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Archive for February 5th, 2013

Join the Tuesday Slice of Life

Join the Tuesday Slice of Life

Last year I started following the Two Writing Teachers blog written by Ruth Ayres and Stacey Shubitz, coauthors of Day by Day: Refining Writing Workshop Through 180 Days of Reflective Practice. Each week they host a blog round-up called “The Slice of Life.” If you regularly read my blog, you have seen the logo on every Tuesday post. What’s so nice about the Slice of Life is you can write about anything. And it keeps me blogging at least once a week. Well, in March comes the big Slice of Life Challenge…blog every day, all 31, in the month of March. Can I do that? Can my students do that?

I think we can, I think we can…

On Sunday, The Two Writing Teachers had a guest post by a teacher, Amanda Cornwell, who listed Ten Tips for Creating an Electronic SOLC for your Students. Amanda teaches middle school students. I teach elementary, yet most of the tips still apply.

I teach multiple grades in gifted, so my students are at different levels not only in ability, but also in their motivation to write. This year I’ve used kidblog.org with all of my students. It has been a safe place for them to write and respond and has provided a community of writers among my students who go to different schools. But the kidblog is private. I am considering opening a public blog for the March challenge, so other students and teachers can read my students’ posts. Please leave a comment if you would be interested in partnering up our classes for reading and commenting.

Here are my Ten Tips for Slicing about your life:

1. Think about writing all day long.
There are many seeds out there on your way to school, in your dreams, and even in your conversations with your students. After the Super Bowl blackout, there were many comments and questions among my students that could have led to a SOL story about “What do you think happened?”

2. Turn off the inner critic.
This is as hard for me as anything. But every time I talk to a fellow writer, I hear this message again and again, “Trust your voice.”

3. Start with an image.
Images lead to description. Description leads to connection. There you go, a Slice of Life story.

4. Try different genres.
Write an acrostic poem or the opening scene for a short story. Write about the last time your grandmother made gumbo or a short research piece about why cats’ claws are retractable.

5. Write together.
When my students write, I write. We call it “sacred writing time.” I set the timer and no one speaks or gets up, or even sharpens a pencil.

6. Be realistic and set attainable goals.
We are going to be out of school for Spring Break the last week of March, so I may set the goal at 16 days which is the number of days we will be in school that month.

7. Encourage each other.
One of my students called commenting, “a compliment sandwich.” I like that. Start and end with a positive comment with a criticycle inside. Criticycle is critique with a little sweetness.

8. Prizes: Last year I bought all my students who participated in the challenge a pack of decorative sticky notes and a blank book. I will probably consider another similar practical gift as well as lots of high fives and way to gos!

9. Share your writing.
In addition to typing into a blog post, my students enjoy sharing their writing. They like to hear me read as well. They encourage me and give me advice. I will continue to provide sharing time.

10. Celebrate.
I am stealing this from Amanda. She had a picnic and reading to celebrate along with certificates signed by the principal. I like this idea. We may have to host a Slice of Life Author’s Chair when we invite parents and guests to come and hear our writing.

I am excited about this challenge. Won’t you join me?

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