100th Day Wall Puzzle

Looking for a unique way to count up to the 100th day of school?  Build a puzzle!




  1. Assemble the puzzle on a piece of cardboard.
  2. Use another piece of cardboard to flip the puzzle over.
  3. Number each piece from 1 to 100 working clockwise from outside to inside.
  4. Make 10 groups of puzzle pieces and place each group into a baggie.
  5. Cut a piece of construction paper the exact dimensions of the puzzle.
  6. Glue the construction paper to the cardboard.
  7. Add mounting tape to each corner of the cardboard.
  8. Mount the cardboard on the board or wall.
  9. Each day of school add a puzzle piece to wall.



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Clean Slate, Fresh Start

Ever need a “redo” in your life?  We’re lucky that we get a “redo” every new school year.


One of my favorite things to “redo” is room arrangement.  For room arrangement I consider, traffic flow, work spaces, and teaching spaces.

The room is always emptied every summer when the floors get scrubbed and waxed.  It’s a great time to consider room arrangement.  I consider what went well the previous year, and what needs to change.  There really is only one “must do” in my classroom – and that’s the SMARTboard and computer location.  The location for those two items is dictated by where the drop is, and therefore I always have my whole group meeting area there, but everything else is up in the air.

As far as room decoration/theme…(besides the calming, blue wall) I have none.  The walls are bare when students come.  Really!  My students help me to add things to the walls.  We add things that archive our learning.

If you ever get a chance to start with a clean slate, try to remove all of your room’s contents.  Really!  I know it sounds daunting, but bringing each piece, each item in separately is really meaningful.  For two reasons:

1.  You can decide if it’s really needed.

2.  You decide where it best fits in the grand scheme (movement, teaching, working).

Be reflective.  Be thoughtful.  Be intentional.


Last year during our staff in-service, we completed a Compass Points activity.  I immediately identified myself as “EAST” with strong “WEST” tendencies.

Screen-shot-2011-01-02-at-5.42.33-PM-2kc1z8kKnowing this sheds a lot of insight on how I make decisions and implement them.  Normally, I’m OK, and all is well.  However, there are two areas that have been troubling me for a few years:

1.  My professional website.frayed-rope-300x171

2.  My fitness.

I wrestle with these two areas, and place some blame on my EAST and WEST tendencies.  You see, they fight with one another.  I can mentally (and physically) feel the swaying back and forth as my brain fights with seeing the big picture and finding the details needed to make the big picture happen.

2014-07-07_1509It’s been really hard to focus on the changes needed for my website and health, making them become a reality, because as an “EAST” I can see where I want to be, but have a hard time jumping in with both feet and starting, even though I don’t know all the details (my WEST tendencies).  I fight with my WEST all the time.  I need to be more of a NORTH.

Regarding my website – it has become necessary for me to convert from using a WYSIWYG content management software to an easier one.  So, I’m moving to a WordPress self-hosted blog.  Hopefully the change-over will be complete by the end of the month!

As for my health, I want to squash any worries you may have.  I’m not ill or hurt.  I pretty much just want to feel more energetic and of course loose weight.

In May I decided to plunge right in with my health (wasn’t that very NORTH of me?).  I attribute this success mostly due in part because I “met” Adie from Four Fit Sisters, after she messaged me on Facebook .  She offered me an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.  You see, she’s a fitness coach.  She’s also a teacher (BAM!), and she happens to follow me on Pinterest.  She noticed, as all of you might have noticed, too, that from time to time, I pin health-related resources and ideas.  In her message, she asked if I’d like to join one of her 30-day challenges.

After I did my quick “spy” check to validate her claims that she was who she said she was (one can never be too careful, right?), I signed up for my first ever 30-day challenge.

Adie is GREAT.  She’s knowledgeable, motivating, and non-judgmental.  All important characteristics.  Participants in this particular challenge were able to self-select their work out program.  I choose the 21-Day Fix.

21DayFix-whatYouGet_ibk3ogI’m not new to Beach Body programs.  I own P90X, but didn’t make it through round one after injuring my knee while doing Plyometrics (darn jumping!).  After a bout of healing and re-injuring, I found that both of my knees had become weak.  My suspicions were confirmed after discovering that I could no longer stand up from a sitting position on the floor.  As a first grade teacher, I’m often on the floor, and this was a constant reminder of my physical limitations.

My goal is to become strong enough to sit cross-legged and stand without the use of my arms/hands.  Just pure leg strength.  Of course I also want to eat more healthy and to loose weight.  My weight is the portion of my annual staff wellness check that I fail EVERY August during staff in-service (all staff members have lab tests for sugar, cholesterol, and weight).

If you find yourself wanting to make changes in your life – whether it is work related, home related, or health related, you might need to be more of a NORTH and just jump right in.  Like the quote above says, if nothing changes, nothing changes.

After my 30-Day challenge, I realized several changes emotionally and physically.  Aside from having more energy, I am now almost to the point where I can stand from a cross-legged sitting position using only leg strength!  Yay!


I created the above picture to share my 30-day results.  The challenge ended on June 3.  At that time, four things happened, all within a span of 19 days (read=STRESS):

  1. End of school year.
  2. Vacation Bible School teaching/volunteering.
  3. Two IOWA Reading Association Convention presentations (and travel!).
  4. District Camp Invention week (I directed it).

Even with my feel-good, noticeable results, I fell flat on my face, shortly after the 30-day challenge ended.  I learned something about myself though.  I learned that the support that others can provide shouldn’t be discounted.  I’m a pretty independent, self-reliant person, so admitting this is tough.  I still need help.  I still need support.  So…I signed up for another 30-day challenge (it started today).  I’m doing PiYo.


I’ll not be so quick to dismiss my need for help after this challenge.  There are lots of options for support.  Just like I might need help with literacy and math support for some of my first graders at school, it is OK to admit I need help for myself.

Progress is good.  Progress can’t happen though if change doesn’t happen. 

NOTE:  I did not receive any compensation for mentioning 21-Day Fix or PiYo. I also didn’t receive any compensation(other than a waived participation fee) for joining Adie’s challenge group.