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Getting to the Core

Using A Theme To Count Up To 100-Day

Having a theme in place is a fun way to manage what you’ll do on 100-Day. I have several suggestions in this two-part article to help get you thinking.

caterpillar bulletin board, ideas for counting to 100 day, 100 day interactive bulletin board, back to school ideas, first day of school ideascaterpillar bulletin board, 100 day bulletin board, ideas for counting to 100 day, back to school ideas, ideas for the first day of schoolCaterpillars:

We're Wiggling Our Way To 100 Day!

  • Is a cute way to count up to 100-Day.
  • Make a copy of my caterpillar head out of emerald green construction paper.
  •  Add wiggle eyes, a pink pom pom nose, some pipe cleaners for antennae, stickers for cheeks and draw in a magic marker mouth and you’ve got yourself a beautiful bug.
  •  Cut 50 yellow and 50-lime green cirles from my template to make100-segmented body pieces.
  • Have students vote on a name for their caterpillar creature.
  •  Each day choose a child to write that day’s number on either a yellow or lime-green circle and then add it to the growing body of your caterpillar.
  • ideas for counting to 100, 100 day bulletin board, ideas for back to school, ideas for the first day of schoolHang the caterpillar in the middle of a hallway wall, close to the restrooms.


  •  That way, when students are using the bathroom, you can review patterns and count up to whatever number you’re at, while you wait for everyone to finish.
  • On 100-Day you can have gummy caterpillar-worms as a special treat/snack!
  • Click on the link to view/print 100-Day Wiggles and the things I have related to him.


  • back to school ideas, ideas for the first day of school, butterfly bulletin board, ideas for counting to 100 dayOur second graders study Monarch butterflies in September. 
  • I don’t do butterflies ‘til April, but I thought it would be fun to whip some Fluttering Our Way To 100-Day” stuff together as I LOVE LOVE LOVE butterflies!  If you do too, maybe this is the theme for you!


  •  Perhaps you’d like to toss in a butterfly thing or two with your caterpillars!  After all, metamorphosis could have taken place in those 100 days of counting!  How cute would that be!
  • back to school ideas, ideas for the first day of school, counting to 100 day ideas, butterfly ideas, butterfly bulletin board, Simply draw a big jar (use clipart) on construction paper and cut it out.
  • You can make your jar out of light blue or gray paper and the lid can be wrapped in aluminum foil.  This is a photo of my firefly bug jar.
  • Put my poster (see photo above-left) above or beside your jar.
  • You can make this poster 3-D by cutting two sets of butterflies.
  • Glue only the thorax to the bottom butterfly; fold the wings up and wahla "flying butterly!"
  •  Buy 100 butterfly stickers.
  • Each day choose a student to add a butterfly to the jar.
  • back to school ideas, ideas for the first day of school, ideas for counting to 100 day, september bulletin board ideas
  • On 100-Day choose a “pick me” Popsicle stick that has your students’ names written on them and that child gets to take the poster home as a 100-Day prize!
  •  Just like the blog before, I’m endeavoring to keep things brief, so I have another mini-sub article after this one.
  • Keep scrolling down if you’d like to see more tips on this topic and read about trains and apples as  themes for counting up to 100-Day!

Completing The Main Article

With These Last Two Ideas Numbers 5 and 6

Stamp your way to 100-Day!

Make a 100-Day Banner/Pennant:

  • 100-Day pennants, back to school ideas, ideas to do for the first day of school, counting up to 100 day ideasSimply make a template from my pennant master if you want to make smaller banners out of regular size construction paper.
  • A small banner will fit about 50 stamps on one side so you'll have to print both sides.
  • If you use extra-large construction paper, you can stamp just the front.
  • It's a good idea to make a sample to show students what the end result will look like.

