|Stop by Two Writing Teachers for|
details on the Slice of Life Story Challenge.
One hundred years of educational research has proven one thing: kids are different. Richard Allington said that during a keynote with Stephen Krashen at either IRA or NCTE one year. Students' reactions and comments to the Slice of Life challenge remind me of its truth. Here are a few voices from Monday's check-in:
"Mrs. Spillane, I think you've put us on to an addiction," A. grinned as she started to log in to the computer before the bell rang for class.
"I hate it--it feels like an assignment, so I go and write whatever really quick. I don't even care. I don't even want to go and read other peoples," J. claimed in our circle.
R. quickly replied with, "J. hates everything. Don't you?"
J.C. added, "It's an assignment, sort of, but not really. It's fun and more like you write what you want and then comment--once you really start, you'll see."
What is the difference between an assignment and something you do for fun? How can teachers create experiences for students that are more like play than work? How do you evaluate students' performances when it comes time to do so? What about the grade?
I want to count what matters. For this project, what matters is writing (trying to write via a blog), publishing, sharing and commenting. I want to count students' attempts to do what matters in our writing community, but I do not want that counting to become punitive (a sort of punishment). I don't want the result of counting or grading students' work to be compliance.
I want them to fall in love with writing in community. I want students to feel compelled to slice and compelled to comment on each others' slices. Some are. Some are not. Kids are different after all.