fantastic and inspiring activities being posted on Twitter by my PLN on a daily basis, and I feel so behind!) – but they’re a step forward for my school and I’m quite happy to be the one pushing things forward… even just a little bit!

As my AP said in the staffroom – a few years ago you would never have thought to have Prep students creating a Voki. And while I do a lot of the set-up and logging in for them – they type in the text and they create their avatars and that’s fantastic to see!

Are you in the Early Years and using mobile learning devices? What activities have you implemented? (Or, spare some advice on what worked for you/what didn’t work!)

Face to Face Networking

Screen shot 2011-08-10 at 8.12.58 PM

One of the most challenging things about teaching, at the moment, is the integration of technology into daily classroom use. Since starting to build my online PLN, barely a month ago, I’ve been inundated with great ideas from educators who do just that – and they do it well.

While I didn’t grow up with technology from a very young age, by the end of Primary School, I had access to a computer at home and I had a blog on LiveJournal just after I turned 13. (I shudder to think about the things I probably posted on that blog!) I’ve always loved using computers to connect and talk to other people, to write and share ideas. It’s a great way to meet and learn from people who live all over the world, which is the driving force behind online PLNs, Twitter chats and other sources of networking.

However, as a relatively new teacher to the profession, relatively young and – dare I say it – naive to the politics involved in teaching, I sometimes struggle with the idea that there are teachers out there who are reluctant to make use of all the amazing resources available to them – mostly free – online.

As a result, just in the last four weeks I’ve found myself presenting web2.0 tools to parents, colleagues from my workplace and colleagues from the local teaching network. For me, it’s a very strange position to be in, not least because I’m absolutely petrified of public speaking (please don’t ask me what I’ve actually said at any of these presentations, because I’m usually so nervous I can’t remember!). But the sad thing is, it feels like if I didn’t do it, it wouldn’t be presented at all and I think that’s a detriment to teaching in such a digital age.

In a lot of ways, I consider myself a sponge – I want to learn and know as much as I possibly can (usually in the shortest time span), and I’m willing to put the time in to teach myself. In reality, I know that schools can only provide so much professional development on ICT development, tools and skills – there’s just so much that is crammed into each year, so much time spent before and after school at meetings and planning that it’s just not possible.* That said, I think teachers also need to be willing to put in an effort on their own – and spend 15-20mins researching and playing with the different tools they want to use with their students – and ultimately it’s that 20mins that will the most valuable in the long run.

*Unless of course you volunteer your own time (which I recommend, in moderation) to attend PD that you want to. Or attending something wonderful, like RSCON3 – or simply watching the recordings!

To that end, during our most recent Mini-Network Meeting – a gathering of teachers from local schools meeting together in Level teams to discuss areas of interest – which was held at my school for Level 1, it was decided that we would look at free, interactive resources for teachers. (Ultimately, this also included subscriptions that schools had, classroom resources and blogs.)

Screen shot 2011-08-07 at 7.08.22 PM

I’ll admit to getting all exciting and pulling together all the links of great sites I’d come across over the last couple of years (and a few from the last few weeks!) and throwing them into a LiveBinder all ready to share. I organised a bit.ly short link for ease of access and made sure we had access to an IWB for the session. During the meeting, I was able to easily show examples of sites, explain what they were, etc. Others we able to suggest extra resources (which were recording and added to the LiveBinder) and we had decent discussion going.

And, I think it went well. It was actually quite hard to judge; these were people I see once a term (if that) and I’m not sure if it was what they were expecting, or whether it was an overload or if they just thought it was a waste of time. Most of the suggestions for additional resources were subscription sites/accounts that schools had purchased, which was fine, and there were suggestions for blogs that one of the teachers followed (I internally leaped for joy at the thought of another local teacher following blogs!).

The feedback I got from my AP was very positive though – and it is nice to hear that from school leadership.

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?