Slice of Life Tuesday: Why slice? Here’s why…

Slice of Life Tuesday is hosted by Two Writing Teachers

My weekend plans were gathered and focused in one place, the only spot with the room for it all, my dining room table:

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Here were poetry notebooks, reading journals, charts to copy from the in-the-moment mess of student sharing to something useful we could all refer to, lesson plan book, lesson hand books, movies to screen for Social Studies, and books to read for the Cybils Awards (I’m a second round judge for middle grade fiction 🙂 ).  But, the task I was itching to get to was still buried in my laptop: my students’ slice of life writing.

Of all the “stuff” that anchors our year of learning, it’s this weekly posting that brings us together and knits it into what we will will always be, even after the school year is over: a community.  When I first present our Slice of Life writing project to my sixth graders, they are less than enthusiastic.  “We have to do this every week?” they ask,  “Why???”, they wonder.  So, I show them the community of teachers who assemble every Tuesday here at TWT, I tell them about what it feels like to write for this community, and how doing so makes me a better writer.  I tell them that hearing stories from all over the world expands my view about writing, yes, but also life and the way human beings can bring grace and pleasure and comfort into each other’s lives through sharing their writing.  They look at me, that first day, utterly unconvinced. “Right…” they say, “Uh..huh.”

And then we begin, and so too does the magic.  This was some of the magic I entered when I began reading what my kids had to say:

From Naomi, something important she felt we ought to know:

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From Ethan, a nerve wracking chess match:

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From Lisa, the only bit she wished to share about her recent surgery:

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From Miriam, a slice of middle school life:

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And, from Romy, who has been sad of late, the reason why:

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By the time I’d read fifty slices of life and the thoughtful comments my kids had left for each other, I knew that my kids had already come to change their minds about this writing project.  For, when we share a slice of our lives we do so much more than just practice writing…we become part of something much, more more: a community.

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12 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesday: Why slice? Here’s why…

  1. Wow! These samples are powerful. You are opening up your students to share a part of themselves, to trust their own voices, and to grow as human beings. Wow!

  2. This is such a lovely post, Tara. I’ve been trying to get folks at my school to understand how important it is for students to have a voice, to feel as though they are heard. Your students show how a class community works when students hear and respond to one another.

  3. I love your line about the magic just beginning. I also love these samples that you included. I would like to use them next Tuesday with my students as mentor texts. We just started slice of life today and I have a very interested group of writers .

  4. This part is what I miss, Tara, forming that group we won’t forget, that we value for “us”. You’ve convinced them and now they will take themselves on a ride to be so excited about. The samples are wonderful. I can see why you want to read them first!

  5. It is all about community. One that laughs with us and cries with us. One that comforts us and encourages us. One that supports us. How lucky your students are that they have formed this community.

  6. I think it is your passion and strong belief in the value of slice of life that inspires your young writers the most. I agree with you that slice of life is so much more than practicing writing.

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