Posted in Literacy, Reflection, Slice of Life

#SOL17 Day 2: One Slice at a Time

Yesterday I took a bit of a risk. I was teaching an after school PD book study on Serravallo’s new Writing Strategies Book and decided to introduce a room full of K-4 teachers to the Slice of Life writing challenge. As I stood in front of the group explaining, I could tell reactions were a bit mixed. Some people listened politely. Some people pretended to pay attention while they discretely checked their email or phone. A few had a spark of intrigue in their eyes when I finished. By the end, I left feeling a bit like I’d just told a group of children to eat broccoli–even though everyone in the room probably knows it’s good for them, for some of us just the thought of taking a bite makes us turn away.

Yet I didn’t let myself walk away feeling discouraged. After all, it was last minute. Many of the teachers work with primary students. Writing isn’t easy. Time is short. The reasons for not participating go on and on. I felt good for sharing the challenge, something that means a lot to me, knowing I had at least opened up the opportunity to others–even if none of them decided to take it. It was one of those things I decided to push out of my mind as the class ended, tucking the idea away in the “keep trying next year” file.

But then this morning, in the middle of giving a building tour to a team from another school, my phone buzzed with a text message from one of our third grade teachers: Hi. This is a lot to ask… BUT do you have a few moments today to come in and explain slice of life to my class? Before I could respond, another message followed: Just to get them excited for it…

Today was insanely busy. A morning of tours followed by an afternoon of observing a student teacher and completing the required paperwork. Probably no time for lunch. But I didn’t hesitate with my reply: Yes.

As I sat down with my friend and her third graders this afternoon, we talked about writing together. Similar to the teachers from yesterday, some looked hesitant, a few looked bored, and a few couldn’t wait to begin. We looked at writing from a group of third graders in Malaysia. I showed them my blog and the comments I received today. I shared my experiences the past two years and my insecurities–and how I overcame them. We discussed commenting politely, the logistics of posting, and why we might want to participate in a challenge like this.

Most importantly, we built a community. We identified ourselves as writers. We thought about writing for an audience and about giving other people respectful feedback. We thought about the world as a place where we share our experiences and our ideas.

And isn’t that the true purpose of this month? It’s not about the labor that goes into writing each post for 31 consecutive days. It’s not about the time or the energy this endeavor requires or even about refining our craft. It’s about connecting with others. It’s about sharing our ideas and our stories. It’s about shifting the way we look at the world. It’s about giving and connecting. It’s about what it really means to write–one post, one writer, one teacher or classroom at a time.



I’m excited to join other writers every Tuesday and daily during the month of March in 2017 to participate in the Slice of Life writing challenge through Two Writing Teachers. Read all about how you can Write. Share. Give. on their website here.

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Author:

Teacher, mentor, reader, writer, mother, wife Lover of good books, chocolate chip cookies, and sunny days

9 thoughts on “#SOL17 Day 2: One Slice at a Time

  1. It’s hard to imagine how difficult it must be to try to teach writing without actually being a writer. Your post speaks to me about the courage required to help spread the message and inspire others to risk as well,

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  2. Bravo to you for taking a leap of faith and sharing your passion…which will not be shared by everyone, obviously! But now that you’ve unveiled yourself as a teacher who writes and wants to help others do the same, I’m sure you motivated some and made others very jealous of your commitment and passion for doing this. Good luck to you; you deserve it!

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  3. Wahoo! What a great decision to just jump in and tell people about it and look at the results. My class and I (3rd graders in Malaysia) are slicing and this year a few of my colleagues have jumped in too and it is AWESOME to have a community of writers!

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  4. Sarah – You had me at “Jen Serravallo” 🙂 Jen works in our district – her latest book is amazing. Now onto your post… Your passion for writing is obvious and needed. How rewarding to have reached so many teachers and students. Thanks for your reminder on purpose – to connect with others.

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  5. Your post is so amazingly right on the mark. Important goals are often missed because less important goals seem to pervade people’s perceptions. I agree, this challenge is very much about building community through writing, although it presents many seemingly overwhelming obstacles. Your writing hits such an important point. Kudos to you for taking the risk to enroll your colleagues (and their students) in the possibility of living like a writer!

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  6. I love this, Sarah!! Amanda’s trying it out, too, so you got through don’t worry! I think it can sometimes be so hard to get someone on board with your idea (no matter how amazing it is). That’s how I feel about Genius Hour sometimes. I think all we can do is put it out there and whoever wants to jump in can! Thanks for sharing this idea with me two years ago 🙂

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  7. Kudos to you for introducing SOL to the teachers! I love the description of the teachers reactions. This is so much better than broccoli. Keep trying, some will come around.

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  8. There is so much in this post that I want to comment on! First kudos to you for introducing slice of life to teachers. I wish they could see the end before saying no. If they only knew how much they would change as writing teachers, that broccoli would be more like chocolate! Hooray for teachers who are willing to try it in their classrooms! Building community and making connections is what it is all about!

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