For the past 3 years, during the month of March I participated in the Slice of Life Challenge hosted by the Two Writing Teachers blog. Every day I write and post to my LitCoachLady page a ‘slice’ of my life…a poem, a memory, a small moment. It’s not always easy, but it is always rewarding. Having some experience with it for a few years now has helped me realize that preparing some things ahead of time can make the challenge less challenging. I noticed yesterday my friend and fellow slicer, Leigh Anne Eck, was also preparing ahead of time. This early prep can give you a structure to build on each day, some ideas in the can for those hectic days, and as a way to commit (and avoid writer’s block).
This year I’ve decided I will be writing each day to a spark from my new book Spark! Quick Writes to Kindle Hearts and Minds in Elementary Classrooms. I’m going to walk the talk of a writing teacher, “Do as I do, not as I say.” I’ve bookmarked 30 sparks, but I’m giving myself the option of choosing others, or to respond authentically to events that pop up in my life that inspire me to write. This always helps me to walk through my day more present-knowing anything and everything has importance enough to write about.
So how can YOU prepare for the SLICE OF LIFE CHALLENGE and make the month of March a little less challenging? Here are some tips, I’d love to hear any others.
Preparing for the SLICE OF LIFE CHALLENGE
- Visit the Slice of Life Challenge overview page and the participant information form.
- Create a blog page if you don’t already have one. I use WordPress (you can get started HERE) but there are others Wix, Weebly,etc. This is a good resource on HOW TO START A BLOG.
- Read slices from other slicers (think ‘mentor texts’). You can see some of mine HERE.
- Try writing a few slices between now and March 1st. Save these as drafts on your blog site. Use these on those hectic days that will inevitably challenge you.
- Don’t worry about being lengthy and lush…remember other slicers are trying to read at least 3 posts each day and we often appreciate brevity!
- I’m not great at self promotion, but I’m proud of the quick write ideas I’ve put together in my new book and these might provide some SPARKS for you as well!
- Go to Twitter and search #SOL19. There you’ll find other slicers you can follow and get support from. It’s truly a community event, so welcome to the community!
Shared Spark! This week I’ll share a few teacher quick write SPARKS to perhaps get you started on some slices. Just write for 5-10 minutes on whatever comes to mind. Try not to filter your thoughts or overthink it. Just let your ideas flow onto the paper without judgment. It can be fun to see what emerges!
- When I look into the faces of my students…
- The thing that surprised me most about teaching is…
- Reframe a situation in your day or week that revises the narrative more positively, yet honestly.
- What do you think school looks like through the eyes of one of your students?
Whatever approach you take, I just hope you take the Challenge! It will change your perception of writing profoundly and permanently…I guarantee it!
One More Off My TBR Stack!
The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman
I was totally spellbound by this compassionate and poignant novel. Living in poverty in India is hard, but imagine being Viji whose father abuses her mother and whose older sister Rukku has developmental disabilities. After her father turns his abuse to the girls, Viji knows she must flee to the city to find a better life for herself and Rukku. With almost no money and no plan, they encounter danger and hardship until they find shelter under an abandoned bridge. There they meet Muthi and Arul, two boys with equally tragic histories. Together they create their own family who work together to survive-pooling their meager resources and scavenging in trash heaps while Rukku makes bead necklaces to sell. When their safe haven is raided, they take shelter in a graveyard where they might be left alone. But with little shelter during the rainy season, Rukku and Muthu contract dengue fever from the mosquitoes. Viji and Arul need to find help, but they haven’t found many people they can trust or who would care about two of millions of homeless children. Padma Venkatraman beautifully shares the harsh reality and the courageous hopes of real homeless children in this fictional story. Open this book, it will open your eyes and your hearts