I am trying not to panic. So I'll share a bit more about our Hundredth Day celebration instead.
In sixth grade, we wrote a hundred words, multiplied numbers by one hundred, divided numbers by one hundred, worked on percent problems (and solving for a variable over one hundred) and made a commitment to read one hundred minutes.
The best part of our day was "Buddy Time." The kindergarten teachers had prepared a packet of things for the kindergartners to do with their Book Buddies. They counted to hundred, counted by tens, colored a hundred objects, counted in sign language... and completed several other tasks. Our yearly highlight is making Froot Loop necklaces with one hundred 'Loops.. As many of my sixth graders used to be the "little buddy," they fondly remembered this task.
I'm sure you have seen this activity a million (or a least 100!) times. As the teacher of the "Big Buddies," I prepare the materials for the big-and-little partnerships.
Since I have been behind lately (okay, since September), I didn't want to alter my routine. So I started preparing the materials late Monday night. Since the Hundredth Day fell after a holiday, I wasn't confident that I would have any kid helpers in the morning. Note to self: This is not an easy task to do when you are tired!
This is when my admiration for kindergarten teachers really soared.
I already admire anyone who can teach kids under the age of seven (or older than fourteen!). However, getting ready for this activity made it clear that the prep is almost as arduous as dealing with these mobile small children who seem to need to go to the bathroom every twelve minutes.
First I cut the strings. Since I was preparing materials for sixty kids, there were parts and pieces of this project all over my living room. Ten minutes into the prep and I was already thankful I wasn't a primary teacher.
Then I had to put the "ends" on the strings. I have tried glue in previous years-- it leads to a bigger mess that often needs a taped-over "fix up" when the yarn frays. Wrapping a small piece of tape around yarn SOUNDS so easy. I was sweating after the first twelve. And they weren't even pretty.
Then I bagged the Froot Loops (Am I supposed to spell it wrong to protect copyright? Or spell it right to give them credit? Maybe I should type "Froot Loops®" or "Froot Loops©"?) Like Play-Doh, the smell of Froot Loops is easily recognizable. After smelling it a few hours., I was fairly certain I wouldn't be eating any Froot Loops (with or without a tiny little letter) for quite a while.
Over the years, those dividers have often been a life-saver! Counting by tens is not easy. But counting a long string of sticky Froot Loops when you forget what your last "count" was... is not fun! Even for sixth graders! I know the dividers are important. I just don't know why I wanted to cut them so carefully. Many of them are quickly mangled in a kindergartner's mouth when they try to eat the cereal while they are still wearing the necklace. Nothing like a mouthful of yarn and/or cardstock to enhance the flavor (and texture) of your breakfast cereal!
I was so thankful to see my "big kids" in the morning. I was downright sappy as I praised them for their ability to work independently and to stay on task... and to hardly ever ask for the restroom when I am in the middle of a sentence.. By that time, they were starring at me suspiciously. I just handed them some cereal and ushered them out the door to the kinder classes to begin our project.
My sixth graders adore their Buddies. Many of them will list Buddies as their favorite thing about sixth grade. (What? How can you not adore learning about pronouns and antecedents? And what about the contemporary parallels of Hammurabi's Code? Isn't that fascinating? And experimental and theoretical probability? Don't you love learning about that? Sigh.)
By the way, our kindergarten teachers don't let them off easy! On the necklaces, each group of ten Froot Loops needs a pattern that the kindergartner can describe. Even without help from their Buddies, some of those little friends were amazingly capable and creative.
By the time we left, however, those kindergartners were wiggling. And sticky. And tiredhungrythirsty.
And there was a line at the bathroom...