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Start thinking about the March Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge!

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I  know that it’s January, but this really is the perfect time to…start thinking about the March Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge.  Here are some factors to consider:

  1. In the midst of everything else that you are juggling in writing workshop, is it really worth it to invest time and energy in the SOLSC?

The answer is a resounding YES!   As I have written about before, slicing is a powerful way in which to build and nurture a classroom community.  Students write about  the stories and events from their lives that they wouldn’t  necessarily have an opportunity to  share with everyone in the hustle and bustle of the school day.  What better way to deepen and form new friendships and bonds as a class?

The daily search for topics to write about makes my kids much more aware of those small moments of delight or reflection they might otherwise put off writing about until another time; when you slice every day, the time for writing is now.  And, best of all,  the classroom becomes a hub of writing energy, with students motivating and inspiring each other to push on.

  1. It takes time to gear up for the Challenge, what can you begin doing now to be ready in March?

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If you and your students are new to the SOL experience, this is the time to explore some examples of student slices from prior SOLSC years right here on the archives of Two Writing Teachers.  We always begin our year with such mentor text work , so that my kids can see the variety of formats and topics they are free to experiment with when they write their slices.  A mini-lesson or two about how to write a slice of life and how to comment on each others’ slices, is also something to plan ahead and set aside some time for.

  1. You will need to sort through some ideas about the kind of blogging platform you and your students will find comfortable working with.

Beth will be writing a “how-to-roll-it-out post” very soon, but this might be the time to begin checking out student blogs to see what might be a good fit for your particular students and your grade level.  Set your kids to work exploring sites you’ve found, too, so that they feel an investment in the Challenge from it’s very first planning stages.

  1. To blog…or to use the writer’s notebooks?  Homework or classwork or both?

Some years ago, Stacey wrote a wonderful post about using writer’s notebooks instead of blogs.  I passed this along to a colleague whose students did not have the ready access to computers at home and school that mine were lucky enough to.  It worked beautifully.  Her students began each day by exchanging notebooks and sharing their comments with brightly colored post its , and enjoyed the experience every bit as much as mine did.

The other question to consider, of course, is when to have your kids write their slices.  March is a long month, slicing every day is hard work, and so a combination of homework and classwork time might the best option for you.  Flexibility is the key to SOLSC success!

  1.  Devising prompts and inspirations:

On Tuesday, Linda Baie shared a delightful slice in which she wrote: “The SOLC is coming; the SOLC is coming…Time to start the back of the brain thinking! And that means I’d better be making my lists of what, or maybe how, who, when, why, and where!”  Linda, as we know, is wise. Even writing a slice of life every Tuesday can sometime present moments of brain-freeze: what to write about tonight?  So, perhaps you may want to think about collecting ideas to jump-start the question you are sure to hear more than once in your  SOLSC March: I’m stuck…what should I write about??!

So, March may seem like a long ways away, but February is a short month…it might be time to begin putting together the pieces of what is sure to be a writing adventure  you and your students will never forget!

Tara Smith View All

I teach Writing Workshop, Language Arts and Social Studies to sixth graders at a middle school in suburban New Jersey. This blog is my attempt to capture all the "stuff" that goes into my teaching life - the planning, the dreaming, the reading, the preparing, the hoping and (above all) the kids.
Please note that the content of this blog is my own. It does not reflect the opinions of my employer.

5 thoughts on “Start thinking about the March Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge! Leave a comment

  1. I talked about slicing with my class earlier this year and we looked at examples. I gave it as an option and so far only one student has really taken it on. Today I shared this post and I asked who would be up for the challenge and about 3/4 of the class thought they would at least give it a try. I am going to keep talking it up and slice with them- scary, but exciting!

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  2. SOLSC sounds like a marvelous way to get children writing. I appreciate that it will take a lot of dedication and energy to see it through for a whole month but the support of everyone joining in will make it achievable. It sounds very exciting.
    I like the suggestion of using notebooks and sticky notes for those not having access to computers. I can just imagine how treasured those notebooks would be, perhaps with a lifespan far longer than the online equivalent.

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  3. Wow, Tara, thanks for the shout-out to my post. FYI-my students have been blogging now for a couple of weeks, & I’ve rarely seen them be so “on time”. There is something about the sharing that is so motivating! I haven’t told them about the March challenge yet, because we’re in the midst of our big Expo coming, but soon we’ll begin talking & brain-storming for ideas just as I did for my post this week. I’m excited to see how it goes, & hope I will be able to hook up with other classes too. Max, my colleague and I are both take the challenge! Thanks for all your ideas, too.

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  4. Hi Tara! It is like you read my mind! My students just started slicing in the past week! Thank you for sharing your excellent ideas that will help slicing go even better! During one of the sessions at nErDcampNNE I shared that Slicing is an excellent way to provide students with an authentic way to publish their writing with a wide audience. I hope more classrooms join the community!

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