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