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100th Day of School Activities for Upper Elementary

100th Day of School Activities for Upper Elementary

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The 100th Day of School is rapidly approaching...or it might actually already have come! Either way, it is a day for celebration and documenting the learning that has happened this year! It’s one of the only days in the school year where you can ask your students, “What have you learned in these 100 days of school?” and they’ll actually give you a decent answer! 

There are SO MANY ways to celebrate the 100th Day of School, but, to me, the most important thing is TO CELEBRATE! I know that you have mountains of grading, the looming observations, 10527 days of indoor recess, and an overflow of standards to teach before the dreaded standardized testing. But, you also have 30 kids who are still kids, and adding in some fun activities where they’re still learning is SO important, and it will make such a difference! So, here are my favorite 100th Day of School Activities for Upper Elementary.

100th Day of School Activity: Dressing Up

You may get some preteen eye rolls when you talk to your students about dressing up for the 100th Day. But know that really, they’re excited, especially when they find out that YOU’RE dressing up too!

Dress like you’re 100 years old!

I did this with my fourth graders, and we had a BLAST! Oh my goodness, I was blown away by their creativity! (And I was pretty excited for the challenge to draw on some wrinkles and gray my hair!) 

Students came in with hats, glasses, cardigans, walking sticks, collared shirts, baby powder in their hair, and it looked like I had a class of 100-year-olds instead of 10-year-olds! The student who took the cake though had his parents shave the top of his head, so it looked like he was balding!! HILARIOUS!!

Make a shirt with 100 things on it!

This is a 100th-day activity I did with my kindergarten classes, but the older kids would definitely have fun with it too! Task your students to add 100 of something to a shirt and wear it to school. I’ve had students cut 100 things out of magazines and attach them to the shirt. Others have poked 100 earrings into a shirt. It’s incredible to see the things they come up with!

Don’t forget to have a fashion show on the morning of your 100th day to show off their creations!

100th Day of School Activity: Morning Meeting

Morning Meeting is a must for me every day of the year, but I like to amp it up a little more on the 100th day! Here’s what I usually do for the 100th Day of School Morning Meeting:

Morning Meeting Greeting: If we’re all dressed like we’re 100 years old, we’ll act that way as we greet each other. Also, you can have students pass a greeting around the circle and say, “Happy 100th Day, (name)!” To make it even more fun, create a handshake like touching 1 finger, and then make a zero with your hand and bump hands twice, to make 100!

Morning Meeting Share: Make a list of things they have learned this 100 days of school or 100 fun memories. You can also have students share what they would like 100 of and what they would NOT like 100 of.

Morning Meeting Activity: You can prepare some 100-second challenges for students to complete (How many times can you jump rope in 100 seconds? How tall can you build a tower in 100 seconds? How many marshmallows can you stack in 100 seconds? etc.). Or you can put students into groups and give them 100 plastic cups, 100 blocks, or 100 strips of paper, and see what they can create! 

Morning Meeting Message: Here are some sample prompts you can use - choose one to write on the board and have students answer! 
If you were given $100,000, what would you do with it?
If you could travel to 100 places, where would you go?
Would you prefer to travel in time back 100 years or forward 100 years? Why?
What would you like to accomplish before you are 100 years old?

If you need help maximizing your Morning Meeting time or making it run smoothly, sign up for my free Morning Meeting training:

100th Day of School Activity: Centers

I have to say, after several years of planning and teaching on the 100th day of school, centers are my favorite part of the day! You can combine all of your favorite activities for the 100th day of school and make them engaging for your students. I have several different stations planned so students can rotate through them for a couple of hours. They can be reviewing concepts as well as having fun! These 100th day of school math activities, reading activities, and writing activities and more are low prep and easy to do independently.

