Day 30 SOL 16: Lessons Learned

Yesterday I met with our Slice of Life group, a mix of first through fifth graders, for our last meeting before the challenge ends.  The students gathered around the carpet as we talked about what we've loved about the challenge.  One student shared that she has written every day for two years of the challenge.  "I'm not sure what I will do next year when I'm in the sixth grade building," she bemoaned.

"No worries," I assured her, "you just track me down.  I'll help you figure it out."

The group started to rumble as they considered the end of our challenge.  Our conversation turned to what they'd learned in their month of writing.  Several students had written every day, or nearly every day, since the challenge began.  Others had maintained some consistency in posting for the month.  Everyone had learned lessons of one kind or another.  We started a Padlet for students to share what they had learned with the group (you can view their responses here).

Like my students, and like other participants, I've learned a few things along the way myself:

  1. I'm a morning writer.  (Well, I already knew this, but it was very apparent as I don't have "morning time" during the school week.)
  2. My writing is best when I decide what I'm writing about early, and then work the piece in my head across the day.  
  3. PUBLISHING a piece of writing everyday isn't easy.
  4. I'm not comfortable pushing the publish button before I feel a piece is ready.  
  5. If I don't write down an idea when it comes to me, it can be will be lost.
  6. Taking time for a quick write when the idea comes to me makes writing my piece much easier.  Just five minutes now can be quite powerful later.
  7. Working at this pace makes it hard to keep up with my reading...and reading inspires my writing. 
  8. Having a writing community matters for so many reasons!  I'm not sure where I'd be without my student writers, my friends participating, and the Slice of Life community.
  9. There are stories everywhere.
  10. I'm happier writing poetry.  (Stay tuned tomorrow to find out more about this.)  
Sometimes I've wished this challenge was in the summer when I really had the time to devote to the writing, but honestly I think I would miss the point that if you write every day you're bound to come up with a piece or two of writing that might have the potential to become something better with a little bit of sculpting.   Thank you to the group at Two Writing Teachers and all of you that have stopped by to comment.  I couldn't have finished without you!

For the month of March I will be participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge hosted at Two Writing Teachers.  It will be a busy month of writing, commenting, and learning with this community.  Stop by today's link up to join the conversation or find some great reading.


  1. I always enjoy your posts, Cathy, although it seems as if I can't get to everyone every day this year. Perhaps there's more, perhaps I'm not as fast as I used to be. This reflection is true all the way through, at least to me. Number two is how I process for sure. I cannot just sit down & write my post then publish. I noodle it around for a long while first. Thanks for sharing about the students, too. How great about that young girl who is worried about next year!

  2. I'm working on a piece about lessons learned this month as well, and we share several. I'm especially struck by the writing vs publishing thing. I started the month thinking of this as a writing challenge--but it's really not. Writing daily is easy; finding something worth publishing every day definitely is not. Great observation about the value of a quickwrite to start a piece.

  3. What a wonderful gift you gave those students by facilitating their group. What great lessons they have learned.
    And I really like the lessons you have learned as well. Almost all of your points (except #10) are things I could say about myself as well.
    I'm looking forward to reading your poetry in April.


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