Lead By Example

When I started doing the Slice of Life Challenge, never in a million years did I think I would share what I am writing with the students at my school. But yesterday, I did it.

Our school’s amazing Literacy Coach was working with one of our third grade classes earlier this week on slicing. I walked by the classroom and the kids seemed so focused on her. Yesterday, as the students began listing many of the emotions that they could write about, there were quite a few that I could see were unsure. When the teacher finished writing the emotions on the board, I listened as the students moaned, groaned and complained (about a number of things). The biggest complaint was, “What should I write about?” even though they had a notebook with about 30 different things they could try. This was one of those teachable moments. I decided, What the hell. Let’s give this a try.

“Room 12, I heard you were beginning to slice and I was wondering if I could share a little something of mine with you?”

“Yes!” “Sure!” “What’s it about?”

The room got quiet – you could actually hear a pin drop. And for that classroom it was a miracle. I read Oh, Mr. Sun. They listened intently the entire time and never interrupted. They were the perfect audience.

When I was done there was silence. Then someone asked, “You wrote a letter to the Sun? That’s it! That’s all we have to do.” “Can you come back and share again? Can we share with you?”

I walked out of that room to the sound of students thinking, imagining, and writing their Slice of Life that I cannot wait to experience with them!

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13 thoughts on “Lead By Example

  1. Aside from impromptu examples mid lesson, or immediately prior to, I had never shared complete pieces with my students either- Until last year- when I started this challenge. Now I do frequently and I am convinced it is the VERY BEST way to cultivate a genuine writing community. Taking risks and leading by example. Kudos to you! I am certain your students are inspired and can’t wait to hear more- and write more. 🙂

  2. bbutler627 says:

    The kids love hearing our pieces! I’m so glad you did that – that was a good one too. I haven’t commented yet on it but I did read it!!!

  3. Buckeyegrl says:

    Good for you! I haven’t shared with my students in my classroom, but when I met this week with the ESL adult I tutor, I shared my blog with her. She was trying to force herself to write an essay, so we talked about writing just to write, and that the important thing was just to get words on the page without being “right.” I hope it made a difference.

  4. Just Friday one of my students said she was having trouble thinking of new things to write about. We commiserated a bit, and I told her both what I had been doing as well as some of her classmates and that was reading other people’s posts for inspiration.

    Nothing gives you more authenticity than doing what you’re asking them to do.

  5. I think that the first time we work up the nerve to share our own writing with students is a really powerful moment and a turning point, for us and them. Good for you for doing it. And I’m so glad tht you wrote about that moment.

  6. This is so great! I love that you are slicing and better yet, sharing it with a community of writers (us and those lucky duck students in that room!).

  7. This is 100% perfectly exactly why I am 100% convinced that teachers need to participate in this challenge. It’s why I never stop talking about it and why I believe in it with my whole heart. THIS is why. 🙂

  8. Wow…definitely share that writing with the students. I have had the awesome joy of one of my colleagues wanting to share one of my pieces. I was so honored. For you to have shared and inspired them, you should be proud!! Awesome Job!!

  9. Well, well, well let’s hear it for the “math person!!!” I am so proud of you! These are the days that will make your job fulfilling. These students are so very lucky to have a Dean who understands what they really need and it’s not always going to be discipline! Yay for you!!!!!

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