I have returned to 1st grade this year after about 10 years with 4th-5th graders. Many things have been the same since my return, and of course there are some things I’ve had to readjust to, or that are entirely new, as is the nature of education. One thing, though, that was definitely not a “thing” the last time I was in primary is the 100th Day of School. No, I said that wrong–we definitely HAD the 100th day of school, we just didn’t officially celebrate the 100th day as a holiday. This is new to me, and as I am coming up on that day (it’s next Wednesday, the 28th), I’ve been thinking A LOT about what I will do with that day in my classroom. (Before I go on, I feel like should ask that you presume positive intent in my questions here–my focus is on really understanding the why, not judging what others may choose (or not choose) to do in their own classrooms on any given day. I want to learn here!) :)
It seems that other people are also thinking about it, and having similar questions to me. I found a blog post by Aviva Dunsiger (@avivaloca) the other day, after she posted this tweet:
I found myself nodding as I read her post, as she was asking the same thing I have been struggling with: Why do we “celebrate” the 100th day of school? What is the purpose and how can we use this day to continue to help our kiddos think and grow and problem solve? Why is this day any different than every other day? I’ve read many opinions about how it’s a rite of passage and a fun day to celebrate the milestone of getting so far into the year together, and I’ve heard others say it’s about helping students understand the “bigness” and importance of the number 100. Believe me, I’m all for having a great day, and I LOVE the idea of kids understanding numbers and being flexible in their use of them. So the part I’m grappling with is how I can “do” the 100th day in a way that is still high quality and rigorous, while fun and enjoyable–and not just full of things that are “cute” or that we’re doing “just because” they have to do with the number 100 (and let’s be honest–this is really our goal for every day, isn’t it?).
After thinking about this for a couple of weeks, as well as reading about what others are doing, I think I’ve settled on a few things. Most of them are incorporated into our normal routine, but are focused on the idea (that Aviva mentioned in her post) of the learning we’ve done in the last 100 days. I plan on there being a focus on how long those 100 days have been and how much learning we’ve already done! I hope to highlight the “grittiness” we’ve displayed and the fun we’ve had together and how much more fun we’ll have in the rest of the school year. Here’s what I’m thinking:
1. 100 Book Reading Challenge–with my “big” kids, we have done a 40 Book Challenge the last few years, after reading about it in The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller. I would love to give my firsties a similar, one-day challenge for our class together to read 100 books. It averages out to 5 books a piece or so, which is TOTALLY doable, and would be a great motivation to reach a goal and work on being better readers. That’s how it happens, right? By reading! I figure we’ll make a chart or list somewhere in the room so we can record the titles as we go.
2. 100 Word writing challenge–I’m not entirely sure how to frame this one, maybe around writing word wall words correctly or creating words from them (like word families), or if we’ll write stories that include 100 words or what…..somehow we’ll write. Like we do everyday. :)
3. What Have We Learned in the Last 100 Days?–Taking inspiration from Aviva’s post, I thought it would be great to document all of the things we’ve learned and done in the last 100 days (which I am sure is WAY more than just a 100) with pictures and words. Since I’m a regular blogger, I am also a regular picture-taker. That means I probably have at least one picture from each of our 100 days together. I’m thinking about having kiddos reflect on each day (probably in pairs) and writing something to go along with each picture. These could be put into a book (either paper or digital) and we could add to it as we finish up the year. Again, what a great way to visually see all of the many things they know now that they didn’t know on our 1st Day together!
4. Legos? Blocks? Maker Space?–We are definitely builders in Rm. 202, and incorporate this kind of representation into many things we do on a regular basis. I have seen ideas for “what would you do with 100 Legos?” which could be interesting, as they could answer the question about what they’ve learned or what they are most proud of. We did something similar when we returned from Winter Break where they created and then wrote about their favorite thing/event/present from Christmas. I’d love to give them the same question and have them build something with big blocks or just “stuff” and then have them video their thinking as they explain what they made and why. The video part would be pretty basic, as we’re just getting into documenting our learning digitally. Those videos would be great to share on our blogs–which we’re going live with this week, too!
5. 100s game in Math–this will be an easy extension of what we’re already doing! The unit we’re currently working on is about kids become flexible and efficient with adding numbers within 100. We’re already playing games, solving problems and having great conversations about place value with bigger numbers.
I guess we’ll see what I end up going with (as it will happen in just 3 days from now!). I’d love to hear your thoughts on how YOU will be spending the 100th Day of School. What questions did you consider in your planning? Please come back later this week to see the update on what actually happened in Rm. 202, and/or follow us @jbeardensclass to enjoy the day along with us!
Have a great week! :)