Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Slice of Life 2018- 27 of 31

For the month of March, I am participating in the Eleventh Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge. That means that I am writing every day for the month of March in the good company of the Two Writing Teachers community. 

For almost a year, I have run a student writing group on the last Monday of the month. We met at the library tonight, and split into our pre-assigned groups. Because everyone had went their writing in ahead of time and read each other's work before coming to the meeting, we had an extra ten to fifteen minutes before we were scheduled to end. These students are writers, through and through, so I do things with them I would not ordinarily do in classroom. 

One of the girls had started a new story. Her group agreed that the premise of the story is strong, and when she shared to outline of chapters she's already created (she's a sixth grader, and she has an outline of chapters--mic drop, there), we all agreed that the story needs to be written. 

The feedback she received was about holding off on some of the information in the opening scene. What is that the reader has to know right away, and what can we wait to find out? 

"How about if we all write a beginning for her?" one student asked. 

We asked A. how she felt about that, and she was all for it. We'd done this once before for another group member, and everyone loved hearing what the others created. 

Maybe someday I'll write a book about this group and what they accomplish as writers. Tonight, their beginnings blew me away. If you're ever stuck with how to begin a story, tell a group of young writers what the reader needs to know in the beginning of the story, and then stand back. 

Happy Slicing,


  1. Melanie, I have been exploring the concept of 'intradependence' the past few years-a model that encourages working beside one another in our classrooms as mentors and resources to lift the independent learning goals of all. Your slice is a perfect example of what I'd love to see happening more. Kudos to you and your young writers!

  2. I love that you do this! How lucky are they to have you? Thank you!

  3. You’re giving me great ideas for my 18-19 Writer’s Club! I hadn’t thought of having my writers send in their writing ahead of time. And for this year, I bet my writers would have fun drafting different beginnings for their collaborative novel. Thank you for the great ideas.

  4. Love this idea - and that Paula has a name for it. Calkins does this a lot - she calls it writing in the air or flash drafting (often with a partner). What a great idea to host this type of group without the teacher role! Something to think about in my future.

  5. mmm... I love that they offered to all write a beginning. How powerful!