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## Holy cow, Day 100 is right around the corner!

There are loads of ideas on Pinterest and teaching blogs all over the internet. The hard part is choosing the best stuff without having to spend a month on Day 100!

In the Common Core State Standards, most of the second grade focuses on Numbers and Operations in Base Ten. Day 100 is a great day to celebrate the concepts of Place Value and Base Ten. Luckily, most of these activities go right along with these standards for this level!

Last year I posted about my tradition: Day 100 Caroling!  We really do go from classroom to classroom and sing a song. I wish I could share all the songs I've collected, but they're not mine to share, but I'd be glad to share my own: 100 Days Smarter. I think it's a nice reminder of all the work we've done so far this year! Plus, music, movement, and fun are all ways to help the brain remember things! Day 100 Caroling is one thing that kids tell me they remember about being in my second-grade classroom.

Here's an activity we've already been playing for a couple of weeks, since it's directly related to what we're working on in Math. (Adding and subtracting with 2 digits.) They really need to master the idea of adding and subtracting tens, and this freebie game is doing the trick!  Beanie Toss to 100

For some of my kids, I need to challenge them with more complex computations. This game is a popular one, and makes them think. With my second graders, I have them figure out the number they're waiting for ahead of time, but older kids probably wouldn't need to do that. I Have... Who Has...? gives the children practice figuring out compliments of 100.  (57 +  = 100)

Color-Coded Number Grid There are tons of games that can be played on the Number Grid! My favorite is simply Race to 100 with dice or Race from 100 with dice. The children roll two dice and proceed along the number line from 0 to 100. The subtraction version has them starting at 100 and counting backward to 0. The conversations that go along with these games are as valuable as the number grid itself. For more of a challenge or a quicker game, use 3 or 4 dice!

Again, with second graders, I want to celebrate 100 with more than just counting to 100. This game gives the children practice adding and subtracting 100 to 4-digit numbers.

Want to make your life easier? Grab this bundle! It's got a little bit of everything, for lots of math levels and interests!
And, of course, a few books for the occasion! Explore each image for an affiliate link to Amazon to learn more about the book! I never miss an opportunity to include literature in my math lessons.  My students love books!

### Writing Thank You Notes

When we left before our holiday vacation, we had just had our holiday party, and lots of gifts were given to the class. (Instead of giving gifts to each other, everyone brought in a gift for the whole class! We got recess games, craft materials, gluesticks, whiteboard markers, books, crayons, erasers, and more!)

My college-aged daughter came in to help out at the party, and one of her tasks was to keep a list of who gave what present to the class.  (Just like a wedding shower!)

## It's time for the thank you cards!

I think Thank You Notes are becoming a lost art. But they are worthwhile and valued.

The parts of a Thank You note:

The Heading:  since this is a note, not a letter, all that's needed is the date, not an entire return address.

The Greeting:  Dear ______,  that's it! (Don't forget the comma!)

The Body:  I was always taught that the body of a thank you note has two basic sentences.
The first sentence is very specific:  Thank you for the _______.  The only time you're not very specific is when it's money or a gift card.  Then you just say thank you for the money.
The second sentence tells what you are going to do with the item.
It's ok to add another sentence or two, just friendly stuff, but those two sentences are essential to a thank you note.

The Closing:  Your friend,  Your classmate, Sincerely, or if you're writing to family... Love, (Don't forget the comma!)

## That's it!

I made a few Thank You Note Cards for you to copy. Just fold the pages to make them into card form.  You can download this a sampler HERE.

For a more comprehensive set of Thank You Note Cards, see HERE:

## Enjoy writing your Thank You notes!

### How NOT to Read Fluently

Today, my students spent some of our reading time practicing fluency. Especially at this time of year, I go out of my way to make it fun. (Brain research shows us that "fun" is a big motivator, but I think teachers knew that before the research was done!)

There are 4 important parts to fluency:

1. automaticity in word recognition
2. accurate word recognition
4. prosody, or expression
We started today with a demonstration of what NOT to do when reading. I demonstrated reading too fast, not stopping for punctuation, mispronouncing words without going back to fix it, and using a monotone- no expression at all.

There were lots of giggles.

Then I modeled the proper way to read. I read smoothly and accurately. I kept an appropriate pace, and I gave it meaning as I read it. This time, instead of giggles, I got applause! (I admit, I have my class well trained!)

I thought this activity would be perfect to put into my emergency sub plans. It's got limited materials (just books for kids, which I'm sure you have!) and is a skill that needs to be practiced frequently. This is the type of activity that can be repeated several times during the year. I've typed up the directions for you to download and put into your own emergency plans. Just see here or the image below. How NOT to Read Fluently

For more ideas for substitute activities, see THIS POST

Enjoy!

### Hanukkah Game Board

This game can be used in many ways in the classroom!

Brain research tells us that frequent repetition helps bring information from the short term memory to the long term memory. (Rather than "Practice Makes Perfect", I prefer "Practice Makes Permanent"!)

