Last week we celebrated the 100th Day of School. It seems crazy that I have already spent 100 days with these precious kiddos. Last year, a new teacher, every day seemed to be a struggle. I was still in school myself and was constantly overwhelmed by the demands that every teacher faces – lesson planning, grading, parent contact, after school duties, IEP/504 meetings, and the incredible amount of paperwork on top of the class time with my 6th and 8th graders. This year, I have figured out my system. I am no longer in school (yay!) and I have a plethora of plans and methods at my finger tips. Yes, I still have the endless planning, grading, and (groan) paperwork, but I look at it all through new eyes. “I have done this before,” I tell myself. “I know the material,” I tell myself. “I know these kids,” I tell myself. And now, reflecting on the 100 days that have passed, I am no longer giving myself a pep talk, I actually do know what I am doing.
To celebrate the 100 Days of School, my students and I wrote limericks. We are neck deep in our poetry unit, finishing up this coming week actually, and my students have been creating their own poetry portfolios. The week of the 100 Days of School fell on our limerick week, and so what better way to share our memories than to write about them. This lesson was not very well planned. Honestly, I just told the kiddos to pick a memory and go. There was no modeling, no strict instructions. (“Write about the first week!” “Cut your paper in half!” “You can only draw one picture!” “You must use colors!”) I have a strong belief in student led learning, and so this activity was completely student driven. Some drew beautiful illustrations, while others wrote in pencil on their construction paper. The only 3 requirements I gave – it must be a limerick, it must be about school, and it must be on construction paper. My students even created the bulletin board. I was a bit upset that not every one of the 80 poems fit, but look at how beautiful our 100 days of memories turned out!