Thursday, 8 August 2013

Taking a swing at 100 day

I didn’t plan to write this blog.  I was responding to a comment posted in something I wrote a year ago,   Rethinking Calendar.   It occurred to me that the response was really an entire post, like it or not.   Tammy asked what the stickers on my Year Long Calendar were. 

On the Twitter,  people are passionate. Right now,  lots of debate around Classroom Behavior Systems.  About calendar and all its inherent evil.  About technology from the git go.  So I thought I might take a swing at 100 day : )  

I drop 100 balloons on my ks every year.  They go batcrap crazy.  You know that you can hit as hard as you want with a balloon, right?  That your teacher’s hair will stand straight up.  That you can actually giggle until you pee a little bit.  

Getting ready for 100 day looks pretty standard.  Number lines, popsicle sticks (those make me cranky, so never used ‘em), collections of 10s. Everyday, at calendar time.  I’ve used stones, unifix cubes.  Stickers on calendars.  Always comforting the ks who worry that there is no 101 day. Or that they will be shipped off to Grade One.  

Then one year I forgot to keep track.  Opps.  In December I was pondering my options.  By January I knew I had better do something.  The sacredness of counting everyday we were in school was in jeopardy.  And seriously,  you cannot fake a daily routine into a 5 year old world.  They are gonna notice.  Why yes Ks, that 75 piece caterpillar just magically appeared on the weekend : ) 

So that year, we pulled apart an old calendar.   It was the beginning of my exploration in using a full year calendar rather than one month.  We figured out how many days we had been in school.  Messy, mistakes, and even then we double checked with another class and we were still wrong.  It didn’t matter.  We were on track. 100 Day was saved.  

But it helped me to see that counting each day, on the day, was routine, but not real.   

Last few years we didn't keep track at all.  One year we were doing a Paper Chain Investigation for the Big Kids when it came up. Another year a big buddy mentioned it.  I’ve come to see the Grade Ones are really the focus for 100 Day in my mind, so last year they came in and showed off every time they reached a milestone to 100.  

We did get into a big discussion about when Half Way Day was.  Not halfway to 100 easypeasy™, but half way through our year together,  thanks to a twitter conversation with @happycampergirl.      We folded our year long calendar.  We used cubes. We were down the long hall breaking counters into halves.  We had the discussion about if the weekends count.   No matter what way we did it, we missed the latest possible Half Way Day by 4 days : )  

So.  I still drop 100 balloons on the ks heads.  They still bring in a collection of 100 things.  I always ask how they gathered it. One k informed me that her collection must be magic because it just showed up on her table that morning.  But 100 Day is for our Grade One classes.  It is their baby.  I am happy to let it go for my weeds.  

I am not one to dole out advice.  I still think of myself as a newbie, 26 years in.  But I am not. I have had years of reflection and mistakes. Of trial and error. Of thought and sweat and monumental screw-ups.  Of blindly going where no one else would go. I come to many of the things that I do with the weight of experience behind me, sometimes blinding me. 

So. As you read the 101 blogs pulling in 102 directions. As you ponder the Behavior System, What?!! No Calendar, Dump 100 Day,  Cute vs No Cute, please remember. 
It takes time.  

Time to find yourself in the children that you teach.  Some things can wait.  You will find the thing that cannot wait.  Do that.  Because there will be a child, a moment, a conversation, that creates a shift in your thinking.   There is power in that.  But it takes time.  

More than 100 days sometimes : )  


  1. You've created a shift in my thinking that I'm excited to explore this year. Thank you for that!
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  2. Excellent. Thank you! As a teacher about to start her 30th year of teaching, I so appreciate your combination of fresh/new and experience. I have had to work harder to maintain that attitude lately. Thank you for the motivation and inspiration!

  3. You just hit 100 nails on the head!

  4. Mardelle, I've always privately questioned the things we (our school) do in Kindergarten and wonder if they really are appropriate. Back then I was afraid to challenge the status quo, often i just stayed on the band wagon because I didn't know any better and there was also no one else around who knew any better either. Now, 6 years in at the elementary level, 4 of them being in K, I'm ready to openly question everything we're required to do and challenge them. If it changes nothing else at least I would have spoke my mind and start the gears turning in other teachers heads. thanks for this post.

  5. We have also let go of 100 day and decided to let it be more special for grade one. I agree that we need to rethink calendar and I have shortened mine substantially in the last few years. Partially due to boredom - mine and the students. I have used the extra time for more meaningful pursuits.