2017 is the tenth year of the Slice of Life Story Challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers, but it is my first time participating. The goal is to write and post a "slice of life" story every day during the month of March. (I will still be posting book reviews but a little less frequently.)
Slice of Life: Preparing
On Wednesday I will be launching the Slice of Life Story Challenge with my seventh graders. This is my first year of teaching seventh grade after eight years in third and fourth, so there is a good deal of lesson planning on-the-fly (hence, we aren't getting around to the challenge until over a week in, as we had other lessons and books to wrap up first).
One fun thing about teaching a new grade at the same school is that I had a handful of my students back when they were in my third grade class too. It's always been one of my favorite things about teaching in a K-8 school, but it's been even more interesting to see these kids again on a daily basis.
These kids are an incredibly creative group, and I love seeing how they take an idea or inspiration and run with it. I have continued my tradition of weekly Poetry Friday time with them, where each week we discuss a different poem or style, and then they are set free to explore and express themselves. (You can see a selection of some of their six-word family stories here, as we are wrapping up a unit on immigration and family history.)
And yet ...
Now that it's just about time to start, the doubts start creeping in. What if they don't buy into it? How can I best set rigorous expectations (for those determined to do the minimum), while also encouraging those who might take this opportunity and really run with it? How can I transfer the energy and excitement of the #SOL17 community into our classroom? How, how, how?
How? By jumping in with both feet. By sharing examples, both my own and those of others. By providing comments and encouraging honest interactions. By giving them ownership over content, over form, over the process. By relying on this community and all you other amazing teachers for encouragement and inspiration. By believing in the power of writing and the power of sharing and the power of audience. By trusting my students.
What are your favorite formats or structures for slices that seventh graders might enjoy?
(If any of you have middle school classes on Kidblog, please drop me a line at katie at thelogonauts.com to connect. Our blogs are not public, but we'd love to be able to connect with other Kidblog classrooms.)
(Click here to read my previous Slice of Life Challenge posts.)