100 DAYS! - by Cindy Shoaff

Mar 26, 2018


            Every year we celebrate the 100th Day of school in First Grade.  It is probably the most anticipated day of the whole year for the class.  On the very first day of First Grade we place a counter on the number one spot of our counting chart.  Every day during calendar, the “Top Banana” for the day gets to move that counter over one space.  In the beginning it seems a little slow moving, I’m not gonna lie.   One day in First Grade.  Two days in First Grade.  Three days.  5 days.  12 days.  You get the picture.  But, then, before you know it, we have reached some bigger numbers.  We are becoming experts at skip counting and odd and even numbers and place value, so we find all kinds of cool ways to talk about our number of the day.  We write in the sky with our fingers.  We trace it onto our arms with “invisible” marker (ie our fingers again).  Pretty soon, we find ourselves inching closer and closer to that magical number “100” and we start to get REALLY excited.  Some of my briliant little Firsties start making deductions and observations on their we only have 13 more days until 100!  The 100 Day will be on a Tuesday, Mme. Rob!   We will get to 100 in February!   I am impressed and I can’t help but share in their anticipation.   I have promised that the 100th Day will be “a lot of fun” and not like ANY other day of school. 


When the big day finally arrives, we are ready to celebrate.  We make colorful hats and fruit loop necklaces.  ( I love that we aren’t too cool for fun stuff like that yet.  We wear our 100 gear proudly out the gate for the whole world to see and be jealous of when school lets out!)  We make self portraits of how we think we’ll look if we are ever 100 years old and write about what we will (and more often won’t!) do at that age.  We play games and color and jump around and make things. and read books.....all centered around our favorite number of all time – 100!!!!  We even get to eat special treats for snack.  100 DAY CUPCAKES!  What’s not to love about that?


   At the end of every day in First Grade, when the work is finished and it’s time to get ready to end the school day, I always say, “Ok First Grade.  It’s time to clean your desk.”  And we start getting ready to pack up for home.  Most days when I make that announcement, I get some cheers.  We have worked hard and we are ready for lunch and home and rest.  But, on this particular day, the 100th Day, when I announced “time to clean your desks”, the whole class let out a disappointed cry.  “Oh no, Mme. Rob!!!  I want to STAY.  I don’t want this day to be over!”   And then I know for certain, the day did not disappoint.  Their hopes and expectations for this 100th Day were met – maybe even exceeded.  And I claim VICTORY!  


            I’ll be honest, planning for that day takes a lot of time.  I spend many hours tracing and cutting and prepping materials.  I want the day to be exciting and different and fun.  I want the work and learning that we do to be carefully hidden among all the activities so that it doesn’t feel like work at all – but rather, just like a big party all day.   And it’s totally worth it.  


            I can say, without a doubt, that First Grade is my happy place.  Don’t get me wrong.  It’s hard.  It can be very challenging.  It takes patience and creativity and stamina.   Sometimes it is pretty exhausting.  When 31 six year olds are all calling your name and wanting your attention and needing your help – it can get overwhelming.  But, it means 31 kisses good morning, and 31 prayers at snack.  It’s 31 readers reading all by themselves and 31 smiles when I get the sparkly stickers out.  It’s 31 cheers when God is the Hero (again!) in our Bible story....31 songs to Jesus...31 hugs at the end of each day.   I’m thankful for each and every day I get to spend with them.