Slice of Life Tuesday: Sharing student slices

Slice of Life Tuesday is hosted by Stacey and Ruth at Two Writing Teachers 
We have been slicing away every Friday in my sixth grade Writing Workshop classes – and every week I am reminded once again how much this experience allows my kids to grow as writers and as a writing community.  By Monday, everyone has read each others slices, and we vote for our favorite Slice of Life.  The room is usually buzzing with compliments and excited comments –  a favorite line is recalled here, a funny story recounted there, it’s great fun to listen in (and it validates the entire purpose behind using this writing exercise in our workshop).  Our Slice of Life project has become an important part of our class identity.  This Tuesday, I’d like to share just a few samples of these slices (some with student comments) – mostly because I am so proud of my kids and the writing they push themselves to accomplish, and also because they are so entertaining to read!
Rachel: Change of Plans

As I slipped on my puffy black winter coat, I thought about what fun it would be to finally go out to dinner with my WHOLE family on a Saturday night. Talking and eating delicious >>> food were only some of the things that I was looking forward to. I hadn’t done this in a while, since my dad had been away for ten days. I was barely used to having him home again since he had just returned from New Hampshire the day before. Just as we were ready to walk out the door, my dad’s cell phone rang.
“Hello?” he answered in a professional voice. I knew this meant it was someone from his work. I wondered who and what it was about. I watched my dad’s familiar face suddenly fall, like a scoop of ice cream falling off the cone to the ground.
“Ok.” He replied back to the unknown caller.
“I’ll book the earliest flight possible.” He hung up the phone and immediately started to get ready to leave.
” I’ve got to go to Rome.” He said to us in a disappointed voice. Rome? I knew it. My dad was always called unexpectedly for emergency news stories. The calls always seemed to come at the worst times. This was just another one of the many moments that my dad was pulled away from us. Another trip. All of a sudden, sadness flooded through me. It washed away all of the happiness, excitement, and optimism that ever existed. I watched my dad make many more phone calls.
‘How long will he be gone?’ I thought. ‘What about watching football on Sunday?’ I hugged him goodbye as hard as I could, even though he was still on the phone.
“See you soon.” I whispered trying not to sound upset. After all, it wasn’t his fault he had to leave. I struggled to hold tears back as I thought about what the night would be like without him. Tonight was supposed to be our night out. Tonight was supposed to be special. <<

  • ·  Madalyn: Nice job! I loved how you described how much you were going to miss your dad and how that rush of sadness flooded through you. Also you had a excellent ending. Great slice!
  • ·  Catherine: I thought you did a really great job. I love the way you described how you were ready to say goodbye when he said I will book the earliest flight. Great job
Nicholas : Christmas Tree

Every year my family puts up our Christmas Tree! It is always so pretty and beautiful when I look at it. But like every year, there comes a time when my family must take it down. This was that day.

We started by taking down the ornaments, almost every single one had sentimental value! I took down a round ornament that I saw and started packing it up. Just then I remembered something.
“Hey guys” I said to my Mom, sister and brother. “Do you remember when I dropped this ornament 5 years ago and Dad had to fix it?”

My family remembered and we kept packing up ornaments.

“Wait!” said my sister. “Look at this! Do you remember how we got this ornament from my friend as a Christmas gift?”

We continued packing.
“I remember,” my Mom started. “When I was searching for this icicle looking ornament and I went to the store and they just had one package? I am so glad I took it!”
We all agreed.
“Hey” Stephen said, a little unsure, “didn’t we get this when I was born?”

“Yes” My Mom said!

This shows how even the littlest things can have so much meaning to us sometimes.

Michael: The Golden Apple
I was apple picking with my family on a breezy autumn day when an amazing golden apple caught my eye. The apple was absolutely magnificent and right away I knew I had to have it. >>> The gleaming apple was on the top of a sturdy tree that towered over me and as I looked all along the tree the branches seemed to get farther and farther away from each other. Even though the climb looked tough I had to do it, I needed to know what that Golden Delicious would taste like.

When I finally had my feet planted I took a big bite out of the grapefruit sized apple. After that bite my mouth started to tingle, the apple was the juiciest, sweetest, and most succulent apple I’d ever had.
  • Rachel: I really like all of your descriptions about the apple- where it was, what it looked like, and how you felt determined to get it. I also like your simile. This was a great slice.
  • Isha: Wow! After reading that slice, I’m hungry for an apple! You described it really well . . . it made me feel like I was there!
  • William: Thank god the apple was good!
  • Amanda: Wow, you’re a good writer. I love the suspense of you getting to your reward. Also how you said you felt a tickle in your mouth I thought it was a worm!
  • Emily: I love the way you described as you were climbing the tree so you could get that one apple that you thought would be the best apple you have ever tasted, and I bet you were right in your own way.reply
 We’ve collected nine weeks worth of slices, and I am already planning on the portfolio I will assemble and find some creative and appealing way to package for my sixth graders come June – it will be a treasured memento of our year of being a writing community.

10 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesday: Sharing student slices

  1. You should be proud of your students–these are wonderful–as are the comments. I had to go back and check what grade you taught! Rachel's was so poignant. I wanted to cry for her. I could just feel her disappointment, yet knew how she wanted to be mature about Dad leaving for work.The Christmas tree story by Nicholas reminded me of all the important decorations I just put away. There's something so comforting about familiar ornaments at Christmas.And I agreed with Emily about Michael's apple story. Loved that description!Keep them writing. And keep sharing with us!

  2. I love the way your students are complimenting each other about their writing. Their comments are varied, just like the ones the writers in our online community leave for each other. All kinds of comments fuel writers, don't they? Thanks so much for sharing this look into your classroom. 🙂

  3. You should be proud, not only about their writing, but about their comments as well. How do you set it up? Do they have to comment on a specific number of slices each week? I love the sense of community this has obviously created amongst your writers. I will anxiously await to hear how you package these treasures.

  4. What beautiful and inspiring writing! Rachel really captured her emotion in her story–her disappointment rang so true. Nicholas made me think about my own ornament memories–I could really relate to this. And Michael: I am on my way to my kitchen right now to get an apple!Tara, thank you so much for sharing these!

  5. May I please come and be a part of your class's workshop? What a supportive and wonderful environment, and these pieces are so focused. Lately, I've been doing lots of slice-writing in my own notebook too, and I find it helps me discover what matters to me most.Might one of your students be interested in sharing his/her notebook on my blog – If yes, please just drop me a line at www dot amy lv dot com. Ruth will be sharing hers next! a.

  6. You talked about doing this before, Tara & I'm so glad you shared. Each piece of writing shared by a student is a perfect slice of life-one special moment, one big feeling. I loved that the comments were specific too, showing just what each liked in the particular slice. Thank you & to your students.

  7. Thanks for sharing! It's amazing to see how slices of life are working with your students. I bet it has brought a wonderful sense of community to your class! I'm very impressed with how thoughtful and respectful their comments are. I'd also love to hear more about how you went about implementing slicing & commenting with your class to get such great results!

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