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Learning from a Major Milestone: The 100th Day of School |®

Learning from a Major Milestone: The 100th Day of School

For kids, education is a series of milestones, most of which come at the end of the year. But one important moment comes early in the second semester: the 100th day of school. If you’re a K–2 teacher, you know the importance of this date. While students of any age (and their teachers) like the idea of being more than halfway through the school year, getting to the 100th day is extremely important to children in the early grades — especially in kindergarten.

For our littlest learners, the number 100 still seems impossibly huge, if not actually magical. And many teachers have great ideas turning that magic into learning. Here are some ways to do it.

Math Activities

“Celebrating the 100th day of school with fun activities centered around the number 100 will keep students engaged and make mastering math standards meaningful for them,” says teacher Gilda Batista of Learn It Systems in Fort Lauderdale, FL. “For example, one of my favoring activities is having students count 10 food items and place them in a zipper bag to enjoy as a snack. After counting 10 from each category, they’ve counted to the number 100 and have a great snack to enjoy.”

For older students, have them calculate 100 days in different time values, like hours, minutes, seconds, weeks, percent of a year, etc. This can be done individually or as a whole-class or small-group activity that reinforces division and multiplication.

Literacy Activities

“Reading high-quality children's books extends the knowledge of the celebration,” says Laura Staal, a former elementary school teacher and Reading Recovery specialist, and now a professor in the Department of Educational Specialties at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. “For example, to celebrate the 100th day of school, consider reading counting books like The Cheerios Counting Book by Barbara Barbieri McGrath or Miss Bindergarten Celebrates the 100th Day of Kindergarten by Joseph Slate.

Challenge your second- and third-graders to write a 100-word story. Show them examples of 100-word pieces and use them to introduce concepts like word choice, length and revision. Encourage them to draft quickly and then talk about how to improve their pieces by adding in, editing out or rewriting. Try to draft, revise and publish in one block! This short activity also enables you to work through an entire piece in a short period of time.

Review Activity

You don’t have to cover new content to glean instructional value from the 100th-day observance. Use the occasion to review accomplishments of the year so far. Perform this retrospective as a whole class, referencing past units and reviewing their key concepts. Ask students to offer up what they liked most, were most challenged by or are still confused by. This not only gives you a great way to acknowledge important achievements, but it can also serve as a good opportunity for goal setting.

Teachers at all grades can benefit in some way by observing the 100th day of school. Just days into the second semester, and usually in the middle of winter, it’s often dark and cold outside and the freedom of summer (or even spring break) seems a long way away. A little celebration is a great way to motivate kids to get back into the swing of learning and build momentum to get through the rest of the year.

Steve Peha is the founder of Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc., a North Carolina–based consultancy specializing in innovative approaches to educational change. In addition to working in hundreds of schools and teaching in thousands of classrooms, he is also an award-winning writer and educational software developer. Follow Steve on Google+.

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