I walked into Angela’s fifth-grade classroom this afternoon and discovered her 20+ students intensely typing on Chromebooks. Since Angela emailed me in advance of our lab site I knew what her students were doing: they were writing slice of life stories.
Angela and I chatted briefly while the kids finished up their slices. She invited me to talk with her students to tell them a little bit of the history of slicing. I asked her if it would be okay for them to share a little bit of their writing afterwards. Angela said “yes.”
Once the class finished writing, I walked over to the meeting area and chatted with the kids. I told them a bit about how the challenge began and asked them how long they’ve been slicing in their Chromebooks. The kids did some mental calculations and realized they’d been at it for 16 days! (They started in February since they’re doing the challenge on their Chromebooks rather than on blogs as part of the Classroom SOLSC.)
Next, I asked the kids to highlight their favorite sentence from the writing they did today. Once each student highlighted a line, s/he gave me a thumbs-up. Once everyone had their favorite line, I asked for ten volunteers. Hands shot up so I selected students and wrote their names on the board and one-by-one each of the students who volunteered shared their favorite sentence. At the end of the share — which took just a couple of minutes — I asked the kids what all of their pieces had in common. After they turned and talked, we came back together and I highlighted the ordinary nature of their slices. While one student had written about his birthday (today), the rest of the pieces were about visiting family members, bus rides, and interesting moments from the school day. I was proud of them — and of Angela — for staying true to the essence of the SOLSC by writing about things that were of current and personal importance to them.
With that, I handed the class back over to Angela who shifted gears and taught a minilesson on conclusions. I smiled as I returned to my seat since it was thrilling to witness kids engaged and excited about slicing in someone else’s classroom.