It’s the 100th Day–HOORAY!

In case you’ve missed our 100th Day journey, be sure to catch up on our previous conversations here.  And then stay tuned to read about what actually happened–spoiler alert: it was AMAZING!!

We began the day much like we normally do, with our regular routine of washing our hands and then working on the math apps we use every day: Front Row and Dreambox.  I got together some supplies, Tyrin took our pizza orders for lunch, and then we all got together to start our 100th Day of School.

We had narrowed down our choices to the ones that most closely matched our purpose for the day (reflecting upon or thinking about learning), but still we would not have been able to do all of those things in just the time we’re together on a normal school day, so I had to whittle it down even further.  Also, since we had come up with the SUPER list from our Little Red Riding Hood book as well, we actually had a new (and pretty big) job that we had added.

And since I can’t leave well enough alone, I gave them one more reminder about how this wasn’t truly our “100th” day, so we did a little bit of math: 176 + 176 + 100=452, meaning we were actually celebrating the 452nd day we had been in school!  WOW!  Too bad we couldn’t have had a whole list of activities related to that number!

First, I gave them a framework for book that we had decided to write together about our 100 days of 2nd grade and how much we had learned.  There were stems on each page that kiddos were supposed to fill in, and since we were doing it on our iPads, they could use pictures from their camera roll, drawings (that would then be added by taking a picture), typing or writing on the pages.  We use a Learning Management System called eBackpack to give and receive work, so they were to work on their pages (each kiddo was given 5) and then send them back to me.

Once they got started working, I began to call small groups over to start making muffins (based on our super smart ideas from Little Red Riding Hood: A Newfangled Prairie Tale by Lisa Campbell Ernst) to share with our 2nd grade friends.  There are conveniently (if you’re connecting to the number 100) 101 kiddos in our grade, so we had a lot of baking to do; we had figured out through some HARD work the day before that we needed to make 9 batches in order to have enough.  Wow.

Well, thankfully, my friend (who typically comes to help us during Math on Thursdays anyway) was free in the morning today, because looking back now there is NO WAY we could have made 100 muffins with 21 kiddos with just me.  Thanks, Mary Beth!  She took one table and I manned another one and we measured and poured, stirred and scooped and ultimately took all of our muffin tins to the Robinson kitchen to be baked.  Again, if not for Ms. Denise in the kitchen who took charge of the ovens, we wouldn’t have had any muffins.  She was a lifesaver today.

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Although I would have love to add pictures of the many trips we took to the kitchen and back, and share a picture of Ms. Denise, as well as how beautiful our muffins were while they were baking, I was carrying muffin tins and opening doors and having to be a teacher (hee hee), so you’ll just have to imagine that part.  I also wish there was smell-o-vision so I could share how wonderful our muffins smelled while they were baking (believe me, I was told my multiple people that they could smell them all over the school!), but alas, not this time.  Just imagine the most amazing aroma ever and that’s what it was like. 🙂  Ultimately we only ended up making 8 dozen (not sure what happened there), so we had to do some quick math about our shortage (which was a great lesson in scarcity!) and figure out how we could best share with our friends as well as have some muffins for ourselves.

After we figured out how many muffins we had:

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we made some plans for how we’d get them to our friends.  We agreed (ok, well they did after I convinced them) that it was the right thing to do to give muffins to the other 2nd graders before we served ourselves and so we go together in groups and created little pitches to share with them about what we did and how we wanted to give so to them.

We had a little bit of time after both muffins and our book (but more about that in another post–we have some revising and editing to do there before we’re ready to share), so kiddos had a choice of a board game, reading, or writing.  I always love to see what they do when they are in charge:

Because our day was filled with two other special events (roller skating in PE and a farewell assembly for a beloved custodian), we only had time for one more thing, and we decided it should be puzzles.  After that conversation the other day and the question from Ja’Mia, we knew it would be fun, hard work and would definitely allow us to use all of the grit, patience and teamwork we’ve been building lately.  Look at what we were able to do!

