Mor was kind enough to invite me to join this wonderful community of teachers.
I am so looking forward to learning and sharing in Common Core Classrooms! My first post is one I shared on my blog just a few weeks ago.
Launching the Slice of Life Project in our classroomLast year, I launched our Slice of Life project early in the school year, and both my morning and afternoon classes sliced away all the way from September to June. Just as I look forward to Stacey and Ruth's Tuesday morning slicing at Two Writing Teachers, my kids looked forward to posting their slices by Friday and adding comments by Sunday. On Monday morning, we'd vote for two winners (one from the a.m. class and one from the p.m. class) who'd be awarded small bags of jellybeans as a prize. This, too, became a class tradition that everyone looked forward to (nothing motivates sixth graders quite like candy!).
Our school website uses School Fusion as a platform, and discussion blogs are a part of what is offered as a tool. I set up each discussion on Sunday, numbering each and reminding my kids that their slice is due by Friday. This is what that looks like (I borrowed that graphic from Stacey from years past - thank you Stacey!):
Here we go...our Slice of Life Project! Your post is due by Friday, and your comments are due by Sunday.
FYI: The blog is set up so that I must approve every comment and post. So, it may not show up immediately but not to worry. I check in frequently, so your post will be visible soon.
I usually start the discussion by posting a slice of my own, and I try to vary the way I write to model strategies we've been discussing in reading and writing workshop. Then it's up to my kids. Because the discussion board is set up for me to approve of every post, I need to check in frequently - but that also allows me to leave comments (I'm modeling, essentially).
Of course, we had a mini lesson to discuss what a slice of life is all about:
I use the projector to display our discussion board from time to time - just so that they get a feel for all the writing they're doing (we had 205 posts and comments for the first round. Everyone was really enthused!).
I have a rubric for each student - 50 points for the quality of the slice/50 for the quality of the comments - so that this project becomes part of their Writing Workshop grade on a weekly basis. This has become a cornerstone of my Writing Workshop - a way for my kids to practice strategies and learn how to become better writers from each other in a supportive way. Here, for example, are some comments they left this week:
I love how you said "tomato red" it was a really good detail, the beginning was great, I liked how you started it with question.
Wow, you described the scene very well. I like how you slowed down the moment with all that detail.
I really like how you had a reflective ending and how you painted a picture of your surroundings.
Mrs. Smith: You did a really nice job sharing exactly how you felt as your happy day took a turn for something else!
Please let me know how it goes!