‘100 days brighter, 100 days kinder’

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It doesn’t take the children long to count to 100 in Tricia Metzler’s kindergarten class.

That’s because they can do it by fives and do it by 10s.

Metzler, a Hearne Elementary School teacher, asks them why it’s important to be able to count that way.

“Because it’s the best and the quickest way,” said Donald Whitley IV.

“It’s the fastest way to get to 100. That’s right,” Metzler said. “You are as bright as bright can be, 100 days brighter, 100 days kinder.”

Monday was the 100 Day Carnival in Metzler’s class and included 18 different activity stations where students could reinforce their knowledge of how many ways they might be able to count to 100.

They could link 10 sets of 10 shapes. They could put 20 buttons on five shirts. They could make a 100-topping pizza with 10 toppings on each of 10 slices. They could count two boxes of 50 groceries in each box. They could create a 100-dot hat with 10 strips and 10 dots.

They could cut out 10 sets of 10 cookies using Play-Doh.

Jamie King, the teaching assistant in the class, said it’s about preparing the children for higher grades in school.

“She always teaches a little above kindergarten, which is a good thing. So when they get to first grade it wouldn’t be so hard when they begin to subtract big numbers in 10s and 20s and 30s. Counting things out in 10s to get to 100 is easier than just going by one,” King said.

“They can go 10, 20, 30 instead of going one, two, three, four, five, counting on their fingers. They won’t be behind when it comes to going to first grade.”

“It is the foundation. The more we build and solidify that foundation here, everything is built on 10s and making 10s,” Metzler said. “This group is way up there, so they can fly.”

Across all of Wilson County Schools, students in kindergarten to second grade did some type of 100 days project.

Part of Metzler’s project was to make capes for all of the children.

“I just love the capes because I thought they were fun. This year I was able to find pink for the first time,” Metzler said. I used to make them all myself. I used to sew every one of them.”

This year, the capes went home with the children, and the parents helped put 10 groups of 10 items on them.

“I have the most extremely amazing parents this year,” Metzler said.

Metzler had a cape on Monday and looked a bit like a superhero.

“I don’t think of it as Wonder Woman. I think of it as word woman,” Metzler said. “I push a lot of words, and I make sure they are getting bigger words than they would ordinarily get in kindergarten. I don’t talk to them like they are in kindergarten.”

Metzler said it’s all about giving the children the opportunity to learn beyond their age.

“I am building beyond,” Metzler said.

“I believe in building beyond, so if they have some time off and they lose just a little, they are still way ahead of the game and that’s important.”

After the children complete another counting assignment, Metzler whispers to the children.

“I am so proud of you because most kindergartners can’t do it, but you can.”