I teach writing to about 90 fifth graders in a small rural town in Michigan. For weeks I was trying to figure out how I was going to do the Slice of Life Challenge with all of them without driving myself crazy with the organization aspect of it. Last year, I had my first successful run with the challenge both personally and with my homeroom, and I knew I wanted to incorporate it again this year. So I opened it up to all fifth graders with an informational meeting on Wednesday during their lunch to learn more about it and to pick up a Slice of Life journal. I honestly didn't expect many. My Tuesday writing club has dwindled down to about eight kids, and I thought that was about as many as I would get.
Was I wrong.
Yesterday at 11:30 a few kids strolled in with their lunches and they didn't stop for the next six minutes. One after another they entered the room, signed in, grabbed a journal and ate. I talked about the challenge, what it would look like at fifth grade, and showed them some of my slices from last year. Then the questions came and before you knew it, it was time for our afternoon schedule.
Fast forward to this morning. One girl came into my room and said, "Mrs. Waugh. I just wanted to double check that it was okay that I wrote my slice before school. I had this crazy dream last night and I woke up and just couldn't stop thinking about it."
Now move on to recess. "Mrs. Waugh, I've been trying to notice things like you do before you get an idea to write. I have too many ideas from today and it is not even over yet. I am not sure what I am going to choose."
And near the end of the day. "Whatever has been bothering you during our entire reading block, go home and write about it for your slice today. I can tell you need to get your thoughts out by the expression on your face. It hasn't changed in the last 45 minutes."
In all, I have 28 students up for the challenge. And I think all 28 will follow through. The thing I am looking forward to the most is hearing their stories when they check in with me each morning.
And maybe, one of them will give me a really good one to write about.