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Slice of Life Love

March 22, 2018

“Yes!” she shouts from across the room. “This is my 7th post!” Her curly hair cheers as she bounces in her seat in front of the laptop.
I check my clipboard. I didn’t want to force kids to participate in the slice of life challenge, but I didn’t want them to choose NOT to participate either, so I resorted to bribery. Seven posts in a row means a free night from homework.
Emily has four checks in a row… today will be five. If I look back further, there are three checks spread wide apart. Hmm. Do I change the rules? Give her an alternate prize? Will she maintain her enthusiasm if I tell her she’s not there yet?
I walk slowly over to her table, bend down to squat next to her.
“Em, you do have 7 posts. Nice work! I’ve really been enjoying your writing. You have been pushing yourself to use everything you know about great storytelling.” I stall. Here’s where I need to make my choice.
“Unfortunately, I have to tell you, that the deal is 7 posts in a row. You only have 4 posts in a row now, but after today and tomorrow, you just need to write one on Saturday and you’ll have seven. You’re so close!”
Angelina, sitting nearby, looks up from her laptop. “How many more do I have?” she asks.
I look down at the clipboard.  “Three more after today. You could have 7 in a row done on Sunday if you write over the weekend.”
“Yeah,” she smiles and shakes her head. “I always forget.”
“And, we still have another week!” I tell the girls. “You’ve got enough time left in March to finish these 7 days in a row, and get another 7 days in a row!”
Both girls look at me. Their brows are furrowed.
“Time left in March?” Angelina asks.
“What do you mean?” Emily asks.
“We’re just doing this for the month of March, remember?” I say back. I smile. It’s good they’re not counting down the days.
Their eyes become huge. They stare at me.
“We’re not doing this the rest of the year?” Emily asks.
“NOOOOOOOO!” Angelina cries.
“Can’t we do it the rest of the year?” Emily asks.
“Yeah. Can’t we?” Angelina echoes.
It’s my turn to stare. Are they serious?
I think of all the writing kids are doing, and of how it’s become routine for them to track down the laptop cart and log onto their blog right after unpacking their backpack.
I also think of all the morning math we’re not doing.
“Well….it’s just a month long challenge. Maybe we can think of another challenge to do next.” I finally respond.
We sit with that for a moment.
As I move away to check in with other students, Angelina offers a suggestion: “Maybe we could do a 100-book reading challenge!”



For those interested:  Here’s my favorite post by Emily:  and my favorite post by Angelina:


From → Uncategorized

  1. Score! Enjoy that moment while it lasts. My kids’ enthusiasm is fading. It’s a struggle right now!

    • I think it helps that I give them time in the morning to work on laptops in class. We don’t use laptops much the rest of the day (we share them with other classes), so it feels sort of novel probably. They also are really enjoying the comments, and I’ve been trying to highlight a couple of slices every few days, and talk about the craft moves the student is doing well. (and I’m also just lucky–it’s a good class)

  2. Elana Waugh permalink

    I have to totally agree with your student. It is day 22 and this has become habit. Doesn’t it take 21 days to create one. I am not sure I could keep this up for the remainder of the school year but kudos to your kids that want to!

  3. I love that they even thought about writing everyday for the rest of the year. What a great way to build a habit. Maybe set up a three times a week and then do math the other two. Do something to keep these writers going? 🙂

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