Too Many School Parties?

By Susan Black

In January, a kindergarten teacher invited me to a celebration of the 100th day of school for her class. She asked me to read Charles Ghigna’s One Hundred Shoes, a book about a centipede that needs shoes for its 100 feet.

To kick off the celebration, the teacher led the youngsters in an increasingly boisterous count to 100. Next, the fired-up kids did 100 exercises, including jumping jacks, stretches, and toe-touching. After 100 seconds of silence, I read my book.

The children proceeded to stick 100 cut-out fish to a laminated ocean mural taped to a wall. For the finale, the teacher uncovered 100 treats on a snack table and the children devoured frosted cupcakes and assorted candy bars.

Before I left, I sat with a few children and asked them to tell me what they had learned about 100. Maybe they were exhausted, or perhaps they’d succumbed to the sugary treats, but the boys and girls stared at me blankly. I asked again. One little girl scowled and said, “It’s just a big number. I know even bigger ones. I know almost one zillion.” A little boy said, “I know how to write 100. It’s a one and two holes.” 

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