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Slice of Life

ONE SITE. THREE CHALLENGES. (2)

Welcome to the SLICE OF LIFE Information Page.

If I dismiss the ordinary — waiting for the special, the extreme, the extraordinary to happen — I may just miss my life.

–Dani Shapiro in Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life (2013, 123)

Here's How it Began_new

In February 2008, Stacey was reading one of her student’s writer’s notebooks and came across a piece of writing about his sister’s lost necklace. Christian wrote an entire entry about the outrage he felt when his mother made the family drop everything to search for his sister’s lost necklace in their apartment. Thirty minutes after they lifted up couch cushions and checked under all of the beds, her necklace turned up on her neck! There was something about his entry, this little snippet of Christian’s life. It seemed like a slice of life story. Stacey googled “slice of life” and found that it’s a term frequently used in literature and entertainment. It essentially means to describe everyday experiences with as much realism as possible. Stacey realized that was exactly the kind of entry Christian had written.

That experience gave Stacey an idea: she could use “slice of life” stories to inspire her fourth graders who weren’t writing in their writer’s notebooks with the same gusto as Christian. After using Christian’s piece as a mentor text she challenged her fourth graders to write one slice of life story in their writer’s notebook daily for the entire month of March. She would keep track of what each student wrote, and at the end of the month she would award those who wrote 25 or more daily entries a writing-related prize. It worked! Thus, the Slice of Life Story Challenge was born.

The individual challenge began on Two Writing Teachers in 2008 and has grown each year. Adults, classroom teachers and their students across six continents participate in this weekly challenge as well as in the month-long challenge in March. The month-long Classroom Challenge was launched in 2013 as a response to requests from teachers who wanted to fuel their students’ writing with a Slice of Life Story Challenge experience.

Challenge #1

Every Tuesday there will be a post on the Two Writing Teachers main page where you can link your Slice of Life story post and read other people’s Slice of Life stories.  All you have to do is leave the link to your SOL story blog post as a comment inside of that Tuesday’s post. If your posts automatically go to your Twitter feed, you can use the hashtag #sol20.

FAQ’S for the Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge

How do I start?

Are you wondering what a slice of life story is? Click on this image to enlarge & to learn more.
Are you wondering what a slice of life story is? Click on this image to enlarge & to learn more.

Take it step-by-step:

  • Start a blog. Blogger and WordPress are easy to navigate and have great step-by-step directions when getting started.
  • Write and post a Slice on your blog. A Slice is a little segment of your day.
  • Copy the unique URL (this is the link that goes directly to your blog post, not just a link to your blog).
  • Visit the Two Writing Teachers “Call for Slices” post on Tuesday.
  • Paste the unique URL in a comment with a short snippet about your Slice. Here is an example:

Comment:

My Slice: A little comic relief: https://raisealithuman.wordpress.com/2016/05/10/laughable-legs/.

  • Read and comment on at least three other Slicers’ posts.
 

In March 2020, Two Writing Teachers will host its thirteenth month-long writing challenge for both individuals and its eighth month-long writing challenge for students. Scroll down for information on both challenges.

Challenge #2

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” —Maya Angelou

Have you been thinking about joining the Slice of Life Story Challenge community but don’t feel you have anything to contribute? Well, you are mistaken.  Our daily lives are filled with so many worthy moments just waiting to be written about and shared.  Take a moment to scroll through past SOLSC Tuesdays to check out the infinite variety of topics our writing community has shared.

Your next step is to start a blog. We know, you probably think you can’t do it or you may not think you can keep up. Well, writers take it one day at a time. Give yourself the time and opportunity to see your potential and put yourself in the shoes of your students for 31 days (in March). This is a challenge for a reason. Yes, it can be hard, but the biggest payoff often comes from that which is most difficult. Give your readers an opportunity to hear your voice, because yes, you will have readers. Having a welcoming audience giving you insightful, positive feedback is one of the best parts of the SOLSC. The community will provide you with the support you need to continue the challenge and will be cheering you on as you celebrate your accomplishment at the end of the month.

You will have the opportunity to:

  • discover new topics.
  • experiment with new writing techniques.
  • encourage other writers with your supportive comments and compliments.
  • learn how to bring SOLSC into your classroom in March.

 FAQ’S for the Month-Long Slice of Life Story Challenge

1. What if I get overwhelmed?

If this is your first experience blogging or if you’ve never linked a post, then the TWT co-authors and other seasoned Slicers will help you get started and guide you through the journey. Everyone has had basic questions when starting a blog, and we know just the people who can step in and answer them!

