Zero the Hero–His First Appearance

wpid-20150823_110355.jpgZero the Hero made his first appearance at the OK Corral on Friday.  It was the tenth day of school.  He brought every kid ten Goldfish crackers which we counted by ones, twos, fives, and tens.  We in the OK Corral were astounded at the difference in how long it takes to count by ones versus by tens.

On a side note, counting out ten Goldfish times sixteen took less than a whole package of the yummy crackers.  So there are plenty left to enjoy at home.  Bonus!

Zero will return again on Day 20.


It’s Almost The 100th Day Of School

wpid-20150121_071248-1-1.jpgWe only have a few more days until the 100th day of school.  Zero the Hero will officially retire for the year.  But before he does, he has plans for a celebration.  If you thought that Day 90 was easy, with six rolls of Smarties equaling ninety, check out what Zero left us the other day.

Stapled to gallon-sized Ziploc bags are instructions for kids to bring in their own 100 collection.  Kids can put 100 anythings into the bag and bring it to show the class.  In years past, we’ve had 100 rocks, 100 pennies, 100 hair ties, 100 marbles…

Clearly, Zero’s mama didn’t raise any dummies.

Zero at 90

Today was the 90th day of school at the OK Corral, exactly half-way through the instructional year.  Zero the Hero visited, leaving us each 90 Smarties, because we’re 90 days smarter, of course.  He challenged us to count our Smarties by ones, twos, fives, and tens.  Then as we wrote about the experience in our Zero the Hero Journals, we were encouraged to enjoy our Smarties.

wpid-20150114_165222-1.jpgYou may wonder, why Smarties?  Aside from the obvious pun, years ago Zero the Hero discovered a secret:  Smarties come fifteen to a roll.  That means that six rolls makes 90, and Zero doesn’t have to count out 90 Smarties times twenty kids.  Yep, pure genius.

Until the company that makes Smarties decides to save a billion dollars a year by shorting the rolls a couple of pieces.  Then we’re screwed.  But for the time being, 90 is the easiest visit from Zero the Hero.

Well, until Day 100…

Zero at 80

wpid-20141217_070938-1.jpgOn our last week of school before a two week holiday break, we celebrated our 80th day of school.  Our good friend Zero the Hero brought each of us 80 jelly beans.  As usual, his email message instructed us to count our jelly beans by ones, twos, fives, and tens.  After counting, we were to write about our jelly beans in our Zero the Hero Journals, enjoying our jelly beans as we wrote.

Today for the first time, and keep in mind this is Zero’s eighth visit, a lightbulb went off for one of my friends.  “Hey, this is math!” exclaimed Princess Nastypants.  And thank you for playing along, I thought but didn’t say.

Confession: Normally for the 80th day, Zero the Hero brings red and white beads that we string on a long pipe cleaner.  When we bend them it makes a cute candy cane Christmas tree ornament.  But Zero was out of money right here before Christmas, so we had to just make do.

Wait until the 90th day.  Zero the Hero will share a brilliant fun fact.  Until then…

Zero at 70

wpid-20141204_111946.jpgZero the Hero made his return to the OK Corral this week to celebrate the 70th day of school.  He brought each young scholar 70 Froot Loops, which we counted by ones, twos, fives, and tens.  We then worked to string our Froot Loops into necklaces which we wore around the school for the rest of the day, much to the envy of the others we encountered in our travels.

The first time we did this activity way back in the day, I thought my first graders might be too cool and streetwise to wear necklaces made of cereal so my initial plan was to hang them on the fence to feed the birds.  But the kids were so into making necklaces to wear we just went with it.

“Girl, I make this look good!” one of my friends commented to her bestie, complete with hand on out-thrust hip and head waggle.  Alrighty, then.

Zero at 60

Zero the Hero made his sixth visit to the OK Corral this week.  He brought each young scholar sixty pieces of Indian corn (or, if you prefer, Native American corn).  We were instructed via his regular e-mail message to count them by ones, twos, fives, and tens.  He then provided us with a coloring page featuring an ear of corn, telling us to glue the bits of corn to the page and decorate it accordingly so that we could display our Indian corn in our classroom.  Afterwards, we were to write about the whole shebang in our Zero the Hero Journals.  By the way, Precious Precocious  dissolved into gales of laughter at my use of the word ‘shebang’ and will probably be incorporating it into her extensive vocabulary.

You may be wondering where Zero found the Indian corn.  I’ll let you in on a little secret but you can’t tell anyone.  It’s popcorn dyed with food coloring.  Many thanks to Miz O Postrophe who suggested putting out community puddles of glue on pieces of cardstock and giving each young scholar his or her own cotton swab to use to apply the glue to their papers.

Zero at 20


Yesterday was Day 20.  Zero the Hero made another visit, bringing us each twenty pretzels.  He sent us an ‘e-mail’ exhorting us to count them by ones, twos, fives, and tens.  As we wrote about our twenty pretzels in our Zero the Hero Journals we took the time to enjoy our pretzels.  Zero the Hero should make his next appearance on Day 30.

Delivered to my room today was a huge packet of materials called Mountain Math.  Apparently, someone has decided that instead of/in addition to the usual calendar math we do every morning and the pattern work we do as we celebrate Zero the Hero, we need to do this other system.  It’s going to take me hours to laminate all the pieces and cut them out.  No word on where I’ll keep the eleventy-billion kibbles and bits.

Oh, and I need to designate a bulletin board for this whole thing.  Would that be the actual bulletin board where our calendar math is now?  Or the faux one I made by putting fabric on the opposite side of the dry erase board to make the thing symmetrical?

Sorry, Zero the Hero.  It looks as though your skill set may longer be needed as we enter a new streamlining phase vis a vis talking about number patterns.  Good luck in your new venture.

Respect the Zero

Tomorrow is Day 10 of school, time for this year’s first visit from Zero the Hero. 

Zero the Hero visits every tenth day of school and he always leaves things for the kids to count.    He ‘e-mails’ us to tell us what he’s left for us and instructs us to count them by ones, twos, fives, and tens.  We then write about it in our Zero the Hero Journals. 

The numeral zero is actually a complex concept.  It represents nothing but it also holds the space so that we don’t get place value mixed up all willy-nilly.  I suppose there are other ways to teach the idea of zero.  But celebrating Zero the Hero is pretty fun.

We’re kind of tight, Zero and I.  Tomorrow he’s bringing everyone ten goldfish crackers.  I’m fairly certain Zero will tell us we can enjoy our goldfish after we count them.  He’s good like that.