Slice of Life
Welcome to the SLICE OF LIFE Information Page.
If I dismiss the ordinary — waiting for the special, the extreme, the extraordinary to happen — I may just miss my life.
–Dani Shapiro in Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life (2013, 123)
In February 2008, Stacey was reading one of her student’s writer’s notebooks and came across a piece of writing about his sister’s lost necklace. Christian wrote an entire entry about the outrage he felt when his mother made the family drop everything to search for his sister’s lost necklace in their apartment. Thirty minutes after they lifted up couch cushions and checked under all of the beds, her necklace turned up on her neck! There was something about his entry, this little snippet of Christian’s life. It seemed like a slice of life story. Stacey googled “slice of life” and found that it’s a term frequently used in literature and entertainment. It essentially means to describe everyday experiences with as much realism as possible. Stacey realized that was exactly the kind of entry Christian had written.
That experience gave Stacey an idea: she could use “slice of life” stories to inspire her fourth graders who weren’t writing in their writer’s notebooks with the same gusto as Christian. After using Christian’s piece as a mentor text she challenged her fourth graders to write one slice of life story in their writer’s notebook daily for the entire month of March. She would keep track of what each student wrote, and at the end of the month she would award those who wrote 25 or more daily entries a writing-related prize. It worked! Thus, the Slice of Life Story Challenge was born.
The individual challenge began on Two Writing Teachers in 2008 and has grown each year. Adults, classroom teachers and their students across six continents participate in this weekly challenge as well as in the month-long challenge in March. The month-long Classroom Challenge was launched in 2013 as a response to requests from teachers who wanted to fuel their students’ writing with a Slice of Life Story Challenge experience.
Every Tuesday there will be a post on the Two Writing Teachers main page where you can link your Slice of Life story post and read other people’s Slice of Life stories. All you have to do is leave the link to your SOL story blog post as a comment inside of that Tuesday’s post. If your posts automatically go to your Twitter feed, you can use the hashtag #sol14.
FAQ’S for the Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge
How do I start?
Take it step-by-step:
Start a blog. Blogger and WordPress are easy to navigate and have great step-by-step directions when getting started.
Write and post a Slice on your blog. A Slice is a little segment of your day.
Copy the unique URL (this is the link that goes directly to your blog post, not just a link to your blog).
Visit the Two Writing Teachers “Call for Slices” post on Tuesday.
Paste the unique URL in a comment with a short snippet about your Slice. Here is an example:
My Slice: What the extra hour of Fall Back is really for: http://tmsteach.blogspot.com/2013/11/slice-of-life-tuesday-how-i-wasted-hour.html
Read and comment on at least three other Slicers’ posts.
In March 2014, Two Writing Teachers will host a month-long writing challenge for both individuals and classrooms. Scroll down for information on both challenges.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” –Maya Angelou
Have you been thinking about joining the Slice of Life Story Challenge community but don’t feel you have anything to contribute? Well, you are mistaken. Our daily lives are filled with so many worthy moments just waiting to be written about and shared. Take a moment to scroll through past SOLSC Tuesdays to check out the infinite variety of topics our writing community has shared.
Your next step is to start a blog. We know, you probably think you can’t do it or you may not think you can keep up. Well, writers take it one day at a time. Give yourself the time and opportunity to see your potential and put yourself in the shoes of your students for 31 days. This is a challenge for a reason. Yes it can be hard, but the biggest payoff often comes from that which is most difficult. Give your readers an opportunity to hear your voice, because yes, you will have readers. Having a welcoming audience giving you insightful, positive feedback is one of the best parts of the SOLSC. The community will provide you with the support you need to continue the challenge and will be cheering you on as you celebrate your accomplishment at the end of the month.
You will have the opportunity to:
discover new topics.
experiment with new writing techniques.
encourage other writers with your supportive comments and compliments.
learn how to bring SOLSC into your classroom in March.
FAQ’S for the Month-Long Slice of Life Story Challenge
1. What if I get overwhelmed?
If this is your first experience blogging or if you’ve never linked a post, then the TWT co-authors and other seasoned Slicers will help you get started and guide you through the journey. Everyone has had basic questions when starting a blog, and we know just the people who can step in and answer them!
2. How can it help students?
Imagine developing a routine where students write a short snippet of their life each day. That is a Slice of Life story. Once students are familiar with its format, they will never be without a topic again. Building in this daily writing will require your students to think about and notice stories throughout their day. They will be writing even when they aren’t writing. Students will also learn what it means to be a member of a writing community. They will learn how to give and receive feedback within a community of writers.
3. Do you have a record-keeping form I can use to track my students’ Slice of Life stories completed at school?
Yes, click here!
4. Is there a logo I can use on my blog?
Yes. Please use the appropriate logo for classroom or individual Slice of Life stories. (New logos for the March 2014 SOLSC will be released in mid-February.)
5. Are there prizes?
Prizes! Yes, there are prizes. Not everyone is guaranteed a prize in March, but if you write and link for 31 days you will be entered to receive a prize. Some prizes include professional and children’s books, journals, artwork, etc. There are occasionally prizes offered during the March challenge for reaching certain goals.
“[Writing] is like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.” –Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (1995)
What an exciting time in your classroom! You are taking on the Slice of Life Story Challenge and your students get to sit beside you writer to writer. The Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge (a.k.a. Classroom SOLSC), only happens in March. Here are some things to keep in mind as you take them on this journey:
If your students are slicing from their personal blogs, please have them link to your blog and then you can share the unique URL with the community on the “Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge” page at Two Writing Teachers.
Encourage your students to leave comments for other classes who are slicing. They can follow a few other classroom Slicers’ blogs from other schools throughout the challenge and make a virtual connection with another young writer.
We do not offer prizes for the Classroom SOLSC. It is up to you to provide prizes should you choose to do so. For more thoughts on this topic, click here.
There are several resources for Classroom SOLSC, which include parent letters and a tracking spreadsheet for students daily writing. Click here to download those resources.
Remember to keep it safe for your students. This community is made up of good people, however it is in a public domain. Always have students use a pseudonym and be sure they are not disclosing any personal information.
- Jee Young
- Jen B.
- Jen M.
- Mary Helen
- Mrs. V.
- Wake Up and Write