100th Day of School Task Cards

Task cards make centers so much easier! They give the students exactly what they need to do while providing choices and adding a fun element. I created these 100th Day of School task cards for your classroom:

These task cards are broken up into eight categories, so you could have eight centers! I’ve included discussion prompts, place value tasks, operations tasks, measurement word problems, writing prompts, craft activities, ELA tasks, and 100-second challenges. They make your life easier by just having to prep the task cards, instead of trying to come up with your own centers!

The task cards review several 4th and 5th grade standards that they will need to know for the state tests soon. But they can be used for third and sixth grade too! If you need to add or change any of the task cards, I’ve also included editable task cards. All you need to do is type in your tasks and print them like normal!

Instead of using the task cards for different centers, you can also use them for a game like Jenga, where they pick a block that’s a certain color and then pick a task card of that color to complete.

100th Day STEM Challenges

All kids love building and making things, and the 100th day is a great time to let them do that! I love adding in a couple of centers that challenge students to think creatively and work together to make something.

The classic is giving students 100 plastic cups to create something using all of them, and I can tell you from experience that the older students love this as much as the younger ones do! 

Give your students 100 dominoes and see if they can create a chain reaction! This also became a favorite indoor recess activity for my students! You can also challenge students to create a structure out of 100 blocks, popsicle sticks, legos, etc. Basically, whatever you have lying around can become a STEM challenge!

100th Day Writing Projects

There are so many fun writing projects you can assign to your students. One of our favorites in fourth grade was taking a picture with the Oldify app, and then writing about what life will be like when we are 100 years old!

You can also have students use 100 words exactly to write a letter to someone or write about the 100 places they want to visit. You can also give them the prompt of what would life be like if we lived 100 years ago or who would you bring for dinner if you could bring 100 people, dead or alive?!

A fun extension of the writing is having the students record themselves reading their writing as a video in Chatterpix or another app. It adds a technology piece to the project and keeps them engaged in their writing longer!

Other 100th Day of School Activities

Here are some other great ideas that you may find useful:

What are you planning for your 100th day? Don’t forget to pin this image to reference year after year so you can repeat your favorite 100th day of school activities! Happy 100th Day of School!!

The Journey up the Mountain

I’ll be honest…this post is unlike most of the other’s you’ll read on my blog. It’s very candid- as if we were sitting down at a coffeehouse together. It’s time that I share this part of my life with you. I was scrolling through pictures from 2018, and I happened on one that stopped me in my tracks. It’s a selfie from a year ago, and it’s got me all up in my feelings. Here’s the story behind the picture…

The Journey to the Foothills

Ever since I was a little girl, doctors’ offices had been a very familiar place for me. I’m not going to get into it all here, but one of the doctors I was seeing was an eye doctor because I was born with something called Dwayne Syndrome.

Dwayne Syndrome looks different for different people, but for me, my right eye could never track over to the right. The muscles didn’t work quite right, and even when I tried, the eyeball wouldn’t budge past the center. It never bothered me as a kid, but it was always there.

As I got into my teens, whenever I would get really stressed, the eye would basically scream I NEED REST by pulling in to the center of my face. The muscles would get so tired that they would give up and I could feel my eyeball out of place. It was uncomfortable and I felt self-conscious about it. The only way to reset it was sleep. And, of course, this would happen at the most inopportune times. My doctor said that whenever I felt like I needed it, we could try surgery to pull the eye back to center, but there were no guarantees it would stay that way.

The Start of the Climb

Fast forward to my twenties and, in a series of about five years, the muscles of my eye got tighter and pulled the eyeball in more and more. Again, I had no control over this, and it became a constant. I had to turn my head to feel like I was looking at you straight on (even though I wasn’t aware of this). I had to switch from contacts to glasses because my eye wouldn’t even function with something in it. And it kept pulling closer and closer into the inner corner.

At one point, around two years ago, we (my parents and I) decided to pursue surgery. I was starting to have double-vision with my glasses (found out it was because of a too-strong prescription) and I had a hard time feeling “normal” or confident because my eye was such an “eyesore”.

