Right around this time in March, my enthusiasm for blogging every day starts to wane. (I know. I know. You’re probably thinking, hey that was fast!) I start to run out of ideas for writing because although I have been cultivating a daily writing habit since the beginning of the year, I don’t blog every day. So, how am I going to keep going for 23 more days?
Right around this time in March, I empathize with those students who have a hard time finding writing topics. I’ll have to admit that so far, this has only happened once since the start of the challenge. No one has complained that they don’t know what to write about. Of course, they’re not writing a lot. Their slices are short and sweet. Nevertheless, they are writing. They don’t complain when it’s time to slice and I even sense a bit of excitement during our afternoon slicing time. Of course, I can’t deny that this thrills me to no end!
Some of my students’ slices reveal a lot about what they pay attention to in their lives. In some cases, the topics of their slices are not surprising, but it’s those slices that focus on a small moment and turn it into something more that I find intriguing.
Some of my students are trying their hand at poetry. Granted, some of it is a little stilted as they struggle to find words that rhyme; they think “real poetry” is supposed to rhyme. However, other students are trying free verse.
The fact that many of the slices in our classroom are short doesn’t let me rest, however. I am finding ways to get my students to write more. I ask them questions and have them add this to their writing. In some instances, I scribe at the computer while they tell me their story.
I encourage them to include a reflection about their small moment in their slice, but that is challenging for them.
These eight days of slicing have given me lots of formative information that will help me design just-in-time lessons to teach my students this month. Some lesson topics will be new to them and some will be review. Although many will be about the conventions of writing – how to use punctuation to show dialogue and how to use punctuation effectively in poems – others will be about how to elaborate on a story, how to tell the events as they happened, and how to put more of themselves into their writing. Even though our first unit of the year was on personal narrative writing and we focused on many of these issues, it seems that we need a refresher.
Slicing every day will make us stronger writers.
I think we will keep going for 23 more days.
Cross posted to Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life March Challenge, Day #8