SOLSC Classroom Challenge

Overview of the 2018 March Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge


This March will mark the sixth year of the classroom version of the Slice of Life Story Challenge. We hope that many of you will join the challenge with your students! We believe the benefit will be huge for your classroom community and your students’ writing lives.

Teachers and students who have participated in past challenges have told us that they experience a huge increase in engagement with writing. Students’ stories will be read and commented on by other classrooms around the globe. The Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge (SOLSC) is a wonderful way to grow writers, and provide the thrill of a wider audience. If you’d like to start planting seeds for March’s Classroom challenge, you may be interested in this past post from Tara Smith for ideas on ways to prepare.

If you haven’t already done so, please commit to participating in the month-long adult Slice of Life Story Challenge.  It is crucial that you are writing alongside your students, serving as a role model of the writing life. Participating in the challenge will inspire you to do a lot of writing so you can mentor your students.

What’s a slice of life, you ask? A slice of life story is a narrative that grows out of an ordinary moment from one’s day. For more on what constitutes a slice of life story, click here.

2018 CLASSROOM SOLSC Updated Infographic



Permalinks (for the Adult Slice of Life Challenge)

When someone clicks on a particular blog post, each post has a unique url–this is the permalink. This is different than the url for the main page of your website of blog. For the Adult Slice of Life Challenge, each day you will simply copy and paste the permalink that is tied to the specific post for the day.

You can locate the permalink for any post by clicking on the title of the specific post (not the homepage of your site). Then copy and paste the unique web address from the address bar at the top of your browser. That’s the url you should use when linking to your personal slice of life stories. Linking to your slices for the day with a unique url makes it possible for others to return to that day’s slices even after you’ve posted new things on your blog. For further instruction on how to find the permalink for your daily post, click here.

Padlet (for the Classroom Slice of Life Challenge)

For the Classroom SOLSC, we’ve come up with a new system this year to make things a little easier for classroom teachers, and to foster a stronger sense of community among the participating classrooms.  On the first day of the challenge, you’ll copy and paste the link to your classroom blog to a padlet our coauthor, Kathleen Sokolowski, has created. You’ll find the padlet embedded into our daily call for slices, beginning on Day 1 of the challenge.

Once you’ve linked your classroom blog to this padlet, you can return to our blog posts each day to access the padlet and easily find all the other classrooms participating. Kathleen has organized the links by grade levels, to make it easy for you to find a classroom to buddy up with.

With your link posted in padlet, there’s no need to copy and paste the same link in the comments section every day. Instead, to foster a stronger sense of community, we’ll post a question or idea for you to respond to each day that will allow you to connect with and get ideas from other teachers who are participating in the classroom challenge.

Participating in the Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge

  1. Please have your students link their own blog posts to your class blog, and then leave the link to your class blog on the padlet that you’ll find in our daily call for slices.
  2. To build community and share ideas among the classroom teacher participants, we’ll leave a question or idea you to respond to each day on the daily CLASSROOM Slice of Life Challenge post, which will go live every day at midnight, EST. Look for the post that is titled CLASSROOM SOLSC: # __ OF 31.
  3. Be sure to post the link to YOUR OWN Slice of Life Story on the daily call for the ADULT challenge, which will go live at 12:01 a.m. EST daily.
  4. Encourage your students to leave comments for other classes who are slicing. Whenever possible, encourage your students to comment on at least three other student slices, from other schools, every day.
  5. You may want to encourage your students to follow a few other slicer’s blogs from other schools so that they can make a virtual connection with another young writer over the course of the month.
  6. Use the same email and username every time you post a link with your class’s entries. Username consistency will make it possible for other classrooms to recognize you and fosters a sense of community.
  7. If you use Twitter, consider posting the link to your students’ slices on your classroom Twitter account. Use the hashtag #sol17 and get your students noticed by a wider audience.
  8. At the top of this post, you’ll find an images for the classroom challenge. We encourage you to paste the image at the top of your posts when you participate in the Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge. To download the image, right-click on the image and select “save as.” You can then insert the image into your Classroom SOLSC-related posts.

