I love the 100th Day of School! I’ve always loved this day. Teaching junior grades for the past couple of years has meant that I haven’t been able to celebrate this special day that seems to take place in all Kindergarten and Grade 1 classes — and sometimes even some grades past that. Having just finished the 90th day of school, I know that the 100th day is happening very soon (on February 6th), and just the other day, I started to think about our celebration. This is when I got very “uncomfortable.”
Here’s the problem: I started to question why we celebrate this day. I know the connections to math, but practising counting is something that we’ve done all year long. Plus, many of the activity choices that I’ve considered before are not meaningful ones, so the skill development is there, but without the thinking and application. I also have many students in my class that are working on counting to numbers other than 100: either beyond the number because of their understanding of patterning, or less than the number because of other needs.
This thinking got me wondering why do we count down to a day? What are some days that I’ve counted down to before? I couldn’t help but think of Kristi Keery-Bishop‘s tweet from yesterday:
I need to make this learning “real.” And that’s when I thought that the reason that I usually count down to a day is to “celebrate.” But in this case, celebrate what? We could have a party to celebrate the number 100, and then play games and do activities as part of this celebration, but how will this celebration help me meet multiple student needs? How will this celebration incorporate Language and Math, while also providing “voice” and “choice” that I believe are so important? And how will this celebration get my students thinking — really thinking — and solving problems along the way? How will I also provide an authentic audience and “real reason” for their work?
That’s when it came to me. We can celebrate our 100 Days of Learning, by having students create something to show what they’ve learned in these 100 days of school. They don’t have to share everything they’ve learned. They need to pick something, in any subject area that interests them. There also needs to be a Language and a Math component (especially number sense) that ties into what they make. This number sense component can vary depending on students and their needs. For those children that need additional practice of skills, I can continue to work with them on this day … and on other days too. So it’s with all of this in mind, that I began to create this 100 Days of Learning Innovation Day/Maker-Ed Challenge. Here’s my thinking in my Explain Everything Screencast that I made early this morning.
I just realized that the 100th Day of School is also a Friday, which means that it’s Family Fridays. Parents are invited in to join us at the end of the day to learn along with us. On this Friday, parents can be the audience for our work. They can ask us questions about our learning and celebrate in what we share. Students can also go around and see what their peers made, and hear more of the thinking behind what they created.
Reconsidering the 100th day has been hard for me, but the more that I think aloud, the more that I believe that it’s what’s right for my class. How do you celebrate the 100th day of school? How do you make this learning meaningful? Why do you make these choices? I’d love to hear more about your thinking, as I further contemplate a very different plan than I’ve ever had before.