For all the thought (perhaps OVER-thought) that I put into this day, I am pleased with what happened.  It was all that we wanted it to be (which was to focus on learning and growing) and we had fun along the way.  I think that they things we chose to participate in match up with what we are about everyday (engagement, choice, thinking, teamwork).  I enjoyed the day, and I’m pretty sure they did, too.  The last thing I heard before we left for the day was “This was the best 100th Day EVER!”  I agree, friend, I agree! 🙂

 

 

Rethinking the 100th Day: Rm. 202 Weighs In

This whole 100th Day of School thing has got my head spinning.  Last year I thought I had answered the question (at least the 1st grade version of it), but then it came to rear it’s ugly head again this year as last week people starting talking about it and planning again for the “holiday” that falls on Thursday, January 28 in our school.  So I started thinking again.  And you, kind blog readers and Twitter friends, helped my thinking along by asking some really good questions.

For instance, @avivaloca, who was part of the reason I started this whole thing last year, had this simple inquiry:  

Now here’s where I got a little uncomfortable, because I realized my answer wasn’t as nearly as strong as I thought. Well actually, I didn’t even have an answer at that point, because I was asking a different question altogether!

I don’t remember my exact answer (although if you’re curious you can go back to that post and read my response to her comment), but basically it was “Uh….because everybody else is doing it?” “Because I don’t have a really good reason not to?” “Well I don’t know, but let me tell what we’re doing on that day to celebrate! They’re really good ideas…”

Um, yeah. Not my best day. ESPECIALLY as a teacher who likes to pride herself on not just doing things because everyone else is or because they always have been done that way.

So as the title suggests, I did just what I told Aviva I was going to do, and asked my class to weigh in on the whole deal. (By the way, as I was telling them this story and was about to say what our next step was, Makayla said that she knew I was going to ask them about it. Love that they know my moves!).

My first question to the to get our conversation going was “What do you know about WHY we celebrate the 100th Day of School? What’s it all about anyway?” Here’s what they said after having a chance to chat it over with a partner first): 

So what I heard them saying was that it wasn’t really about the number 100 at all, but that it was about stopping to reflect on how far we’d come together, how much we’d learned together and where we were going. My next question was “Well that could happen any time, right? Why the 100th day?”

They had some really good ideas, most of which had to do with the fact that that day is nicely right in the middle of the year; long enough in to have something to look back on and be proud of. Sara made a good point: “It couldn’t be on the 1st or 2nd day of school because we wouldn’t have learned anything yet!” I guess you’re right. ❤

We went on to talk about the origin of the 100th day celebration (which I believe is in kindergarten when kids have actually been in school for 100 days, right?), and I wasted Aviva’s question: “Why do we celebrate this day in 2nd grade? Is 100 really a big deal to us now?” They agreed that no, it’s not.  We’re working on time, money, we’re going to be adding to the 1000s, and we can count WAY higher than 100 already.  It WAS a big deal a couple of years ago, but that number is not such a landmark for us anymore.  We decided that our focus would be on looking back at our learning and reflecting on the many things we know how to do now.

With that in mind, we went back to our list to revise; we would only keep things on it that had to do with reflection, not the parts that were just about 100.  Basically the things that were related to the number 100 were crossed off, although we realized that we had a pretty good list of reflection activities already.

FullSizeRender 15-min As we revisited our ideas, we crossed off ones that were “number based,” as well as the blog posts and reading 100 books because those were things we did last year.  We decided 100 math problems was something we always do anyway, and that 100 facts about places was just what we were doing in Social Studies and so we’d wait on that, too.  The writing and notebook entries were also typical to our daily schedule.  The 100 post cards was crossed off because we’ve been working on letters in Writers’ Workshop and that would make more sense that post cards.  Pretty valid support, I’d say.

We did have a question come up related to puzzles.  Ja’Mia wanted to take that off the list, because at first it seemed to be just about the number.  She asked the class “What do puzzles have to do with learning?” (I was glad she was brave enough to bring this up to everyone, and was eager to hear their answers!)

Here’s the (long) list of what kiddos said about how they fit into our theme:

  • You have to work together.
  • You have to use problem-solving to figure it out.
  • You have to be patient.
  • You have to have self-control and keep it together if you get frustrated.
  • You have to use grit.
  • It’s a challenge (especially if there’s a lot of pieces!).
  • It takes a long time so you have to be willing to work hard.

