Friday, March 24, 2017

#SOL17 Slicing My Classroom (and a reflection on quiet) 24/31

2017 is the tenth year of the Slice of Life Story Challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers, The goal is to write and post a "slice of life" story every day during the month of March. My seventh graders are also participating in a slimmed down version of the challenge, writing 10 slices during the month.

Slice of Life: Slicing My Classroom

Writing Slice of Life posts has been about the quietest my classroom has ever been this school year. Sure, our read to self time is generally pretty quiet, but any time students are writing or working, there is almost always a background hum. Questions being asked, kids chatting off-topic, and on and on.

Most of the time, I don't mind it at all. The off-topic-ers redirect quickly, the noise bouncing from spot-to-spot as talkers refocus and get back down to work. But long, sustained quiet is a rarity.

With slice of life writing, it tends to come in waves. Right as we settle in, the quiet descends. The tap, tap, tapping of keyboards becomes the only sound.

As the period passes, the quick writers move on from their own posts to reading and commenting on the posts of others. Soon the spell is broken. Certain posts are so interesting, so funny, so (something) that they inspire verbal as well as typed comments. Yesterday it was March Madness and the Badger's prospects against Florida this evening. Today it was the dog that walked by the playground at recess (and a link to a video of the panda Bao Bao being absurdly cute).

I was inspired to think about slicing about our slicing (and about our silence) both by the shock of the silence itself and the fact that two students also wrote posts about the silence, which I wanted to share.

Silence by M

Right now the classroom is quiet. I have no idea why. This is unusual. What is wrong with our class. Wait, no it's not quiet any more. L just snarled. And people are typing. Someone is sniffing. Pr is giggling. L is laughing silently. J and T are arguing over something. Now L and Pa are talking. Now E is asking something to Katie and she is answering. Now K and L are talking. R just said something about the delete key. Pr's freaking out about a dog. L and K are responding. T is talking to Katie. E and R join in the conversation. J just added some more. L can't find a picture of a specific dog we saw at recess. THE CLASS IS NO LONGER QUIET.

The Question by C

While thinking of a topic to write about, I looked around the room, noticing everyone (or almost) everyone was lost in their own world, typing away as though nobody else was there. The purpose of Kidblog is to share writing with other people, and yet while we work within a few feet of each other, we hardly acknowledge our neighbors in the desks next to us. This observation provoked a question. I wondered - does technology pull people apart, or bring them together?

There are plenty of examples supporting both sides of this argument. Email and cell phones allow people to chat across long distances, allowing a conversation regular mail would never allow. Take for example - A college student, who attends a college in another state, can easily talk with his or her parents across the phone. This is a clear example of people being brought together. But consider this - If there was no method of fast, convenient communication, would the college student have gone so far away from home? Instead of only talking several minutes a day, would the student have been able to hold a conversation for twice as long? Technology influences us, whether the effects are obvious or hidden, and often in ways that many do not expect. Are we truly together when we only see through a screen? Should we trade convenience for sincerity? Like many things, this requires a balance: Do not fear to reach people over a screen, but do not forget the sincere talks that delve much deeper than technology ever could.

(If you are a teacher on Kidblog, you can connect with my class here. Or click here to read my previous Slice of Life Challenge posts.)

1 comment:

  1. definitely a balancing act -- tightrope act between extremes, neither mode supplanting the other. done with mindfulness and care each enhances the other.


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