Countdown to 100

Cove Herald/Jon Schroeder - First grade student Joseph Potter proudly displays the headband he made in Carla Faughtenberry’s class at Hettie Halsted Elementary School for the 100th day of class.

By Jon Schroeder

The Cove Herald

Copperas Cove schools celebrated their centennial school day on Monday, and students at Hettie Halstead Elementary gave the day 100 thumbs up.

The events at Halstead were mostly targeted at first grade and kindergarten students, with children circulating by class between stations in each classroom.

The celebrations and lessons vary by school — the day isn’t put on or mandated by the Copperas Cove Independent School District — but at Halstead, projects included posters and headbands, and teachers have distilled all sorts of lessons.

In Marva Lynn’s first-grade classroom, each of the first-graders at Halstead got a lesson in probability based on the 100 days celebration. Rolling die 100 times, Lynn led the classes in guessing which number would come up most often (overwhelmingly, the students inaugurated four and six as the most likely numbers).

But that was only one of many activities. First-grade teacher Vannette Simmons helped students create a “100-day trail mix,” adding particular numbers of various ingredients, an exercise which gives students some hands-on experience sorting and counting — and which teaches a little patience as well, as Simmons said.

Carla Faughtenberry led the creation of headbands, each emblazoned with “100.” On one such headband, a student wrote, “Wow. 100 days of school!”

That’s the attitude educators would like to set up: excitement about school and about some of the more mundane lessons students must learn. Counting might not be the most exciting event in a student’s day, but moving from classroom to classroom, doing hands-on counting exercises in each, gets students engaged in the subject matter. And in that particular way, teachers and administrators at Halstead said the day was a success.

Parent Liaison Norma Corn said the projects — including the posters kindergarten students paraded through the halls toward the end of the day — get parents involved in their education. That’s important, she said, because students achieve more when their parents get involved.

And, of course, “they’re more excited because today is the 100th day,” she said.

Jo Ann Griffin, the school’s campus instructional coordinator, said students are faced with projects about once every six weeks, with events which take students from station to station held two or three times each month.

She said that in regard to Monday’s lessons, the crafts give students some real-life examples of 100. That’s a big number for a first-grader or a kindergartner, so “visually it gives them a representation of what 100 looks like.”

“It’s so abstract (to them) without seeing it,” she said.

On a broader level, 100 days into the school year, Griffin said recent focus on the science curriculum has produced contagious excitement in students that she’s seen. The result: “The teachers have more enthusiasm,” Griffin said, adding that the enthusiasm has come hand-in-hand with additional supplies and hands-on activities.

Contact Jon Schroeder at or call (254) 547-0428

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