Growing Writers, One Challenge at a Time

This year, our class motto has been “Push through the struggle.”  Initially a mantra of one student, but quickly became the motto of the community.  These are the words used to encourage each other to persevere in all learning tasks. The Slice Of Life Story Challenge was no exception!

My first-grade writers participated in the Slice of Life Story Challenge (SOLSC).  Writing for 31 days is a feat to be commended for any writer.  There were no prizes or incentives, other than the open invitation to the weekly writer’s lunch. Even this was a choice some declined.  Over the years, I have witnessed growth in all the writers who’ve participated in the challenge, but there was something more this year.

The changes I noticed, and continue to see, are significant and everlasting.

The Writers We Have Become:

  • We are disciplined writers.  Writing from home and in any spare minute, we can steal in our day.
  • We are interactive, connected writers.  We are commenting to our friends and responding to those who leave us comments.
  • We are independent writers.  Writing from home in the evenings, on the weekends, and during spring break.
  • We are reflective writers.  We know where we work best, what we want to practice, and what our strengths are.
  • We are members of a writing community.  We share a passion and knowledge about one another as writers, friends, and classmates.
  • We are regular writers.  We write each day; we expect to write daily, and we write for a purpose.
  • We are writers who write for an audience.  We include events and craft to make our writing interesting.
  • We are brave writers.  We try to spell words that are hard.  We push through the struggles writers encounter.
  • We write with purpose.  We have a message we want to tell others, so we write it down.

 

Relationships Grow Writers:

Participating in SOLSC made writing publicly and interacting with readers a part of our daily routine.  Writers became aware of the audience on the other side of the screen; writing became social, and as writers we became members of a larger community.

Early in our SOLSC, @MHaseltine’s class of sixth-grade writers, who also joined the challenge, took us under their wing.  Comments from Ms. Haseltine’s bloggers were our first glimpses that we had someone reading our writing.  Not only did these comments tell us we had readers, but they also said someone outside of our classroom, family, or friend group understood our writing.  The influence this relationship had on us as writers shaped our writing and our feelings about writing. There is such an individual teacher’s pride when you witness writers learning they have readers, and their readers have questions for the author.  Visit Michelle’s blog, One Grateful Teacher to read the story from the other side of the screen.  Michelle shares the 6th-grade experience of her writers in our friendship and other collaborative relationships.

 

Today is a day my students will remember for years to come; today is the day we meet our writing mentors.

As we prepared for today’s Google Hangout, students were filled with energy.  Some shouted out names of students they hoped o meet; others grabbed iPads to hunt for the commenters and bloggers they wanted to meet.  Watch for our tweets from @Frazier1st to share in our special day!