Skip to main content

Slicing with Students

Slicing with my students this month has been an eye opener.
They have a lot of stories to tell and they need a lot of support telling them.

We often run out of time in class for students to complete their slices and they rarely finish them at home. I do a lot of revising and editing in the evenings so that I can publish their slices before the end of the day.

As I read my students slices, I am taking notes as to the mini lessons I plan to teach in small groups or whole class.

Next year, I think that it might be a good idea for my students to start slicing on Google Docs a week or so before the challenge starts. I think about how I write a blog post and most of the time I don't write directly on my blog, except during the March SOL Challenge; it's faster to write directly on my blog during March.

Today my students' slices were better than on other days when their final pieces seemed to have been written on the run. I think what helped them is that I shared an example of a slice from a sixth grader from the March Slice of Life classroom challenge page. We talked about what the writer did well and how they might do the same thing in their writing. We talked about writing long, elaborating on their ideas and showing not telling by using vivid words and describing what is happening so that the reader can picture the story in his or her head.

I also shared the list of ideas for writing slices that was posted on the Two Writing Teachers site that included writing about school subjects, games, and what happened in the past. This seemed to help some students who were having trouble coming up with writing topics. Tomorrow we will take some ideas from this list and start a running chart of writing ideas for the rest of the challenge. In retrospect, I may have been too rigid in my expectations for acceptable topics when I first rolled out the challenge.  Knowing that they are not limited to what happened on that day makes it easier for my students to find writing ideas. Tomorrow I will share another slice by another student. Hopefully, this will spark more interest in writing long and elaborating on ideas.

Visit my classroom blog, mselisacoto.blogspot.com, and leave some comments for my students. They will be thrilled to get them.

Cross posted to Two Writing Teachers March Slice of Life Challenge, Day #16.

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Teacher I Want to Be

The
I have been dismayed to realize that despite my self-image as a teacher with a learner centered classroom, I am far from truly achieving that goal. 

I have been listening carefully to myself lately, and I don't like what I hear myself saying to the kids. Instead of empowering my students to take ownership of their learning, I am still the director on the stage. I still ask leading questions rather than ones that push the learner to figure things out for herself. I realize I often spoon feed my students hopeful that they will give me the answer I'm looking for. An answer that will make my job easier. Answers that will fit with what I expect students to say despite the fact that 30 years in education has taught me nothing if not that students are unpredictable, and if we prepare for anything, that is what we should be prepared for. 
Teacher
An anecdote. The other day I was talking with a student about the fact that she was abandoning more books than she was finishing. I was as…

Searching for Balance

I have been doing a lot of soul searching over the last couple of days. 
And, I've come to the conclusion that I must change my attitude - shift my stance - so I can assume a new perspective. So that I am more aligned with what's important and may add value to my life.  
Focusing on the negative is not making me stronger or healthier. In fact, I am often stressed because I worry a lot about unimportant things. I obsess over situations out of my control. I dismiss positive experiences that would help lift my spirits and align my focus towards what's important. 
I need a distraction from my own thoughts.
I need balance in my life. Not because I work hard to prepare my classes. Not because I read a lot of professional literature. Not because I wrote a lot this summer and will continue to do so now that school has started. But because I have been obsessing on the wrong things. Mostly, I obsess about what someone said or did and what it says about me as a teacher. I obsess about …

Sitting in My Usual Spot

I am sitting in my usual spot.
At least it has been my usual spot for about a week now.
It has become my work space.
It's where I sit to participate in online summer PD activities.
It's where I read.
It's where I write.

My usual spot is in a corner of the couch.
The arm rest is unusually wide.
I can pile my books, notebooks and even my laptop there.
And, I do.

I used to have a more conventional work space,
but then my husband, who works from home,
and was struggling to stick to his side of the desk,
finally spread out,
invading my work space.

One day, after many attempts at getting organized,
and not succeeding,
he told me that he was going to add an extension to our house,
so I could have my own work space.
I told him it was cheaper to tidy up.
That was months ago.

Before claiming my usual spot,
I set up a temporary, wobbly table against a wall in my bedroom
for a work space.
I used that for a few months.
Not ideal, but better than nothing.

I've reclaimed my conventio…