LEMON DAY is a beloved, profound, and slightly wacky Grade IV tradition.
Beloved former Grade IV teacher Jane Prescott is renowned for her spirited teaching of the Greek curriculum. In fact, she started many of the current fourth-grade traditions, including the Greek Olympics. She was passionate about many things, including poetry and LEMONS. Many of her former students remember her for her wonderful smile and her “secret” stash of lemon drops, which she would share around every now and then.
Precisely HOW Lemon Day started we do not know. But it did start with Jane as much as 60 years ago. Perhaps she gave each child a lemon as a gift one day, and they all named them and wrote them a song or poem. Over time, she added activities like generating as many words as possible from the letters in the word "lemonade,” measuring lemons’ length, width, and circumference, drawing their portraits, and making them cozy beds. This tradition came to be known as Lemon Day.
Today, we continue the tradition with these same activities. And we have added many more. We make birth certificates, write creative stories about lemons, and measure each lemon’s volume and mass. Since fruit conducts electricity, students use them to explore circuits by making music with the Makey Makey program in science class.
It's all great fun! It’s also a powerful lesson about what one can see when one looks through new eyes. Engaging with lemons in different contexts opens students’ minds and sparks new connections and experiences. All day, fourth-graders comment on the unexpected insights and discoveries. It's something they will remember for a lifetime. Older students walk by saying, "Oh, I remember Lemon Day!" and “I still have my lemon!” As one fourth-grader put it, “We should all stop to smell the lemons!”