  • Trace the the banners on a variety of light-colored construction paper and then cut them out.
  • Write students’ names in glitter glue or puffy paint for extra pizzazz.
  •  As a center activity, each day have students get their pennant from the “pennant pile”.  This is a safe place (The lid from a copy paper box used as a basket, works great. Place it on a window ledge or shelf).
  •  They take their pennant to the stamping center and put the stamp-for-the-day on it.
  • back to school ideas, ideas for the first day of school, ideas for counting to 100 dayThe stamps can be seasonal.
  • If you’re studying apples, have an apple stamp. Pumpkins are great for October.
  •  Students decide if they want to use different colored stamp pads or have their banners be all one color.
  • I chose brown ink for mine.
  • If a child is absent make sure that you or a student helper stamps theirs.
  •  I have a zillion stamps so this is no problem.  If you don’t, ask other teachers if you can borrow theirs just for the day.
  • You can also combine stamps and stickers, or have students copy and draw a secret symbol that you put on the board for that day.
  • stickers, back to school ideas, ideas for the first day of school, ideas for counting to 100 dayOn 100-Day everyone should have 100-Stamps.
  • Really Good Stuff has a 100-Day stamp perfect for that last day  (“Way Cool!”)
  •  For my 98th day I have a caterpillar with wiggle eyes because we wiggled our way to 100 day. 
  • On the 99th day we metamorped into a butterfly and have fluttered our way to 100 Day.  Let your students make a 3-D butterfly for their banners so the butterflies look like they are popping off the page and flying!
  •  Each child needs 3 stickers to make one.  Students put the 1st sticker down.
  • The second sticker they cut the “thorax” off so they have two wings.
  •  Put the wings back-to-back on the 3rd sticker so only the thorax (middle part of the butterfly) now remains sticky.
  • Press this sticky part down really hard on the middle of the 1st butterfly and rub it with your fingernail.  Fold each of the wings up and crease. Wahla flying butterfly!
  •  If you've used extra-large consruction paper, on 100-Day give them die-cut 100-Day numbers and letters to glue on the back of their pennants.
  • Wow! Everyone has a super keepsake to take home, and you have a fun way to count to 100 as they admire their banner and count the stamps and stickers with you.
  •  You could also punch a hole in each corner and string their pennants up from the hallway ceiling for a few days.
  • Click on the link to view/print the 100-Day banner things.

100-Day Posters:

  • Purchase a poster and X things off or color them in.  Really Good Stuff has magnetic ones that you  can add “things” to.
  • back to school ideas, first day of school ideas, counting to 100 day ideasMy poster is a gumball machine.
  • I keep it on my white board.  I laminated it so that I can reuse it each year.  Everyday as part of our calendar routine someone X’s a gumball.
  • On the 100th Day of school, each child can earn a penny for my real gumball machine. They think it’s “way cool” that I bring a gumball machine to class and let them put a penny in, after they have completed their Table Top lessons.
  • I tell them that they need to “chews” to be a good student all morning, stay on task and complete their work so they can earn that penny to help celebrate the day!
  • They LOVE this idea and are anxious to get down to business. You can order counting up to 100-Day posters from Really Good Stuff.  
  • Unfortunately when I checked, the gumball one was discontinued.
  • Be sure and pop back tomorrow when I’ll be posting “Count to 100-Day with a THEME!” 
  • Lots of creative ideas to get you excited!
  • You'll just love wiggling, chugging and fluttering your way to 100-Day!
  • If you dropped in to see "Wiggles" today he'll be posted tomorrow.  This article, as you can see, needed to be split into many parts!

Counting To 100-Day Continues...

Here are ideas 3 and 4

Drop something into a jar!

back to school ideas, first day of school ideas, counting to 100 day ideas100-Day Jar:

  • The Dollar Store sells all sizes of plastic jars.
  • Buy TWO and have them be your “Counting our way to 100-Day!” jars.
  • Decide what “thing” you want to count and then put them in the jar.
  •  I like the look and feel of marbles and so do my Y5’s.
  • I’m also fond of saying: “Don’t lose your marbles!” for a variety of reasons. (We have the games Hungry Hippos and Hungry Frogs! Arggg to the noise, but they love them.)
  •  Print off my labels. One label says: Counting our way to 100 Day.  The other label says: Counters for !00-Day. 
  •  Think of something easily accessible, that won’t break or spoil and is cheap.
  • You might also want to consider what your “theme” if any, will be, that you are counting to 100 around.
  •  Perhaps you want it to be something the children can have as a prize to be divided among them when it’s 100-Day, or perhaps you want your students to be able to eat what’s in the jar!
  • Put your jars by your calendar center as it’s a nice part of the day to run this into.
  • Click on the link to view/print the 100-Day counting jar things.

back to school ideas, first day of school ideas, ideas for counting to 100 day


Add A Piece To A Puzzle Each Day!

