Relationships are super important to me in the classroom- I think we all need to feel part of a community to risk. Over the last few weeks, I have observed some relationships growing because of the Classroom Slice of Life Challenge. Last year was my first doing the challenge on my own and I invited my students to join me. This year I was slicing all along and mentioned the challenge throughout the year. It is optional in my class and we do not slice at school. These kids have very busy lives, so slicing is a real challenge. The number of students slicing each day fluctuates, but I notice a stronger sense of community amongst those that are slicing. They are looking at each other with new eyes.
We sometimes hear in Morning Meeting, “That would be a great slice!” Students are commenting on each others’ posts with a fervor- really trying to make quality comments. Students are trying out new forms in their writing and are getting creative. I notice that ideas are spreading as they read each other’s posts. A former student is commenting almost daily on all of the slices and the students are benefitting from her feedback. Of course, the students are thrilled to get comments from near and far. I hear students talking about ideas for writing and goals they are setting. There are already a few students saying that they are going to continue after March ends. All of this is pretty special for an optional challenge. New friendships are being developed after reading posts from each other- they are finding things to admire. Although we felt we knew each other pretty well before we are learning so much more through our blogs. There are also a few kind parents taking on the role of commenter. One mom came to me today so impressed with what this challenge has done. She mentioned that she would love to be involved herself and I showed her the adult version. Although she says she is not ready to join now (she is needlessly concerned about her English level) she is interested. I love that our classroom community is expanded due to great opportunities such as this.