Inspiring Your Young Writers

  1. You might study some of last year’s student posts together, ideally on a screen, so they can see how the writing looks when posted on a blog.
  2. You might share some of your own Slice of Life Story writing introduce them to the work.
  3. You might provide fresh new writing notebooks or teach them how to use a digital note-taking app to inspire them to gather ideas for stories everywhere they go. For more on digital note-taking see this post.
  4. You might start with inspiring quotes, like the quotes found here.

Resources and Safety

Click here for a post filled with a compilation of helpful resources for the Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge. This includes parent letters and a spreadsheet for tracking which student write daily.

Here’s another useful link for protecting your students’ identities online using a cool method called image-stamping.

Remember, safety first. The Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge takes place in the public domain. Anyone will be able to access the link to your blog, which will serve as the landing page where you’ll round-up your students’ daily stories. Please make sure your students are using pseudonyms and are not disclosing any personal information including:

  • date of birth
  • street address, phone numbers, or email addresses
  • siblings’ or relatives’ real names
  • any kind of password
  • confidential personal or family information of any kind

Be sure teach students digital safety and digital citizenship, and to monitor student posts for this before sharing your class blog.

Children and Young Adults Participating Outside of the Classroom

We realize that some of you may have a child or older student you’d like to invite to do the Slice of Life Story Challenge alongside you. If this is the case, then we invite your children or individual students to participate in the Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge. Individuals under the age of 18 who are not part of a classroom community must have an adult sponsor to participate. As the adult sponsor, you will be the person who leaves the link to your child’s or student’s blog post, on their behalf, on the daily call for Classroom Slice of Life Stories. This policy ensure that children and young adults participating are doing so with supervision and guidance as to the content of their slices.

Additional Information

Remember, we are not offering prizes for the Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge (but we do have prizes for the adult challenge). It is up to you to provide students with prizes, should you choose to do so. For more thoughts on prizes for students, click here.

For more tips on running a fantastic classroom challenge, check out Amanda Cornwell‘s and Beth Scanlon‘s guest blog posts.

During the Classroom Slice of Life Challenge, there are four of us coordinating the event who can answer questions via email:

  • If your last name begins with the letters A – G, please email questions to DebFrazier4 {at} gmail {dot} com.
  • If your last name begins with the letters H – M, please email questions to beth {at} elizabethmoore {dot} work.
  • If your last name begins with the letters N- S, please email questions to Lanny Ball lanny.ball {at} gmail {dot} com.
  • If your last name begins with the letters T – Z, please email questions to Kathleen Sokolowski mrs.sokolowski {at} gmail {dot} com.

From all of us at Two Writing Teachers, we hope you’ll enjoy writing with your students this March!

5 thoughts on “Overview of the 2018 March Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge

  1. I’m looking forward to the new format for the classroom challenge. I’ve already begun talking about it with my students. We have been using kidblog since the challenge started and I am very pleased with how well it works with the Slice of Life Classroom Challenge. See you all soon!


  2. TWT has a lot of great resources included in the links. I’ve also been using the lessons on If you google edublog teacher challenge, there are several “classes” you can walk through that help with set up and have links to articles about best platform, etc. Good luck! It’s a goal of mine to get back to blogging and I’m planning to use this as my motivation!


  3. I really want to have my 12th grade Communication Writing class participate but have never set up a classroom blog before and I am feeling a bit intimidated. Is there somewhere I can go for instructions as to how to set up a classroom blog for students, what platform is the best etc.? Thanks for any advice possible.


    1. Wonderful! Many teachers have been participating using Edublog (classroom-specific), Blogger, or WordPress as their platforms. If you visit any of the main sites for these they will walk you through setting up a blog, step by step. There are numerous other platforms as well—some classroom-specific, some not.


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