Slice of Life Tuesday: The "last slice of the school year"

The March Slice of Life Challenge is hosted by Stacey and Ruth at Two Writing Teachers

Our charts – they begin our slicing journey in September.
So, here we are…our last class Slice of Life.  Every September, I roll out our year long classroom slicing extravaganza, and every year two things happen: One, my kids are a bit dubious – a slice of life every week? commenting on our classmate’s slices every week? That sounds like too much work! And two: I am dubious: Am I really ready to commit to 50 slices every week that must be read? Plus all the comments that I must also read and log?  
Then the year is in full swing and we are slicing, and we love the rhythm of it all – the sense of community we have around this weekly activity.  We learn about each others’ lives and we share bits of our own.  We know when some one’s dog is sick and then did not make it, we know when some one’s grandma is coming to visit, we know when those dreaded braces come on, and we know when hard fought soccer matches are lost. 
And then comes that last slice – up it goes on the homework board and there is a collective sigh. Wow. The. Last. Slice.  Of all the activities we do, this is the one that seems to resonate the most – we recognize that because of this we grew closer together  – a community of writers, making our way through a school year.   
Here are two that capture something of what slicing has come to mean in room 202:

I am really sad that this will be the last slice of life. I really enjoyed getting to write about some new exciting adventure that I have had the last week.
I loved reading every one’s stories, their experiences they have 
had in the last week. I always thought they were so interesting, you could take a sneak peek into some one’s life, learn something new about them. I loved the fact that whenever someone wrote their story, it felt as though you were on that journey right with them. 
Not only am I sad that this will be our last slice of life, I am sad that school is coming to a close. I really enjoyed being in this Block class, it will surely be the highlight of my 6th grade year. In Block, we would always have a good time. Learning was turned into fun, whether it being sharing our photo essay about a new topic to just getting to learn and grow as historians, poets, writers, readers, etc. I know that I felt Block allowed us to become close almost like a family. It also allowed us to learn more about each other as classmates.
From Christmas parties to just having a discussion as a class, Block was always fun. Just getting to walk into the classroom puts a smile on my face. I love learning about new topics in The Civil War and in Slavery and in everything else was fascinating. 
I would just like to say that I will remember Block always. Walking into the classroom set a new adventure every day, it was fun, a great experience, and most of all, something I will remember in my heart always

E : 

Searching through topics to write about for slice of life each week was a relatively easy task, but now that the last slice of life is upon us I found it extremely difficult to find a topic special enough to end on. Should I write about getting my braces on Thursday? No. Should I write about ending school? No. Then I got the perfect idea, I could write a slice of life about slices of life’s. I was all set and ready to write my slice of life about slices of life’s but before I could start to write it I had to take a trip down memory lane.
As I looked through my old slices of life’s, I discovered memories that seemed such a long time ago. I read my slices about my grandparent’s anniversary, a tree falling down, getting teeth pulled, and many more memories throughout my 6th grade year. I may not enjoyed writing slices of life’s sometimes but I’m grateful we have gotten the chance to do slices of life’s because we have been making one big scrapbook that holds all our memories of our 6th grade year so we never forget them.
Looking back at all my writing, I see how I’ve improved as a writer from my first slice to my last slice throughout the year. Slices of life have also let me express my feelings on certain topics and see how my fellow classmates thought of them.
As I started nearing this last paragraph in this last slice I could feel myself getting emotional. Slices of life’s have been our 6th grade staple in Mrs. Smith’s class that has followed us each week. After each of our individual exciting weeks we would all want to share our stories with each other, but with no more slice of life it’s like a huge chunk of our week is missing. After I wrote the last sentence of this slice, I pasted it one the website, pressed the “comment” button, and posted my last slice of life ever.

My kids will not slice next year, or the year after.  But they will write.  And they will have all their slices from their sixth grade year to read over (I make each of them a booklet of their slices) to dip into for ideas and memories.  They know now that writing is a habit one can grow to love – that is how they came to feel about slicing. And they know that  writing is also something that requires practice – just like soccer and lacrosse and dance.  The more they sliced, the better those bits of  writing became.  What seemed impossible at the beginning of the year, became a well loved habit.  I know that this is what they will take away from our year of slicing, this is why we do this every year in 202… in spite of all those doubts (teacher and student) when the year begins.  

…and here they are – our last slices, out in the hallway to be be enjoyed by one and all….


13 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesday: The "last slice of the school year"

  1. This is the best thing ever, Tara! Wonderful for your students, a habit they will not forget, and as your second slicer wrote, a pile of memories for their 6th grade year, a turning point really in their school life. I know that it takes such extra work for you, and then to create a book for each too-Wow! I am happy that you are winding down, hope the endings continue to be good! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Wait I want to be able to walk this hall and read every student's piece. All of this from "dubious" beginnings reminds me how important it is to just start out on a good path despite misgivings. I am celebrating with you and your students! Well done.

  3. Tara, your writing always just pulls me in. How I would have loved to be in your class! I remember writing in 7th grade (I must have completely blanked out 6th and 8th, unless we just didn't write!). It was SUCH a horrible experience for me, and I don't think I've completely recovered from it yet. I definitely want to follow your lead and do this next year with much more consistency. And what a wonderful idea to turn their writings into a book for them! You're amazing!

  4. I loved hearing the voices of your students and knowing exactly how much the SOLC meant to them this year. They have grown so much and have learned that writing is something they can do daily. Writing helps to process the things we experience in life. Thanks for sharing. And Happy Summer!

  5. Your heart must be ready to burst with joy and pride. What a journey for your kids! I was telling someone about how you do this and she was interested. I will be forwarding a link to your blog to her and hopefully fifth graders in California may be able to have this experience too. Love the voice of your kids today!

  6. I would love to sit in your classroom and learn! You must have a special gift that inspires students to write. I am sure that none of your students will ever forget their year in 202!

  7. Tara- what special gifts you are giving your students. Not only the gift of writing, but also the gifts of community and caring for each other. How blessed they are to have you for a teacher!

  8. I love, love, love that you are dubious and yet you jump in, leading those dubious students into a year of slicing! It is inspiring to read and, I have no doubt, even more inspiring to live through.

  9. Wow, Tara this is so fantastic! Can you imagine if we had had you for a teacher? What a way to write, to share, to create writers. Slicing is now in their lives forever!I bow to you at 4:47 AM 🙂

  10. I was thinking about ditching blogging next year, but now I'm seeing that I just need to tighten the focus of the work we do there. Thank you for this post! I'm thinking we'll be slicing our way through 5th grade next year!

  11. So happy that Stacey linked to your slice (and I finally have time to read slices from last week). This is amazing. I did have students blog last year–weekly during 4th quarter. And it was worthwhile. I usually gave them topics to write about, but I like the slice of life writing. I think the reflections from your students have convinced me to have students write slices next year. I like that they felt it was a record of their year!

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