Slice of Life Tuesday: Room 202 – where everyone knows your name

Slice of Life Tuesday is hosted by Stacey and Ruth at Two Writing Teachers
We begin our Slice of Life project in our class today!  Just as we do here every Tuesday, our class will gather together every Friday to post a slice and enjoy the fruits of of our writing community – our encouragement, our compliments, our validations of the writerly life.   So, I will begin with a minilesson on the art of writing a “Slice of Life,” and then walk my kids through the process of logging onto our blog, posting a slice,  reading fellow slicer’s efforts and leaving comments to show the tracks of our thinking..and our appreciation for the work it takes to slice.   The first post will be the following, mine, written to model the process and also to let my kids know how I feel about (at last!) knowing each of their names:
     It’s Friday afternoon, and everyone has left our building.  I heard the last goodbyes fade into the warm September  afternoon some time ago, and now everything is  quiet and still.  As I collect my papers and books, I notice that the nametags I had placed on desks for the first day of school are beginning to look rather faded and messy, some are just about falling off entirely – they are ready to go!  I remember making these name tags the day before school began, when I filled them out not knowing who was who.  Just names.  
     I remember thinking about each of those names and imagining what you would look like, what you would sound like and what you would be like here in room 202.   I remember filling out three Carolines, two Johns, two Dylans, and a Katherine and a Catherine … and worrying about how I was going to keep track of you, and tell you apart!  I remember thinking about who would work well together and if everyone would be able to see each other – this is really important to me, to the work we have to accomplish together this year.  I hoped I had seated you well for that important first day of school.
    But now we are three weeks into the year.  Your name tags are not in good shape, but on Friday I realized  that I didn’t need them anymore!  I know each of you as you walk in: your smiles, the particular way you ask and answer questions, where you like to sit on the reading rug, and which comfy chair you especially like.  I know that Matthew is Matthew and not Matt, that Elizabeth is Lizzie, and that the three Carolines are awesome but in entirely different ways.  I know that Ben and Filip ask questions in threes and that John M. likes to know everything about homework ASAP.  I also know that you know each others’ names by now, and that you make space for each other on the reading rug, and help each other find books, answers to questions and vocabulary words.  
  Slowly, I peel off those name tags and clean off your desks.  Come Monday morning, you will know exactly where to sit, and who sits around you….and so will I. 

16 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesday: Room 202 – where everyone knows your name

  1. What a great post to model how to slice for your students! I'm planning on having my students slice every Tuesday, starting next week. I was wondering if you could share with me any strategies or tips on how to get them started on it. Would you mind e-mailing me: ? Also, I have the sign choose kind banner on our class blog. I just put it on today… great minds think alike! We are almost finished with reading Wonder.Jee Young

  2. What a beautiful piece with such flow I feel as I am walking around your room with you as we look at each name tags and having a guided tour about your students. I believe it is the small things that are so important to students and the fact that we all learn them in the first three weeks is amazing. Let the learning begin in the classroom and hats off to you for knowing your students so well.

  3. Beautifully written and felt, Tara. I love hearing all about your new class and what you are doing, how you begin the slices. You wrote so lovingly to the students here and I bet they will love hearing your words. It's a great exercise for them to begin, to learn about each other and to learn what they like to write about and why. One of the teachers with whom I work is doing Monday slices, and so far it's going very well. Best to you and the class!

  4. I would love to figure this out for one of the classes that I include in. Did you need to get parent permissions to do this? I want to get rolling with the idea as soon as possible. Do parents give feedback also? xo nanc

  5. It is through time, experiences and their writing that you really learn about your students. They are indeed the lucky ones to have a wise teacher who realizes what is important as we share our "insides" with those around us.

  6. You know…it's actually a lot easier if everyone has the same name! They all look at you when you say the name! Wonderful look inside your world! Thanks for sharing it. I'll check back tomorrow even though I'm retired now. It's still fun to keep up with what's going on!

  7. Tara,I love how you reflected on moving from not knowing them to knowing them. I felt like I should do the same with my class. Thanks for sharing this post on a closer look into your community. Goodluck with the slicing.Amy

  8. Awww… This is so sweet. The mood of the piece is gentle and kind. The power of naming – of truly knowing one another – is so important. What a lovely piece to get your students started on the joy of slicing.

  9. I wish I did not teach in a block schedule so I could accomplish this. But maybe it would work regardless. We use moodle for "online stuff." I can create forums and what not. Would that serve us just as well as a blog?

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