Have you ever visited this Two Writing Teachers?
If you haven’t checked it out, you should! With everything from craft through Writing Workshop Transitions, teaching the youngest writers through adolescents, there’s something to be gleaned for teachers of all levels. Another cool thing about this blog is that every Tuesday is Slice of Life Tuesday.
Just What is Slice of Life?
Stacey Shubitz (co-founder of the award winning blog Two Writing Teachers) originally created Slice of Life as a way to inspire her fourth graders to notice – and write about- the everyday moments in their lives.
My Slice today is based on a writing workshop for teachers that I attended last spring. I participated in an activity called Outdoor Sketching, where we drew pictures of something in nature and then wrote about what we saw. It was raining that May day – one of those cold, spring rains that makes you wonder if warm weather will ever come.
Instead of writing outdoors, as the activity was intended, we improvised. So I sketched a picture of a tree that I glimpsed through the floor to ceiling windows on the second floor of Penn Wynne Elementary School. I couldn’t see the whole tree, just a clump of branches jutting up to the dreary sky. Here is my sketch: (please don’t judge my artistic qualities – or lack thereof)
Then we wrote about what we saw:
Top of a Tree
How does the tree feel being out there in the cold,
with rain falling on its leaves and branches?
Does the bitter air make it
long for the warmth of the summer
sun, or the fresh breeze on a spring day?
Does it shiver like we do,
even though it cannot reach for a new
hat, coat or scarf?
Does it mind staying in one place all the time,
like a stationary statue?
Only able to move if the winds push its branches,
this way and that,
to and fro.
Mother Nature’s marionette.
Here’s my challenge to you…write your own Slice of Life Stories with your students on Tuesdays. If you have a blog, post some on there. If not, please share a story or two with me, either via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or in the comments section of this post. I would love to read them!
You might also consider taking your students outdoors for Observational Sketching, while the weather is still warm. This is a great way to spark interest in writing during the beginning of the year. It also provides excellent practice with descriptive writing, including details, verbs, personification and specific word choice. Let me know if you try it out and how it goes!
Happy writing (and sketching),