Where the Rubber Meets the Rocks

If you were around on Instagram for that part of the story, you know how it went. If not, the cliff notes version is that I saw 3 doctors in 3 months over the summer when I was back in the US. And…everyone said something different. My doctor of 20 years didn’t recommend surgery because I wasn’t having double vision (why fix it when I could still see straight?). Another doctor in Omaha recommended surgery on BOTH eyes and said the good eye would pull the other eye back to center (Uhm, NO THANK YOU! What if we mess up my good eye?!). 

But the final doctor I saw (at the Mayo Clinic) gave me hope of having a straight eye with little to no double vision without having to operate on both eyes, and I felt like it was time to go that route and have him perform surgery. He was very knowledgeable and had done a lot of research on Dwayne Syndrome. He made me feel heard and positive about what surgery could do for me.

At this point, the plan was to have surgery in December. During the Fall, I tried to get insurance coverage for this out-of-state surgery, to no avail. Another roadblock; and I was BUMMED. But, as a final attempt, we went back to my original doctor, told him about what the 3rd doc said (turns out they know each other), and he said he’d be willing to give it a shot.

But he has a more realistic and conservative outlook, and he made sure I knew what I was getting myself into. He wanted me to try something to gauge how my eyes would do with surgery because he thought that I would end up with double-vision for months because my eyes wouldn’t be able to readjust. He had the prism seen in the picture put on my eyeglass to mimic how my eye would see post-surgery. #mindblown #thankGodformodernmedicine He told me to wear it as much as possible over the next month, and then I could make the decision whether or not to have surgery based on how my eye felt and adapted.

Let me tell you, I was NOT excited about this! First of all, all of this work could end in a big fat nothing, if my brain wouldn’t be able to adapt. Second, I felt like I looked like a robot, and looking through the prism for the first couple of weeks was really hard. My mom was with me at this appointment, and afterward, we went and got Starbucks and sat in the massage chairs at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for an hour and cried. I can look back on this moment now and laugh about it, but I was not happy then.

But the wing 3 of my 2 personality (comment below with your Enneagram number! I love talking about it!) wanted to do this 110%. I wore that thing all day long. Even when I felt self-conscious. Even when I wanted to pull it off. Even when I couldn’t see very well. And…it got better! My vision adapted, and by the end, I could see pretty well out of it. I knew that surgery was not a sure 100% win, but I felt God saying, “Do you trust me?”

The Hardest Part of the Climb

So, five weeks later, I went into surgery. It was scary, but I knew that God had led me to this at this time. I knew that I could end up with double-vision for months. But I trusted that my Healer would work through the doctors’ hands. And, HE DID.

The Summit

Recovery wasn’t easy at first. My eye was swollen shut for a good week. And then, almost two weeks in, I had this crazy pain on the outside of my eye one morning…I couldn’t even open it. It turned out to be a suture that got loose. But it allowed me to go in to see my doctor a couple days early for my two-week post-op. I got to tell him that, less than TWO WEEKS after having this surgery, I had almost NO double vision. WHAAATTTT. And, friend, can I tell you, it was SUCH a testament to God’s divine healing power. My doctor, who we had never in 20+ years of seeing him mention anything about God, said, “Hallelujah! Praise God!” when I told him! He was expecting months of double-vision, if not a lifetime of it.

And, things continued to heal just as expected, if not better. I haven’t had double-vision since February, and my eye is still where it should be. God is SO good and gets ALL the glory!!! Sometimes God heals in a moment, other times it takes years. Sometimes it’s through a touch, other’s it’s through the meticulous hands of a doctor. Friend, if you are waiting for your miracle, know this: IT’S COMING.

