As the students walk in from lunch, I immediately direct them to a large 100 Chart in the middle of our “meeting spot.” (A few kiddos notice Hershey’s kisses on their way to the desired location, and I urge them to come over so I can explain what they’re seeing, and what they will be doing!)
“My friends, you have a mission—a special assignment!” I announce with excitement. “Hiding around Room 6, you will find exactly 100 Hershey’s kisses—each with a number written on it, just like this!” I say while showing the bottom of a candy, labeled with a number.
“Now—here’s your directions,” I say, slowing down for impact. “You can only pick up one candy at a time, and you must bring that one back to the 100 chart. So, you find one, and then you bring it back! Just to be sure… should you go around and grab as many candies as you can find?” I ask.
“No!” students declare.
“Okay—go get your Hershey’s kisses! When you find one, bring it right back here!” I say, sending the students around the classroom but almost “guarding” the Hershey’s Kisses 100 Chart.
Students are all over the class, looking for kisses. At first, I can keep an eye on my biggest turkeys and get them to come to the 100 chart immediately—long before they have hot little handfuls of melted chocolate!
Some kids have an eagle eye for finding chocolate, though, and before I know it, I am working with my little go-getters, helping them find the exact locations on the 100 chart. As kiddos declare, “There’s two 28s!” we realize that the first candy on 28 was actually the number “82.” Hey—this is new for us! The kids are doing so well, and everyone is motivated to find every last candy.
Uh-oh! As the chart is filling up, one of my turkeys brings three mushy candies that have obviously been warmed by a little hand for awhile. We find the matching numbers and set them on the chart.
Before long, ten minutes have passed, and we need to get on to our next festivities. We all team up to find the last few Hershey’s kisses, and, to be honest, there’s one missing wShen we move on to the next activity.
I’m not usually a “center” person when it comes to math. Centers are great—kids tend to stay active and busy—but I know that unless there’s a lot of adults present, at least some centers need to be completely independent, which can mean really simple or basic. Ilove complexity. I can’t help it! But it’s the 100th day, and we have lots of fun counting to practice.
100th Day Crowns
We use sentence strips as the “bands” and a simple 100th Day rectangle to glue on front. I show students how to write their names in the inside of the sentence strip. Then I model using bingo dabbers on 10 strips of 1” X 9” white construction paper, making 10 dots on each strip. We sing our counting by 10s song together, as I motion to the 10 strips along with the song, “We can count by 10s, up to 100. We can count by 10s; ready, here we go! There’s 10, 20, 30. 40, 50, 60. 70, 80, 90, 100!” we sing together. (This song is sung in probably every kindergarten classroom in the country, but I included it just to be thorough. I love “thorough!”)
We move over like a herd to the 100 necklace center, and I demonstrate how to string the Froot Loops on the yarn. (The yarn has been prepared by placing a square of masking tape at one end to keep the cereal from sliding off, and masking tape has been used at the other end to create a sort of “needle” to help slide the cereal on the string.) I take advantage of the opportunity to sneak a little pattern practice into math! I demonstrate counting 5 pieces of cereal in one color, sliding each piece as I count, and then 5 pieces in a second color, and then I string the cereal on in an AB pattern, counting each one to 10 as I go.
I repeat this process with two different colors of cereal, and put those pieces on in a similar AB pattern. To “check where we’re at,” I point to the two different sections as I sing the ever-useful “We can count by 10s” song, “10 -20…” and I ask the kiddos to tell me what would happen next. They walk me through the next group of 10, and I’m feeling confident that at least most of us have the idea of this activity.
A note to simplify this process: rather than make AB patterns, students can also simply string cereal on the yarn in groups of 10. This speeds things up a bit and removes the extra challenge of creating patterns. This is a quick, easy way to differentiate so all students can experience success.
I saw this “recipe” on Pinterest last year, and boy, was it a hit! Thank goodness for Little Miss Kindergarten and the free download. I downloaded this fantastically simple but fun snack mix, made copies for each student, and then placed our 10 delicious flavors in separate bowls—one for each of the ten kinds of items—and tah-da! It’s done!
I show the kiddos how I wash my hands before I begin. Then, with clean hands, I count exactly 10 of each item and place them in my baggie. (I “cook” with the kiddos every week, so they know that we never put our fingers in our mouths or our noses while we “cook” in kindergarten. I remind them this is a special kind of “100 Cooking” and the same rules apply.) I practice writing “10,” “20,” “30,” etcetera, on my 100 snack mix recipe paper before I munch on my snack.
(I’m not a germaphobe, really, but there’s something about 23 kindergartners putting their hands in bowls of “stuff” that makes me decide that the stuff should remain entirely for the kindergartners. It is now theirs. So I find an old container and mix it all up to be “100 Flavor Snack” for the kindergartners to enjoy… for a long time. They love it, and snack is taken care of for weeks!)
Students are divided to go to the 3 activities, and they are busy and productive. All over the room, you can hear counting, singing the “We Can Count by 10s” song, and double-checking their patterns. I stay at the 100th Day Crowns activity to staple the crowns together. They’re a little lopsided, but the kindergartners wear them with pride!
The key to a successful 100th day is volunteer help. The more help you have, the more you can do. This year, I’m limited to one absolutely amazing volunteer, our former classroom assistant who happens to be a grandparent of a student! Some schools are blessed with lots of parent volunteers, but my school is not one of them. Here’s my secret to recruit more “volunteers:” make friends with college professors (if you have a college nearby) and be really nice to the students who need “hours” in a classroom. They will come back and volunteer if they really love early childhood! (This year, unfortunately, the new semester is beginning as we have our 100th day, so my crew of student volunteers is unavailable.)
A simple activity that we have sitting out for the fast finishers is a 100th Day Graphing activity, also downloaded for free from the internet. Thank you, MadebyTeachers.com, for this very nice, easy-to-use graph!
I have cut 1” X 9” strips in 10 different colors to create a 100 link chain. It’s all set to go, but we just don’t get to it this year. It’s another easy, fun activity, and it looks great hanging around the students’ 100 Collections. (The 100 Collections are a great family project we do each year.)
Some years, we use a “HAPPY 100TH DAY!” poster with 100 2” X 2” squares that students glue all over the banner. We hang that in the hallway under the 100 collections just be to super festive.
There are really so many wonderful 100th day activities to do, but the secret is to over-plan, to have lots of things for kiddos to do. Even with our limited activities, it felt like a party, and the kids were calling our math “the 100th Day Party.”
After a 2-minute warning, we finish our activities for the day. Kiddos are proudly wearing their necklaces and crowns, and some little turkeys are just scarfing away at their snacks. I remind them that they get to keep their stuff—including their snacks—and they can take their creations home. They smile.
When asked about favorite activities, there’s a big variety of energetic, happy responses. Students love all of the activities, it’s clear, which is so nice to hear. (Knowing I had limited manpower, I chose my activities carefully. The students reassure me that I seem to have chosen wisely. Whew!)
We talk about counting, (which was really at the heart of this entire day). Some kiddos say they counted “all the way to 100” when they did their dots or put snacks in their bags. Nice! Many students say they sang the “We can count by 10s” song a lot. I seize the moment and ask if it was helpful, and they say, “Yes!” It is important that we use strategies, I say with a smile.
“This has been a big day! We will get better and better at counting!” I announce.