Skip to main content

100th Day and Culture

100th Day Celebration!

Wow, it's here, and so quickly! I've really got to get in to my office and clear a spot for our little ones to come marching through! This is a cherished event, and I just love seeing the whole 1st grade parading into the office.

I was speaking to a couple of middle and high school people in my Tuesday night class, and they had no idea what the significance of 100th Day was! I just thought, "Aaahh, to be in elementary school." They really have no idea what they are missing - the traditions, the culture, the little things that make our elementary school life special.

To be fair, of course, all schools are made up of rituals and celebrations, those things that make up the culture of our schools. For some, it is easy to see. Visitors can sense something special the moment they walk through the front door. It may not be in the rituals that a school has. It certainly should not be relegated to strictly rituals and traditions, for some of these, such as the old, "That's just the way we do things around here," may not be as healthy as you would like.

But for others, such as 100th Day, where all 1st graders decorate a t-shirt with 100 of something - Cheerios, stickers, buttons, macaroni - and come parading through the office to show off their 100 Day Pride, culture comes shining through in a significant way. Because it's not about 100th Day (really, are we celebrating that we made it through 100 days?), not really. It's about the cultural aspect of 100th Day, the anticipation of 100th Day, the looking back on school days and remembering the fun little breaks we took in the middle of a hectic, busy year filled with learning CVC words and how to blend and chunk, and how to go to the neighbor's house to borrow a cup of sugar (subrtraction with borrowing).

These are the things that make up our school days, the memories we are giving to children, the culture we are intentionally and purposefully creating.

100th Day. I can't wait.

Popular posts from this blog


I am visited by two former Seniors on a recent Friday in early June.  They have been out of school for only a short time, having graduated three weeks prior.  We stay in touch because, well, that's one of the main reasons I am in this profession - to make a lasting difference in the lives of students.  But it's not only the students; it's their families as well.  I attend their graduation parties, keep up to date on their life happenings, I even recently attended the wedding and reception of one of my former students whom I had taught when he was in the 6th grade.  He's now 28.  
But this is what is required of this job.  We are in the business of making lasting impressions.  For anyone who doesn't believe this to be true, and that your only job as an educator is to impart knowledge and provide kids with information that they could just as easily find online, you are sorely mistaken.  I could easily insert here all of the research that proves, beyond the shadow of…

Parenting and the Principal

Very REAL Life, Part I

I need to tell you about my life as principal.
Particularly from the standpoint of this life as husband, dad and foster/adoptive parent.
And the daughter I have who is sitting in prison.

It is the winter of 2009.  I had just been accepted into the Doctoral program at National Louis University, and was heading to an informational meeting about the program when my wife called.  I was pulling into the high school where our cohort would be spending a lot of class hours together over the next few years, excited about this journey my family had agreed was the best time for me to embark upon, even more ecstatic to be the first in my family to achieve this prestigious degree.

We didn't realize the road I was about to travel was actually riddled with potholes, detours, wrong turns, and dead ends.

My wife can barely speak.
It seems like a lifetime, though it is actually 10 minutes on the phone with her,
trying to calm her down,
sitting in my Volvo with the engine turn…

Real Writers. Real Writing. Real Voices

Same 7th grade classroom.
Different group of students.   It is a warm afternoon and the fans are on.   I think back to my days as a 7th grader.   My teacher's name was Mrs. Zurn.   She passed away in the mid-90's and I remember her clearly for her loud voice;  Her booming voice and I remember her because she used to make us write.
A lot.

And it was always about the things that she wanted us to write about, never about the things that I CARED about like music and motorcycles and the ATV's that I spent my weekends on, flying through the cornfields and woods that I lived next door to.  Or my parent's divorce and my dad moving to California and how much I missed him.  We couldn't write about that stuff. 
Instead we wrote about St. Thomas and our favorite lunch, and if we could be anything when we grew up what would it be, and Mother Theresa and what our favorite color was and why, and writing a letter to Pope John Paul II.  I went to a Catholic school.  You can probab…