If you couldn’t tell, this journey to the summit of this mountain was HARDDD. Probably as hard as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro…in a lot longer time! In the moments of confusion, the unknown, and sadness, I didn’t know why I had to climb the mountain this way. I wondered why there had been so many roadblocks and obstacles to find a way around. There were times when I was unsure that I could reach the summit. But, this trek sure did strengthen my trust and relationship with my Father. And, although I have faith that my eye won’t have any further complications, I know that there’s a possibility of Him calling me to a higher peak. 

We only see a tiny speck of the big picture- what’s right in front of us. It looks like rocks and dirt and sky. God gives us a small task and says, “Trust me.” And when we do our part and keep on holding His hand and take those baby steps one-foot-in-front-of-the-other, He does His and moves mountains. I believe that my testimony of His miraculous healing power and goodness isn’t just for me, it’s for my doctor and so many others too.

Holidays Around the World Made Easy

Holidays Around the World Made Easy

One of my favorite units to teach is about holidays around the world in December. No matter what grade I teach, I include this in my lesson plans, because I love learning and teaching about cultures around the world! Just because this is a busy time of year does not mean you can’t bring holidays from around the world into your classroom! I’m here to help make teaching holidays around the world in December EASY and FUN!

I believe that the more we can weave themes and topics, like Holidays Around the World, into our normal routines, the better our students will understand them and the better our classroom climate will be! We all know how our students tend to get a bit antsy this time of year, so changing up the theme without changing the routine will keep them engaged and having fun! Here are some of my best tips for your Holidays Around the World lesson plans!

Holidays Around the World Easy Room Transformation

You probably just let out a big sigh or rolled your eyes when you read this heading. DON’T CLICK AWAY! I promise this will not be expensive or hard. In fact, you probably already have most of what you need! It doesn’t have to be Instagram-worthy - it can be as simple as sticking some butcher paper up on your wall. YOU DO YOU.
Transforming your room is an EASY way to get students excited and buying into this theme. Here are my favorite ways to transform your classroom for holidays around the world:
  • Get (or make) flags of the countries you will be studying or just a variety of flags. This one on Amazon is less than $10 for 82 feet of flags! Great to hang around your classroom, and, for more impact, intertwine with twinkle lights! Have students try to find the flags of the countries you study, too!
  • Make sure you’ve got a world map to mark your travels!
  • If you want to get fancy, get some school butcher paper and create an airplane outside your door or inside the walls of your classroom!

  • Plastic tablecloths are an inexpensive way to add color! Red seems to be a popular holiday color in several countries, so you may choose to go that route! You can also cover your tables with butcher paper! 
  • See if you can collect some of the holiday icons to display in your classroom, or make them out of butcher paper! I’m sure parents would be willing to let you borrow some items if you need them! You can also draw them on white paper and have the students color them in!
  • Give each student a passport to put a stamp every time you “visit” a new country! Paradise Praises has a free download that looks like it would be perfect! You can also get some blank passports from Amazon

Preparing for Holidays around the World

This unit can be a hefty workload as you research, plan, and execute these lessons. I would recommend asking the students’ families for help! I’m sure they would love to share about their culture’s holiday traditions! You can have them share about their holiday traditions, bring in decorations or important pieces to the holiday, and even bring in traditional food to share! If you’re short on time, you could incorporate that time into a center, where the family member shares to each group of students, instead of the whole class. 

Holidays Around the World in Morning Meeting

Use your class meetings to introduce different holidays around the world that you’re studying! You can have students greet each other with the holiday greeting in each language. If you have a student that celebrates that holiday, you can ask him/her to teach the class how to say the greeting. If you don’t have an in-class resource, you can find most of the holiday greetings for different December holidays around the world on YouTube!

Your activities could be a special activity or game that the culture does around the holidays! This article from Parents.com has ten GREAT games for you. This post has two more that your students would love, to go with Germany and Mexico! You can also have playdough challenges where you give each student some playdough and tell them to make one of the holiday icons in 5 minutes! Then you get to look at all of their masterpieces and see whose creation is the closest to the actual icon!

