Saturday, March 27, 2021

Slice of Life 2021- 27 of 31: Yesterday, I missed those kids.

  It's March! That means that I am participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge. I am happy to co-host this event with the team at Two Writing Teachers. Everyone is welcome!

Yesterday, I streamed into a fourth-grade classroom to teach a lesson about the importance of free-writing. I had it set up in a way I was pretty sure would work: a slide presentation with a clear teaching point and learning target, a set up prompts to push thinking, a list of what makes good free-writing, and a video of me doing some free-writing that I could voice-over, showing the students in semi-real time how I used the prompts, asked questions and answered them, crossed off and kept going, tried to say things in different ways... I had such great visions for this lesson. 

Yesterday, at the designated time, the teacher and I logged in, and I delivered my lesson. If someone was watching and evaluating, I probably would have gotten high marks, both for demonstrating the structure of a minilesson and coaching a teacher. 

But it still felt so off. 

Free-writing, in my mind, is pen to paper, and not fingers on keyboards.

Yesterday, I wanted to see what students were writing in real time, over their shoulder-- and I couldn't. I wanted to touch students, lean in, connect, and relate-- and I couldn't. I wanted to see their faces as they discovered a new idea, hear their reactions when they realized writing could lead them somewhere they weren't planning-- and I couldn't. 

Mostly, I've dealt with this whole distance-learning thing. I've related to kids through screens, figured out systems and structures to manage access and independence, discovered ways to bring laughter and meaning into on-line interactions. And it's not the same. 

Yesterday, I missed those kids. 

Happy Slicing,


  1. Yeah, some days it hits harder:( I have been such a terrible teacher of writing online- just not the way I want to teach it...

  2. So much feels off in our teaching this year and I couldn't agree more that getting those kids all back will be a wonderful feeling.

  3. This Slice is just a lovely example of Slicing, and strong, strong writing. It's so clear in structure: This is what happened. I felt this way. And yet: my realization. I loved it, and feel you, and understand completely. Pen to paper and tangible writing is incomparable to the rest.

  4. Ugh I totally get this! I'm teaching 3 sections of writing to 3rd grade remote and it's so difficult. I want them to be putting pen to paper but posting pics just doesn't work right. Google docs on classroom has worked to the best it can for 3rd graders.