Sunday, November 9, 2014

Celebrating the 50th Day with Halves

Time flies in school, doesn't it? I'm linking with The Teaching Trio and their Sunday Scoop to share what's up... and a plan for the 50th day of school.  Here are my have-tos, hope-tos, and happy-tos for this very day.

The three "have-tos" really don't need any explanation do they? The have-tos of teachers are pretty universal.

The two "hope-tos" are also pretty self explanatory.  The only debate is whether to see Laggies, Big Hero 6, or Interstellar... if I get to see one at all.

And here's a YIPPEE as I get to do my one happy to-do right now! I love sharing ideas... and ideas that I haven't seen anywhere else.  For many of us whose school year started after Labor Day, this week holds the 50th day of school. Wow! I can hardly believe it. I love the 50th day because of the great opportunity it provides to learn about the 1/2 fraction... and oh, yeah, to have "half a party." Why halves? Because we are half way to the 100th day, of course! Here's a little learning fun to do with your kiddos, and all it takes are a few things from the grocery store.

On the first day of school, we always highlight the number 100 on the number grid, which we use to mark off our days of school. I tell the kids when we reach the 100th day we will have a party to celebrate. And then I highlight the 50 on the grid and say that on this day we will have a smaller party, a "half party" because we will be half way to 100.

When the 50th day comes, I teach the one half fraction in lots of fun ways. I start by folding a 100 grid, like the one we use to count the days, exactly in half. How many squares are on this side, and how many on the other? Wow, it's fifty on both sides making them equal and exactly half of the grid and half of 100.

Then I show the kids a paper cookie I've made. I ask one of the kids in the group if they'd like half of it (to pretend share.) They always says yes, so I rip it into two very UNequal pieces, and hand the child the smaller bit. Everyone protests, "Hey, that's not fair– you took the bigger one." I say, "But I broke the cookie in "half", didn't I?"

We then discuss what equal means. I divide another identical cookie, making sure it IS equal this time. I use a fake paper chocolate bar, and the play kitchen pizza to demonstrate further. I even put a group of eight little magnets on the board and discuss how to divide them in half.

Then it's time to write the fraction. I write a two on the board because we are making two parts. And then I write a line and one on top of the two because we are talking about one of those two parts. This is called a fraction and we call it "one half."

The party comes next. Here's the stuff you'll need:

I give each student a napkin and instruct them to cut it in half– and put half down to put their food on. Kids pair up and I hand a snack size Kit-Kat bar to one partner and a large graham cracker to the other. Then I ask each to watch the other as they break their treat in half so they can share. (Note both of these foods are scored for easy breaking!) Are the parts equal? If not, you didn't break it in half.

I also give them six Skittles and watch as they divide those into two equal parts on their napkin. Then I pour each student a half glass of juice or water, stopping a few times as I pour to ask if I'm at the half way point yet. (No, the glasses are not completely cylindrical, but it's close enough for the kids to get the idea.) A half glass of juice, one stick of Kit-Kat, half a cracker, and three Skittles is not much of a party... but then it is a Half Party after all.

This introduction to fractions, reinforced by hands-on learning and treats, really makes an impression on kids. Each year, from the 50th day on, I hear "half" and "equal" used as everyday terminology. Math at it's finest!

Do you celebrate the 50th Day of School? How do you do it?

Head on back to the Sunday Scoop by clicking here. Thanks Teaching Trio for a great linky!

The post Celebrating the 50th Day with Halves first appeared on


  1. Good luck finishing report cards! Your 50th day celebration sounds like lots of fun! We don't celebrate the 50th or even the 100th day of school.

    Techie Turtle Teacher

    1. It's mostly a kindergarten first grade thing in my neck of the woods. And I'm the only one who does the 50th day. Other teachers might do a sock hop from the 1950s, but I love the math emphasis we have. And I love your blog name, Cheryl! Thanks for stopping by. Kathleen

  2. Great ideas for celebrating the 50th day. I wanted to try to have a sock hop this year for the 50th day, but time got away from me. It is on my list for next year. Thanks for sharing!

    Luv My Kinders

    1. Thanks, Laura. So much to do, so little time! I pin ideas so I don't forget... then forget to check the pins :) At least this can be pretty easily added to whatever else you have going on that day. Thanks for stopping by! Kathleen

  3. I LOVE those 50 day ideas! What a great way to teach halves! I bet the kids LOVE it! :)
    Have a great week!

    1. Hey ya Carolyn. Yep they do... or should I say will. It's this Tuesday for us. In addition to this lesson that I outline, we have 50 day smarter necklaces, a fifty space game board, and we're doing stuff with half a 100 grid. Hope you have a good week, too. T-day is right around the corner... Kathleen

  4. I love the idea of having a 50th day half party. I am sure my 4th graders would just love any kind of party though! You have such a clever way of introducing the fraction 1/2 to your students! Thank you for taking the time to share all about your party and linking up with us today!

    Funky in Fourth
    Teaching Trio

    1. Glad you like it! And thanks for the linky! I'll be back! Kathleen


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