2. How can it help students?

Imagine developing a routine where students write a short snippet of their life each day. That is a Slice of Life story. Once students are familiar with its format, they will never be without a topic again. Building in this daily writing will require your students to think about and notice stories throughout their day. They will be writing even when they aren’t writing. Students will also learn what it means to be a member of a writing community. They will learn how to give and receive feedback within a community of writers.

3. Is there a logo I can use on my blog?

Yes. Please use the appropriate logo for classroom or individual Slice of Life stories.

slice of life_individual

4. Are there prizes?

Prizes! Yes, there are prizes. Not everyone is guaranteed a prize in March, but if you write and link for 31 days you will be entered to receive a prize. Some prizes include professional and children’s books, journals, artwork, etc. There are occasionally prizes offered during the March challenge for reaching certain goals.

5. Are there any commenting guidelines?

Several years ago, the TWT co-author team created comment guidelines. As of February 18th, 2018, we updated some of our commenting guidelines. Please refer to these when writing your slice of life stories and commenting as part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge.

  • Self-Promotion: The links in the comment section of our Slice of Life Story Challenge posts are meant to lead our readers to stories from people’s lives.
    • Blog posts should not be selling something (goods and/or services) under the pretense of being part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge.
    • Please don’t use your comment or link to your blog for self-promotion of any paid goods and/or services.
  • Linking and Running: Please do not just drop off the link to your Slice without commenting on at least three other Slice of Life stories (shared by others in the comments section of Two Writing Teachers). Comments are the foundation of this community. If you choose to link early in the morning, please return later that day to leave at least three comments for your fellow writers.
  • Etiquette: In our community of writers, it is generally considered poor blogging etiquette to leave a comment that contains your personal contact information and/or signature, implying that you expect a comment in return for the one you left. Please refrain from including your URL, Twitter handle, email address, or other contact info in your comment. Our daily calls for slices are where all participants can find the writers they are looking for.
  • Spam: It’s not just big advertisers who spam. Spam can include: copying and pasting a comment from one post to another or leaving a message, such as, “Nice post. Visit my blog at…” These are forms of spam.
Please note: We reserve the right to remove any comment deemed inappropriate and/or in violation of our commenting guidelines.
Challenge #3

 

“[Writing] is like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.” –Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (1995)

What an exciting time in your classroom! You are taking on the Slice of Life Story Challenge and your students get to sit beside you writer to writer. The Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge (a.k.a. Classroom SOLSC), only happens in March. Here are some things to keep in mind as you take them on this journey:

  • If your students are slicing from their personal blogs, please have them link to your blog and then you can share the unique URL with the community on the “Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge” page at Two Writing Teachers.
  • Encourage your students to leave comments for other classes who are slicing. They can follow a few other classroom Slicers’ blogs from other schools throughout the challenge and make a virtual connection with another young writer.

  • We do not offer prizes for the Classroom SOLSC. It is up to you to provide prizes should you choose to do so. For more thoughts on this topic, click here.

  • Need some examples from real-life classrooms? Here are some links to some fantastic classroom challenges, Amanda Cornwell and Beth Scanlon’s guest blog posts.

  • There are several resources for Classroom SOLSC, which include parent letters and a tracking spreadsheet for students daily writing. Click here to download those resources.
  • Remember to keep it safe for your students. This community is made up of good people, however, it is in a public domain. Always have students use a pseudonym and be sure they are not disclosing any personal information.
  • Logos (in English & Spanish):
slice of life_class
slice of life_class_spanish
Questions? Feel free to reach out to a co-author at our Contact Us page! 

293 thoughts on “Slice of Life Leave a comment

  1. I would love to start this next week with my kiddos. Is there anyway you could send me a link to, or a copy of, the mentor texts (slices with comments) you are using in the beginning of the video? I love this!

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  2. Hi TWT. I adore this blog for the top-notch quality and support for teachers. I’ve learned alot from you in a very short time. Is the # stil SOL14? Is there a place where past Tuesday SOLs are archived. Is the SOLSC always in March? Obviously I’m intrigued! Thanks so much,Dawn

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  3. Hello, Two Writing Teachers! I love your blog and I’m blown away by your Slice of Life community. I want to be part of it, too. How do I get the unique url? How do I join? I am a children’s author of middle grade books and my blog, iamsherriwinston.wordpress.com, will promote the fine craft of writing, books, reviews and all things story. I’d love to be part of your ongoing conversation. Count me in!