100-Day Puzzle:

  • back to school ideas, ideas for the first day of school, ideas for counting to 100 dayBuy a 100-piece puzzle at The Dollar Store. I just bought a Spiderman one because my Y5 boys LOVE Spiderman and I toss him in during our spider unit. 
  •  The caption over the puzzle will be “We’re caught in a web of learning!” It will be a hint about what the puzzle will be, so they can enjoy making guesses.
  • Also buy a piece of tag board (They sell it there 2 for a Dollar.)
  •  Put the puzzle together on the poster board.
  • When you’re done, flip the puzzle over.

  • Number the pieces.
  • Slide the puzzle off the tag board and trace each piece.
  • Number the pieces on the tag board.
  • Put 10 pieces in snack Baggies and number the baggies.
  • Keep the snack Baggies in 2 large baggies in a basket under the puzzle.
  •  Each day pick a child to put that day’s puzzle piece on the board with a glue dot.
  • If you use peel off glue dots you can re-use the poster.
  •  Since this is so easy and inexpensive I toss the students’ “It’s My Turn” Popsicle sticks in a basket, and have someone choose one. That child gets to take the puzzle home as a 100-Day prize.
  • I let them know this ahead of time so that they can look forward to it.
  • You can also make guessing what the puzzle is, while they are counting up to the big day, a prize thing too.
  •  Scroll down if you want to see the last mini-sub article about 100-Day pennant-banners and posters!
 Fun Projects For You To Make Now

One of the things I work on during the summer is getting my things ready for counting up to 100-Day. I’ve listed some of the “stuff” that I do.  I hope you get a few ideas for your students and become excited for back-to-school.

I’m endeavoring to keep my articles short, so I will post only two ideas on a page.  There are 6 ideas, so keep scrolling down for two more “mini-sub articles” if you want to read all of the tips for this topic!

back to school ideas, ideas for the first day of school, counting up to 100 day ideasback to school ideas, ideas for the first day of school, ideas for counting up to 100 DayIndex Card Booklet:

  • Make an index card-number flip book. You can buy spiral bound, 50-page index packs, at any office supply store. 
  •  Some come in packs of 2, so you can make one for a special teacher-friend as a surprise gift.
  • Tuck in a note that says:  “I’m so glad I can count on you!  Here’s wishing you 100-Days and more, of fun this year!”
  • I like the index cards that come in pastel or neon colors.

  • Office Max has them in a two-pack for $4.79.
  • I made several covers for you to choose from.
  • Print one, cut it out and glue it to the front of the index card.
  • Number them from 1-50 with a WATERCOLOR marker as all others, including a flair, will bleed through.
  • Then flip the pack over and finish writing the numbers 51 to 100 on the back pages.
  •  I’ve also made the little friend note if you opt to buy a two-pack.
  • Tie some curling ribbon around the book, and make someone feel appreciated.
  • Click on the link to view/print the 100-Day index card things.

 back to school ideas, first day of school ideas, counting up to 100 day ideas, counting with sammy snake to 100 dayback to school ideas, first day of school ideas, counting up to 100 Day ideas, Sammy Snake:

  • Count your way to 100-Day With Sammy! 
  • Click on the link to view/print this adorable alliterative tongue-twisting story about Sammy and how he sneaks to school with Sally.
  •  He will slither his way into your heart.  Make an easy sock puppet pal too!
  • Counting to 100-Day with Sammy Snake
  • Scroll down if you want to see the 2nd mini-sub article about 100-Day jars and puzzles.

We’re “Pear Pairs!"

In the above article, I wrote a blog about fun and fair ways to pick partners. 

