Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Slice of Life Challenge: And So It Begins

Last year, I hosted a dedicated group of writers  for the Slice of Life Challenge.  Thirty students took the challenge, and we met each Tuesday as we tried to write every day during the month of March.  This year, I'm planning to host a group of students again.  I know my obligation to them will keep me going when the writing gets tough and I want to quit.  

The buzz has been fun.  I've listened to students talk to each other about the challenge, recruit their friends, and pick up forms outside my door.  I've talked with students who joined me last year, and new students considering joining us.  We knowingly understand the challenge and we're ready again. This is just one example of the conversations happening in our building right now.  


Walking out of my door, I see L paused with her arms crossed.  She's staring reflectively at the folder hanging near the window, "Join the Slice of Life Challenge" it reads.

"Hi, L," I say as I notice her standing there.  The look on her face tells me she is weighing important questions.  "What are you thinking about?" I inquire.

She shifts her stance from one leg to another.  "I'm trying to decide," she says and waits for me to reply.  

"About Slice of Life?"  I ask.

"Yes, I'm not sure about it," she confides.  

I consider her words and her possible uncertainty.  I'm familiar with this uncertainty as I feel it every day too.  Committing to write for 31 days isn't easy because there will be days the writing won't come easily.  I know there will be days the ideas will try to hide from me.  I know there will be days I hit the publish button well before the piece is ready to breathe in the world.  

Of course, I also know there will be days that I will surprise myself.  There will be days I find a line that makes me smile.  There will be days when my words might connect with others.  There will be days in which I only find an idea because I am looking.  I know in the end these thirty-one days will make me a better writer.  

All this uncertainty races through my head, and I focus my attention back on the seven year old watching me, waiting for a response.  

"I understand," I affirm.  "I'm going to write all thirty-one days with you if you decide to try it.  I know it won't always be easy, but it will be fun.  We can write about whatever we want to write about each day.  There will be days the writing will be hard, but I think we can both do it," I say to encourage both of us.  

We chat for a bit about how our school Slice of Life Club works.  She seems comfortable with what I have said and reaches for a form.  I'm not sure what she is deciding, but I hope she is planning to join us.  



15 comments:

  1. Sounds like so much fun. I bet writing with 7 year olds is great fun! I loved writing with sixth graders when I was in the classroom. Here's to a great month of slicing with your young friends!

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  2. Love all of the excitement and buzz!!! I think she's writing with us. Just my take. :) Glad you are joining in too!!!

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  3. You were so patient with her, Cathy, not pushing, just telling about the fun. I hope she writes with you too.

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  4. This gives me a lot of confidence. Taking each day at a time. Good luck to you and this little one.

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  5. It must be incredible to do this with students! It is so great you partner with them. I cannot wait to read their pieces. I am planning to give it a go this year! I might need some encouragement from them!!
    Clare

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    1. Yay! We'll be right beside you cheering each other along.

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  6. What a fun but busy month it will be! How great that you will be there to support them when the writing gets tough, and it always does. I hope L takes on the challenge.

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  7. I loved the way you reiterated "we" - our kids will do so much if they know we is part of the endeavor. We need company and support. We is wonderful!

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  8. I loved the way you reiterated "we" - our kids will do so much if they know we is part of the endeavor. We need company and support. We is wonderful!

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    1. Thank you, Tara, for helping to grow the excitement when you visited Ohio.

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  9. I loved this line, "I know there will be days I hit the publish button well before the piece is ready to breathe in the world." Well done!

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  10. What a great conversation you had with her. It'll be interesting to see what she does! My 6th graders are anticipating the SOLCC will some excitement as well as some trepidation. Me too! I set it up, though, so they have various levels from which to choose. I already have a theme picked out for mine - it helps me with ideas!

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  11. You have summed up what all "those days" mean to many of us. But doing this together and making connections is what it is all about!

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  12. I love it! I wish I had remembered to offer an after school support time or group. I will remind my students that they can stop in and write during resource time. I had students divvy up the month, but a few expressed interest in trying for 31 days.

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  13. Enjoyed reading this conversation.
    Blessed students!

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