|This post is part of the Slice of Life March Challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers.|
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"Our group has published our Scientific Research Paper. May we please blog?"
"There are still six minutes until recess - can I write?"
"Mrs. Lonheim, may I have five more minutes for commenting - PLEASE?!"
These are all actual quotes from my students in the past two weeks. While I pride myself with ensuring that no student leaves my room without the love of reading, I haven't been as successful with igniting the flame for writing. I am absolutely sure, now, that this is a direct correlation to 'voice and choice'. I give nearly complete freedom in choosing reading material. Writing, well, let's say we do our assigned units well. Within those units students get choice, but let's be honest - it is not complete choice and often the framework they have to work within is not that appealing. It seems that no matter how I massage the assignments, students still seem to be writing for a grade - not for the love of writing.
"Time to sign out, put your device away, and line up." That's the line I use to interrupt the silence in my room. The final punctuation on the statement is currently, "Ahww!"
In addition to now having a common enemy, me, since I am the one who puts a halt on their writing, they are also becoming more of a community through a plethora of shared stories adding to the collective class experience each day as they read one another's posts. The community building aspect of Morning Meeting has grown to the time when they can read and comment on blogs from other students in 5L. They are laughing together at funny stories about cats and soccer. They are empathizing about bad days, feelings of angst, and losses big and small. I watch their appreciation for each other, as people, grow.
Columbia, Malaysia, Singapore, the United States, and Venezuela have all grown closer. From seven year olds to seventeen year olds, there are students around the world writing, just like them. They have the opportunity to read other people's writing and realize that regardless of age or location many human experiences share similar themes. They look for the extra minutes in their day in which to dip into other's blogs and take in their slices - looking for points of connection so they can leave their thoughts and opinions and shared emotions.
The month isn't over, but I'm calling it now: Success!