Success, Struggles and Strategies~ Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge

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Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge is just two days away, and I couldn’t be more excited! This will by my third year slicing in the adult challenge and my third year slicing with my class of first graders. When @CathyMere first told me about the challenge and invited me and my class to join I wasn’t sure I could manage one more thing. My mind filled with doubts.

  •  Would they write every day?
  • Would writing from writers workshop count?
  • When would they write during the school day?
  • Would they write from home?
  • Do they have to write on the blog?
  • How will I post it to Two Writing Teachers?
  • How will I keep them writing for 30 days?

It was evident I had more questions than answers. I shared my thoughts with Cathy and my team. As we talked, we knew we didn’t  have all the answers, but I knew my class was moving forward. So, I stepped back and introduced the Slice of Life Classroom Challenge to my class. I watched as faces filled with excitement, wonder, and doubt. I opened the floor to questions. Questions were asked, discussed, and solved by the writers. I listened to their concerns, solutions, and I knew they were taking ownership of the challenge. All I had to do was follow and support.

Here are a few things I learned along the way~ Look for more through the first week.

Informing Families~

Finding Ideas~

Supporting Writers~

Linking Blogs on Two Writing Teachers~

Relax, Slicing isn’t about perfection~

Still feeling a panic when thinking about a 31-day writing challenge with your classroom? 

I have been where you are, and I am happy to support you! Look for more help coming up this week.

  • Mystery Commenting and parent commenting
  • Linking student blogs to Two Writing Teachers Classroom Slice of Life Writing Challenge
  • Connecting with classrooms beyond your building
  • Daring to open blogs to the world

Badges and Gamification~  by Kathleen Sokolowski

One of my PLNs is a Voxer group of innovative educators who’ve stayed connected after last summer’s #cyberPD. Last weekend, Heidi Weber shared how she attended a conference and learned about gamification and using badges in the classroom. She spoke so passionately, and I loved the idea, and I wondered how I could try it out with my third graders in a way that made sense in my classroom at this time of year.  Suddenly- it clicked! The Classroom Slice of Life Challenge would be the perfect way to introduce badges and build excitement for month-long blogging!

Last year was my first March in the Slice of Life Challenge and this year will be my first time leading students in a Classroom Slice of Life Challenge. I brainstormed a list of badges that students could earn during the month. I shared this idea with some of the Two Writing Teachers team, and they thought it would be helpful to share it with the whole community, in case some other teachers would like to give it a go too for the Classroom Slice of Life Challenge.

Here is the link to the badges: https://picasaweb.google.com/105794876688336642237/ClassroomSOLSCBadges

Here is the link to where the badges can be placed as students earn them: https://goo.gl/OCAXsa

Many thanks to Stacey Shubitz for creating the badges! She used an app called “Vintage Design.”

Some of the badges have different “levels”- bronze, silver, and gold. Students can work their way up the levels by writing more. Other badges are for trying poetry in a Slice or by writing in gratitude to someone who has impacted them. Students can also earn badges by commenting on other Slices. There will be the Distinguished 31 Days of Blogging Badge because that is an incredible achievement!

I plan on introducing this to my students as I explain the Classroom Slice of Life Challenge. I will create different rewards based on how many badges students earn and have prizes available at the end of the challenge. I plan on having conversations with the students about the real reward being all the fabulous writing and learning they will be doing! The badges will hopefully encourage them and give them some goals to work towards during the month.

If you have something like this in place, we would love to hear about it! If you try gamifying the Classroom Slice of Challenge too, we hope you will share the experience.  

Of course, if you have questions regarding the Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge:

    • If your last name begins with the letters A – G, please email questions to Anna, AnnaGCockerilleLiteracy{at}gmail.com.

    • If your last name begins with the letters H – M, please email questions to Deb, DebFrazier4{at}gmail.com.

    • If your last name begins with the letters N – S, please email questions to Kathleen, mrs.sokolowski{at}gmail.com.

    • If your last name begins with the letters T – Z, please email questions to Tara, elibenoli5{at}gmail.com.