I use board games like this to practice sight words, math facts, sentence fluency, task cards, or any skill that needs practicing! The children just roll one die, but before they can move their place marker that many spaces, they have to perform a task. I sometimes have a selection of cards the children can choose from, and sometimes I have a specific skill for them to practice. Here are some ideas for practice cards: Practice Card Bundle, Word Work Bundle, or Reading Celebration Game.

To practice the important skill of reading nonsense words, try this resource: Hanukkah Two Syllable Nonsense Word Game.

Want a little more on Hanukkah and other seasonal holidays? Try this collection of informational texts and Winter Holidays Reader's Theater

or looking for something digital?
Try this Boom Learning

## Illustrating is a great way to build reading skills!

I often have my students do some illustrating when I want to make sure they really "get" a concept.

It forces them to visualize what they're learning.
Brain research tells us that visualizing helps the memory and deepens understanding.

Brain research also tells us that adding an element of fun helps them remember as well... and don't kids love to draw?

Add some classical music in the background, and the brain is more activated!

Want to add a little more assurance that the kids are learning?
Let them talk about what they're drawing and why!

I have several resources I use with my students that get the kiddos illustrating.

Figurative Language can be very tricky for little ones to learn! It takes a lot of conversation before they are ready to illustrate, but it's important that they "get" these confusing phrases. Once the instruction happens, the illustration really helps them to GET it!

There's this Mini-book about Healthy Habits.
This resource is the result of much research on health and children. It has 10 pages written in child friendly language.

My own students have been working on this one this week, and have come up with some incredible ideas!

I also have a set of homophones for the children to illustrate.  These can be tricky for most kids, but in order to draw the different meanings, they have to deeply understand the different meanings.

That involves a lot of conversation as well as thinking, but once they've got it, they've GOT it!

As children are "social animals", they tend to remember not only their own pair of homophones, but the homophones their friends did as well!

I've got another set of word pairs for illustrating as well... these are homographs!  Just like the homophones, these are tricky, but once they've got them, they've GOT them!

Another advantage to these individual sheets that the children illustrate... they make great visual displays for bulletin boards!  I've had many compliments on the work of my students on these!

They also make awesome class books!

Another advantage? These are great for the sub tub! Just run off the set and leave it in the emergency sub folder!  Plus, they work for a variety of ages and levels. (Fifth graders are NOT too old to draw, they love it!)

Of course, any illustrating is enhanced by music. May I suggest this one?  (Click image for a link to Amazon!)

## Ever notice that wonderful feeling that comes from doing something for others?

I suspect you know it well,
since that's what teaching is all about!

I decided, instead of just a "Countdown to Christmas", I wanted to do a more special countdown.

I made this Acts of Kindness Holiday Countdown Set, which is a paper chain countdown with a twist - each link of the chain is an act of kindness to be done by the child, each day between now and Christmas!

First, the children will choose a "topper". There's a star, a tree, and a Christmas Bear. The topper is mounted on a piece of construction paper or tagboard, and a slit is cut near the bottom to hold the first link. Personally, I think this guy is going to need some glitter, and a big red bow at the top to tie him to a special countdown spot! (You could also design your own toppers!)

The "How Many Days" poem goes on the back. I think this needs glitter, too!

Next, the children can put the individual strips into a chain, putting just the right amount so that one can be removed per day until Christmas. These can be printed on colored paper, or simply print on white paper and let the children decorate each link on the chain. (with glitter?) (Again, you or your students can make up their own acts of kindness as well!)

It's a fun challenge to let the children figure out how many links to put on. Make sure you know the correct amount, but it's interesting to see their strategies!

As another act of kindness, I always apologize ahead of time to the custodians when I plan to use glitter. Plus, I've trained my students on using the dustpan to make the custodian's job a little easier!

I have to admit, I'm excited about my new resource, and can't wait to put them together with the kids!

## Ever have one of those activities that's a win-win?  It's something that works so well, that you keep bringing it back year after year.

I've always loved the music from The Nutcracker. When my daughter was 5, I figured she was old enough to go into Boston to see the Boston Ballet perform the classic. We read a few versions of the story so she'd know what to expect, put on our very best holiday dresses, and drove into the city.

Since I knew the story so well, I brought the CD into school, and shared the story with my students. I wrote this summary of the classic story, and played the music while the children visualized what it must look like, then illustrated the different parts of the story.

Every year, the children loved the activity, and it practiced some valuable skills: visualizing, summarizing, and sequencing. Plus, it gives them some exposure to classic holiday literature and classical music. Of course, you can't miss when the setting is called, The Kingdom of Sweets!

A couple of years after seeing the production in Boston, my daughter had the opportunity to audition for a production of The Nutcracker. She was in the youngest group, and the little ones had a very small part, but it was priceless. She went on to perform in the Nutcracker 3 years in a row before life just got too busy with other performances. However, the story of The Nutcracker will always be near and dear to my heart.