The message portion of your Morning Meeting would be a great place to incorporate direct instruction of the culture and holiday you’re learning about. You can write a message to your students with information in it, or just have a discussion, show pictures, etc. about the culture and holiday traditions!

Holidays Around the World in Math

It’s easy to integrate Holidays around the World into ELA, but it can prove a bit more difficult for Math. Here are some of my favorite math activities for learning about Holidays Around the World:
  • Have students figure out how far away the countries you are studying are from you! Great for research and working with large numbers. You can also have students figure out the most cost-effective way to get from your town to a place whose culture you’re learning about. This would be a fun and real-world project for older students!
  • Have a math party, or incorporate some of the ideas in this blog post from Around the Kampfire in your math centers! Linda is a genius with these activities!
  • Amanda Stitt has a 5th Grade Math Project which is another great option if you’re short on planning time! It looks amazing!
  • Holidays around the World math building challenge: Use any task cards that your students need practice with along with some sort of block or building material. As students complete a task card, they get three more blocks. As they get blocks they try to build something that goes along with the holiday you’re studying! 

Holidays Around the World Books

Who doesn’t love picture books?! They are such great tools for teaching something new and connect the students to new cultures, concepts, and experiences! Here are some of my favorites for teaching Holidays around the World in December:

Walk this World at Christmastime is a sweet book showing different holiday traditions around the world! 

A World of Cookies for Santa is a great book to kick off the unit. It takes you around the world to see some of the different treats children put out for Santa, and learn about the difference in holiday traditions.

‘Twas Nochebuena is a beautiful depiction of Las Posadas, in the style of the Night Before Christmas. The illustrations are beautiful and I love getting a look into the traditions of this holiday! 

The Story of Hanukkah is a great read when teaching Hanukkah. It’s informative, historical, and kid-friendly. I love the recipe for latkes at the back too! That would make a fun extension if time allows!

The Legend of Old Befana is perfect for teaching the Italian Christmas traditions!

Diwali the Magical Diyas is an enlightening and fun book to learn about Diwali!

Lucia Morning in Sweden is such a wonderful book to learn about Lucia Day and Swedish traditions!

Holidays Around the World in ELA

There are so many fun ways to incorporate Holidays around the World into your ELA block! Here are my favorite activities:
  • Have students read or listen to a book about the holiday, discuss it with a classmate, and respond to it.
  • Use a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast two of the holidays, and then write about the similarities and differences.
  • Come up with holiday vocabulary for students to play games with, memorize, and use in writing.
  • Use Holidays around the World reading passages.
  • Have students research a certain holiday and present their findings to the class or make a video about the holiday and culture.
  • Teach how-to writing and have students write a how-to writing piece on something that they have learned to do from a culture or holiday tradition.
  • For your younger to middle-aged elementary students, work on labeling or writing about each holiday you discover.

Even More Holidays Around the World Ideas

Here are a few more ideas, activities, and resources for your Holidays Around the World lesson plans!
  • I created a Holidays Around the World video playlist on YouTube just for you! Feel free to save it so that you can use the videos year after year!
  • Crafts are also a great idea for Holidays around the World, but they can tend to get tedious after a while. I would recommend having your students choose a holiday to represent through craft at the end of each week, and give them all sorts of materials to make something. But, the twist is to keep the Holidays around the World crafts open-ended! Students will have seen the holiday traditions and items of each culture through books, videos, and lessons. So, why not let them create what they love the most!?! They can be so creative, and it’s a great way to engage the upper grades. 
  • Students can make Holidays around the World journals to keep track of what they learn and write down what they experience. This is a great keepsake to remember these holidays and traditions, and even introduce some to their families at home!

What is your favorite culture and holiday to teach during this time? What do you include in your plans every year that I missed? Let me know below! 

And if you are looking for more holiday ideas and resources, check out these posts:

Happy Holidays!! Don't forget to enjoy this fun, exciting, crazy time with your students!! The countdown to break is on!!