If you are participating in the March 2022 SOLSC, by now, you have likely developed a writing habit. You go through your day on the lookout for slices and you find yourself noticing more, thinking more deeply and putting words on the screen. By now, you likely have a community of digital friends who visit your blog and comment on your writing and you may have your favorite blogs to visit, too. You’ve immersed yourself in stories- writing them and reading them. You feel yourself growing as a writer and a human.
When I took on the March SOLSC in 2015, this was my experience. Blogging every day for 31 days changed me and opened new doors for me as a writer and an educator. The following year, I took my third graders along for the ride and they blogged each day alongside me. The Classroom SOLSC has since moved to April, which allows teachers to focus on their own blogging experiences in March and then use all those rich writing experiences to inspire their students to take on the challenge too!
April is inching closer and now is the time to get your plans ready for the Classroom SOLSC!
Sign up on the Padlet
If you aren’t sure what the April Classroom SOLSC is, please check out my Overview post here. The first step to joining the challenge is to be participant in the March SOLSC. Participants in the March SOLSC are invited to join the April Classroom SOLSC. Click on the Padlet and go to the grade level that matches your class. Press the plus sign and add your information, including the link to your students’ blogs.
Prepare a packet for students
There are many different ways to approach the Classroom SOLSC. Through the years, I’ve found badges and prizes have helped motivate students to participate in the challenge. It can be tricky to keep track of all the badges students have earned. To simplify the process, I like to create a packet for students where they can keep track of the days they’ve blogged and the badges they think they earned. I collect their packets each Tuesday to award badges. My packet includes a cover sheet, an explanation letter, a list of the badges students can earn, a class list (so students can check off who they’ve commented on), and a page that I duplicate 15 times for all the days in the challenge. This page helps students keep track of the type of post they wrote, if they tried out any craft moves, and the blogs they read and commented on. They can earn badges for commenting, trying out craft moves and trying out different genres. Keeping the information in this packet helps me when it is time to award badges.
Another step to preparing for the challenge is to create the digital badge sheets for each student. Here is a blank one and below you can see an example of a completed badge sheet.
Share the information with families
There are many different ways you can share the information about the April Classroom SOLSC with families. Last year, I created a video overview for the families. In the past, I created a digital newsletter to explain the challenge. (This one was made when our challenge used to be in March). You can send a flyer to families if you prefer a more low-tech way of communicating. The important thing is to let the families know the challenge is coming and how they can support their child as a writer.
Build excitement for students
One way I’ve done this in the past is to share a blog post I’ve written in the March challenge. I explain to students how I participate in the March SOLSC and then I explain that they will have the opportunity to do so too! I share that there will be prizes and go through the packet with them. I was thinking it could be fun to show them the Padlet and point out the different places classes will be blogging from! We could look at a map and notice where the different participating classes are from.
Brainstorm ideas for blog posts
As April approaches, it is helpful for students to have some ideas ready to go for the challenge. A few years ago, I curated this Padlet to help students who are stuck for ideas.
As a class, you can create a list of some ideas that students can check out when they feel stuck. You might want to share with students how you found ideas for your writing during March and what you did on the days where you felt stuck.
Check out TWT on Sundays!
Beginning on Sunday, March 27 and ending on April 27th, I will be hosting our Classroom SOLSC at TWT. Each Sunday, I will do my best to share inspiration and ideas. I will need your help! In the comments, I hope you will share how things are going for your students and ideas that are working well for you. We are “better together” and I always learn so much from the TWT community! I am hoping we can work together to make April a meaningful and memorable writing time for our students!