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    • This is an info page. You’ll link your slices on the daily call for slices in March (or on Tuesdays the rest of the year). Unfortunately, links left on this page won’t be seen by our writing community.

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  4. This has been an unbelievably challenging year-personally, professionally, spiritually, sartorially. I have not written. Has not happened. I’ve become stale. I plan to complete SOLC 14 and then become one of the year-rounders for the following year. I hope I can stick to slices and not throw entire pies across the page because I’m out of practice! See you soon slicers!

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    • @Nancy: This page is for information only about the Slice of Life Story Challenge. Unfortunately, WordPress will not allow us to turn off the comments on this page. Therefore, please wait until Tuesday’s call for slice of life stories and then post your unique URL on that post. Thank you.

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  5. As the day went on slowly and dreary, I got to thinking……….where was i going to end up one day? Would I still know all my best friends? Would the world be better or worse? And most importantly what was going to happen to me? I thought i would be very successful which i most likely going to be. Thinking about the world can be scary or relaxing depending on who you are…………………………

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  6. Slice of Life Challenge – Day 30. I can’t believe that tomorrow is the last day! Thank you Stacey for encouraging all of us to take on the challenge. Congratulations to all the participants who entertained and educated all of us. A great learning opportunity!

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  7. Slice of Life Challenge – Day 28. I have the same feelings as Bonnie, this Slice of Life project has successfully “challenged” me to continue writing on my Peace Blog during this stressful time of my Mother’s final stages of life and the process after death. Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of your Slice of Life project.

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  8. Slice of Life Challenge – Day 13. I am so inspired by the posts of everyone involved in this challenge. Thank you for sharing your stories and your lives.

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  9. “Slice of Life Challenge” – Day 12

    As I have been working on this “Slice of Life Challenge,” while writing my Peace Everyday Blog, I have been thinking about all of you teachers and what I expect to be your excellence in grammar. As I read your posts, I am not looking at where you put your commas or semi colons, yet as I write my own posts, I am constantly questioning myself about my memory of what is correct grammar. It’s been a long time since I learned grammar and I am not very confident about the quality of my instructors. If any of you have any advice for me concerning my grammar, I would gladly accept any suggestions.

    My daughter, Ali, is constantly encouraging the scrapbookers, and Life Artists, that she is teaching not to worry about the grammar and spelling of their journaling. “just start writing,” she tells her students, “your family is not going to care if you have misplaced commas or words that aren’t spelled correctly.” I empathize with those woman who question their ability to write with correct grammar. Writing or journaling would be easier, and probably quicker, if I wasn’t always questioning my grammar.

    Does anyone else have this questioning mode?

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  10. I’m in for the challenge and have been doing it every day! Yea! I’m preparing my website and hope to link up today. What a great challenge. I’ve got my 4th grader doing it to, I’ve challenged her to write about 15 days. She decided she didn’t want me to post her stories so she made herself a notebook for the challenge. Thanks for sharing this challenge!

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  11. I love writing like this. I use word count journal each morning to begin the day but I it’s more for me. I love the idea of sharing here each day. This is great.

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  12. I would be happy to be involved in your project. I have tried to read how to link my Blog to your Slice of LIfe Challenge, but can’t find the exact directions on how to do that. If you could please email directions, I would appreciate the help.

    Great idea to encourage young people to write. You have a really great Blog!

    Pati

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  13. Stacey, thanks for the quick response. I am excited to try this…I need to be practicing what I preach.

    As for the scrapbook, I can view it, I just can’t make one. Bummer! I have contacted them to see when they will have a Mac version out and am waiting to hear back.

    Thanks!

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  14. Cathy: Since you just wrote this, I’ll respond back to you since I’m online since someone else might have the same question.

    Slices of Life Stories can be about anything… any little part of your day. Stories about your class will most certainly count! Just ear-mark them as a “Slice of Life Story” on your blog so that we can easily count that when we tally them up at the end of the month.

    As for the scrapbook presentation… do you mean you cannot view the Smilebook thing on your home computer? (I can send you a less exciting PPT that contains the same info, but no graphics. LMK if you’d like that.)

    Best,
    Stacey

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  15. Okay, I’m in…I think. Have a couple of questions and I’ll probably ask you Ruth since I’ll see you in person. Two the biggest: 1) do I have to do the scrapbook (they don’t have a version for mac 😦 2) are there certain topics that my slices of life need to be about? will stories about my class count towards it or not? Thanks for any input!

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