I was diddling with homonyms and fooling around with the word pear and pair and thought making pears as puzzles would also be a fun way to pick a partner. 

A bunch of alphabet, shape and number pears later, I had a 48-page packet!  Click on the link to view/download Pear Pair Puzzles

 fun ways to pick a partner, back to school ideas, classroom management tipsback to school ideas, fun ways to pick a partner, classroom management tipsThis packet will be free for an entire year, then it will be updated and put in Diane's Dollar Deals in my TpT shop.  Click on the link to pop on over.

Here's What To Do:

Run off the pears on yellow or green construction paper. Laminate the sheets.

    • Cut them out and then cut the puzzles apart.
    • Put the uppercase letters in one bag and the lowercase letters in another.
    • Explain to your students the homonym pears and pairs.
    • Make sure that you only use enough letters as you have children present.
    • Have ½ your students choose a puzzle piece from one bag and the other ½ choose from the other bag.
    • When everyone has a pear puzzle piece, have students go find their partner so they can make a pear pair!
    • This can simply be a game of who can make a pear pair the fastest as a fun review, or as a fun and fair way of choosing a partner for whatever activity you have planned.
    • Keep the pears in separate envelopes when not in use.
    • You can also use them as a Memory Match game, or as an independent matching game.
    • Make an extra set to send home with a struggling child, or make individual booklets and have students TRACE the letters and then take them home to make their own game.
  • I’ve given you a blank set for you to dream up other ways to use them.
  • There is a plain pear as well as one with a face on it.
  • You could make sets for compound words, or contractions.
  • Make up equations on one ½ and answers on the other.
    • back to school ideas, classroom management tips, fun ways to pick a partnerAnother fun “pear pair” is to make a personal one for each student.
    • This is perfect for younger students who need to learn how to recognize their name as a report card standard.
    • Glue a student’s school picture on the top and print their name on the bottom puzzle piece,
    • Scatter the pear pieces on the floor and have students find their photo and matching name as a fun “Name Game Pear-Pair”!
  • You can make a set with a color word on the bottom.
  • Run these pears off on that color of construction paper.
  • You can use these for your word wall or other color activities.
    • back to school ideas, fun ways to pick a partner, classroom management tipsback to school ideas, classroom management, fun ways to pick a partnerI’ve also made a set with a shape matched to a word.
    • These can be used to pick a partner if you are only using a few children. (6 or less.)
    • If you plan to use shape cards for partners, run them off on 4 different colors so that you will have 24 cards.
    • I’ve also made a cover for these, so you can run these sheets off and your students can make a shape puzzle booklet or a game of their own to take home.
    • This booklet is ideal to get some cutting practice in, as it’s only a few pages.
    • Instead of having a rectangular booklet like the letter or number booklet, have students cut out the pears.  Seems perfect, as this is a “shape” booklet!
    • To give this booklet more pizzazz, have your students COLOR the shapes in rainbow colors and then TRACE the shape word in the matching color.
    • This is a fun way to teach the colors of the rainbow and review colors with your students at the same time you are reviewing shapes! (More bang for your “time” buck!)
    • There is also a set with dots and numbers and numbers and number-words.
    • I’ve also made covers if you want to run them off so that students can make their own booklet.
    • This is a great sequencing activity.
    • Students can also number the sets of circles, color them, put a smilie sticker in one of the dots on each page, or have fun using bingo dot markers at a center!
    • back to school ideas, fun ways to pick a partner, classroom management
    • Run off just one pear number and have students use 2 bingo colors to show a math equation and then write it on the pear. i.e., The #9 pear has 4 pink bingo dots + 5 green  bingo dots = 9 total bingo dots.
    • If you want to use numbers as pear pairs and you have 20-22 students, make a set of yellow and a set of green pears.
    • You can also use the number-word pear pairs as well and add a 3rd color if you have more students than 22, such as a light yellow and a bright yellow, or a lime green and an emerald green.
  • I wish you a delightful pairing up with your favorite person!  Have a warm and wonderful day!
"The secret of joy in wok is contained in one word-excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it." - Pearl S. Buck
Page 142 of 151





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