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All Because We Shared Our Stories

Our stories bond us together.  I have known this to be true ever since I started writing, but I saw real evidence of it today as I walked down the halls of our school building.

This year, we challenged all the students in our K-8 school to participate in a year-long Slice of Life Story Challenge.  All the students are writing daily Slice of Life Stories.  They write for a short period of time each day, and they share their writing with their classmates.   Once a week, they also choose one Slice of Life Story to display in the hallway for other students, teachers, and parents to comment on.  

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Today, as I stopped to read the comments written on Post-it Notes throughout the halls of our building, I couldn’t help but notice the authentic and honest way kids are responding to each other as writers.  It seems the whole school is coming together as a community of writers.

I noticed that students are connecting to each other through their topics.  They are finding a common ground through their words.  They are getting to know each other as people.

I pray for my countries, too.
I pray for my countries, too.
My mom is the same way!  Sweet!
My mom is the same way! Sweet!

They are also getting to know each other as writers, finding patterns in topic choice and coming to know each other’s writing preferences.

I like that you write about your mom a lot.
I like that you write about your mom a lot.

I noticed that they are showing interest in each other’s stories, asking questions, and wanting to know more.  Post-It Note after Post-It Note contained questions of genuine curiosity.

Did you cry?  Could you move it?
Did you cry? Could you move it?
How did you feel when you held the bunny?
How did you feel when you held the bunny?

I noticed that they are showing empathy and kindness towards each other, letting each other’s stories touch their hearts.

You are so brave, Adolfo.
You are so brave, Adolfo.
I'm so so so sorry that your grandma died.  I'm sad for you.
I’m so so so sorry that your grandma died. I’m sad for you.
You're not a loser.  You're awesome.
You’re not a loser. You’re awesome.

I noticed that students are commenting on writing techniques, such as word choice and endings.  They are recognizing and praising each other’s craft moves.  They are reading like writers.

Nice way to end the story by making the reader wonder.
Nice way to end the story by making the reader wonder.
I liked all the facts & details.  I love how you stayed on topic & how you said why they're heroes.
I liked all the facts & details. I love how you stayed on topic & how you said why they’re heroes.

I was touched today by what I noticed in our hallways.  Our students are getting to know each other, encouraging each other, showing empathy towards each other, touching each other’s hearts, and growing as writers together.  We are a community of writers.  All because we shared our stories.

Dana Murphy View All

Literacy Coach, Reader, Writer

13 thoughts on “All Because We Shared Our Stories Leave a comment

  1. Profound outcome and simple process! Loved reading your student examples and I look forward to seeing you next week! Question…how to we use this energy towards other types of writing? The opportunities are endless!

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  2. I hope you continue to let us know how this is going, Dana. It’s awesome to see an entire school sharing and responding to each other. Don’t you know they will value those sticky notes very, very much!

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  3. Writing good comments is something we have been working on this week. I think I will show them your students’ examples. I am trying to build this community in my classroom and you have built it in your entire school…incredible!

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  4. First the teachers in your district started slicing now the kids are doing it too! A dynamic community of writers thrives within the walls of your school. Thanks for sharing the way that writing has connected your students to each other with us, Dana.

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  5. What a great way to share. Your students are developing not only their writing skills, but their ability to learn about others and to have empathy for them.

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