After hearing what others had to say, she was ok with it.  “Well, if you’re working in a group to do it, I guess it makes sense.”  Good girl.  🙂 (By the way, we applied the same logic to board games, including Millie’s point that games like that help us learn how to win and lose graciously.)

So armed with our new list and some renewed excitement and understanding about the reasons behind this day, we’re getting geared up to have a great day of learning, reflection and fun on Thursday.  Can’t wait to share it with you!

 

100th Day Questions (Again)

Last year I made a jump down to primary after teaching “big” kids for the previous 9 years.  When I last taught 1st graders there was no such thing as celebrating the 100th Day of School.  So when that day came near, I began to consider (like I do with everything else that fits into the “it’s-what-we-do” or “it’s-the-way-it’s-always-been-done” category) what we should (or shouldn’t) do on this day in Rm. 202.  I asked many of my own questions, as well as having conversations with others who were asking the same things.

We ended up deciding on taking on a pretty big challenge in our classroom to write 100 blog posts, and secondly to try to read 100 books.  It was a great day of fun, learning, stretching our brains, working together, solving problems and really figuring out just how big 100 is!  It took us all day, but we made our goal of all of those blog posts and boy, were we proud!

So…as we near the 100th day again (next Thursday!), I’m asking 100th Day questions again.  If I have certain thoughts and feelings about it in regards to 1st graders, how do those apply when I’m now teaching those friends as 2nd graders?  Unlike last year, I decided to take that question to my kiddos.

I explained my thinking, and we talked about what we should do; probably our challenge should be bigger than the one we took as 1st graders, right?  We decided to brainstorm all of our smart ideas (thanks Landen for volunteering to be our recorder!) and then whittle them down from there.

Here’s our list:

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While it’s true that there are no “bad” ideas when you’re brainstorming, we did agree to only add things that we thought would truly be challenges for us, and not just things that were “fun” or “cute.”  I’d say that they did a pretty good job of coming up with some fun and meaningful choices.  But how would we decide which of those were the ones we end up doing?

We are currently in an opinion writing unit and I took this as a great opportunity to continue to hone our skills of sharing our thoughts, giving strong reasons and relevant evidence.  So, kiddos were asked to write me a letter (which we’ve also been practicing) to tell me their top 3 choices, along with 3 good reasons why they want to do those things on our 100th day.  What a meaningful and engaging way to put all of our new skills to work!

We haven’t made any final decisions for our big day, but the front runners right now seem to be puzzles, the 100 dot design challenge (building), playing the 100 game (which is something we do regularly in math), and playing board games.  Can’t wait to see what we end up choosing, and then documenting what actually happens–stay tuned!

I’d love to hear about your 100th day questions and thoughts!  Leave me a comment and let’s chat about it!

The 100th Day–YAY!! (Part 1)

Whew!  Our 100th day of school was today!  Boy am I tired!  WE WERE BUSY!!

I’ve been thinking about how to spend that day (and mainly trying to figure out how to both “celebrate” and still be rigorous and meaningful in my choices), and had landed on several ideas I was pretty excited about.  The good news?  We were able to use my idea list today.  The bad news (well, just the other news I guess…)?  We just did one of those things.  Let me explain. 🙂

If you were writing down a list of what we accomplished today, it would just say “blogging.”  I even had a kiddo say, “All we did was blog today, Mrs. Bearden.”  What?  That’s ALL we did?  In a word, yes, but MAN was there a TON of learning and thinking involved in that day of blogging!  I am SUPER AMAZED at what we were able to do today.

I started the day by telling my friends that I had prepared several challenges for them to do and that we could spend the day with those things.  We usually start our day with writing, so I shared the writing challenge first, with plans to share the rest of the challenges as we went on through the day.  The first thing we planned to work on was a blogging challenge.

With it being the 100th day of school, and the fact that we just went live with our blogs yesterday, I knew they’d appreciate a challenge around the “bigness” of 100 things on their blog.  I suggested we try to write 100 blog posts or comments.  Or they could challenge themselves to write a post using 100 words (which would be a HUGE STRETCH from the 2-3 sentence posts we’ve written so far).  As I had hoped and expected, they were SUPER excited to get started, and were totally up to the challenge!

