Yesterday I committed to writing every day for the rest of March alongside my third graders so that they could participate in the classroom slice of life challenge. If you are a longtime reader, you might remember that I did the adult Slice of Life Challenge a couple of years ago. The adult SOLC is a challenge for me because I normally only post once or twice a week and I try to keep my topics related to either travel or international teaching. However, this time around I’m doing it to help my third graders blog every day AND I’m blogging myself, and this is certainly living up to the word “challenge”!
I don’t know how other classrooms with younger students organize for this challenge, but I decided to make our writing center dedicated to this challenge for this month. Normally we have a 20-30 minute period for each group of students to write (with four groups visiting the center each day). I originally planned on having them write opinion pieces this month so the SOLSC isn’t too far off topic, but my main goal for the month is to get them excited about writing.
So far, I’ve only had my students work on the challenge for two days, and both days we were working as a whole class. This has been a little chaotic since they have only occasionally worked to post anything to our blog and were basically starting at zero. I’m hoping that 20-30 minutes working in small groups with me will be enough time for them to work on and upload their slices!
One issue I’ve had already is that I have some students that are extremely slow writers. So if I ask them to do any kind of pre-writing, rough draft, or editing they don’t have time to type up their slices. I’m wondering if I should just try skipping the rough draft and immediately give them their iPad to begin typing with.
Another issue is that we have to share one classroom set of iPad with the other third-grade class so I should really only have the iPad three mornings a week during our literacy block. I have to see if the other teacher can share five iPads with our class… and then try to avoid getting caught by our admin because they don’t want us sharing iPads in case one gets lost. Sigh.
A final difficulty that I’m having is how much time it takes to moderate all of the posts. My students don’t have emails or their own blogs so I’ve been having them post their slices as a comment on one single post on our classroom blog. Then I have to read through all of them to make sure that they are school appropriate and to check that they make some kind of sense! My students are all native Spanish speakers and they are still in third grade so there is usually a lot of editing that needs to happen!
I would love to hear tips about how to make the classroom SOLSC run a little smoother.