I started slicing with my students because I loved my own experience so much. The comments keep you going, but it is the opportunity for a time for writing that I wanted to share with my kids. We were so task-oriented in my classes at the time; we needed some release and especially some time for stories that isn’t usually offered to 8th graders. So, we wrote admist the question that incredulously accepted that yes, they could write about anything that they wanted as long as they did it with purpose and specific details.
Two things came of this experience. One. I began to extend opportunities for my kids to connect online. Two. I smiled each time I read the writing.
Connecting online. Students have 1 slice per week, due on Fridays to our shared Google Drive folder. Everyone in the class has access to each slice. Then students have until Wednesday of the next week to comment. Anyone without any comments puts their name on a board on Tuesday and we pick those up. I have guided students into appropriate responses such as I like your topic because and noticing how the structure helps the theme. My responses always compliment a line or word or topic and then give the student a next writing step, so that their writing can grow usually with a “so what.” This has allowed students to form writing partnerships and given them a broader audience for their work.
I also started a blog base for some kids who wanted to slice each day this month, but it’s too private to share. But, I’ve seen steps that I need to take to get my kids blogging and connecting all year next year.
Smiles. I absolutely love reading the slices because the kids are right there in their writing. I love one of my girls who wrote a poem about making cookies in Foods class. I love one of my boys who wrote about the fear of presenting in science. I love that they tell stories that I previously only heard from the teacher’s perspective. I love that they take chances and create variety. I love that for a short time I don’t have to concentrate on informative essays. I love that there is a community of writing in my classroom that isn’t about what we should write, but what we want to write.
So, slicing with my students will continue and be a welcome release from the drudgery of daily curriculum in this second semester. We will work out the kinks (they can “steal” shared folders in Drive, keeping up with logging entries, and other technical problems, comments overall). We will write better consistently (each piece should have a “so what”). We will be a community of slicing writers that will only grow with our experiences.