Our next step was to figure out how we could make it happen.  This was a great conversation filled with much mathematical knowledge of groups of 10, counting on by 10s (as I told them we had 17 posts right then and wondered how many there would be if we added 100 more today), and splitting 10s into 5s to figure out new groups (someone said they knew that if it took 10 10s to make 100, it would take 20 5s since 5+5=10).   We divided (without knowing it) 100 by the 20 people in the room (including me!), and as we went through the challenge we did lots of adding and subtracting to figure how many more we needed and how many we had at any given point.

We got started, and you know what?  I don’t have many pictures of the work we did.  I was as busy as they were, answering questions, moderating posts and comments and helping everyone as needed.  So with 20 people, 12 iPads and 5 MacBooks between us, we were able to complete 100 BLOG POSTS AND COMMENTS today!! YIPPEE!!  It took us almost all day, but we did it!  And when we were finished, we had this to say:

(Hopefully you can tell they’re saying, “I00 BLOGS ROCK!!”

Now, I go back to that part about “all we did was blog all day,” because even though I didn’t mean to, at one point I even questioned whether I had done enough with the day.  We didn’t have a big long list of activities to show for our time together.  No one took home anything different than a normal day.  We didn’t have any thing to prove we worked hard and stretched our thinking today.  We did, however, have this:

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It’s a little hard to see, but these are the charts where we kept tally of all of the posts/comments we finished. We counted them by 10s, 1s, and 2s at several points during the day as we figured out what we’d done and how much we had to go. It hangs outside our room for others to see. I’m hoping it will elicit questions for my kids (and for me) about how we spend our100th day! We have a great story to tell!

(ok, we did have a few pictures of the day!)

We also have a Kidblog dashboard that looks like this:

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Yesterday we had 17 posts and 0 comments! Check out those numbers as of tonight! We have only been on our blogs since yesterday morning–crazy, right? We’re rocking and rolling already!!

And perhaps even better, we have memories.  We have encouragement that came from our friends–“We can do this!”–when we wanted to give up.  We have full buckets from the words our friends wrote about our stories.  We have new knowledge about how to work the iPads and laptops on our own.  We have that feeling that comes with accomplishing a goal.  We have successful problem solving that happens when we’re allowed to figure things out for ourselves or talk with our classmates.  We have practice with creating meaningful writing for a REAL audience; we worked hard to make our words look right, sound right and make sense.  We have practice with letters, sounds and words and we have momentum to go forward with our writing.  AND we have a great list of things that we didn’t finish today that we’ll use to continue our learning tomorrow! hee hee

So as I reflected, I thought it would be a great visual (for me at least) to look at our district’s rubrics and match up how today’s work addressed the expectations therein.  Check out how many ways this simple blogging challenge touched our 1st grade standards:

Reading

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Writing

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 8.03.56 PM Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 8.04.08 PM Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 8.04.23 PM Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 8.04.49 PM Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 8.04.59 PM Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 8.05.20 PM

Speaking and Listening

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 8.07.04 PMScreen Shot 2015-01-28 at 8.07.37 PM

Learning Behaviors and Study Skills

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 8.09.33 PMScreen Shot 2015-01-28 at 9.07.58 PMScreen Shot 2015-01-28 at 9.08.08 PMScreen Shot 2015-01-28 at 9.08.20 PMScreen Shot 2015-01-28 at 9.08.28 PMScreen Shot 2015-01-28 at 9.08.36 PM  So needless to say I am tired tonight!  I’m pretty sure my kids are, too! The amount of grit they had to use to make today happen and accomplish the HUGE goal set before them was great.  And while I know that I am a little biased, I’d say that today was definitely a day we can say we worked to get a little closer to helping Rm. 202 kids meet this mission of Robinson School:

CAM01331What did you do for your 100th day?  What have you heard from Rm. 202 kids about their day?  Please share your thoughts with us!  We’re learning how blogging is all about the conversation, and we’d love to start a conversation with YOU! 🙂

100th Day Questions

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.

6. Read Aloud–I know that Read Aloud has been a focus around here lately, so maybe we’ll read 100 pages in our book on Wednesday, too, as a way to celebrate a great story together!

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! 🙂