Sunday, February 19, 2017

Ideas and Planning for #SOL17

I just officially signed up for the Slice of Life Challenge. Now, to do it. This challenge is one that comes at a busy time in this (read: every) teacher's life, but I truly believe in the premise that writing will grow my writing instruction. As a #SOL17 newbie, I'm thinking that planning will lead to success.

Here's my plan: brainstorm a bunch of ideas to write about. They'll  be no particular order - just thoughts (they'll be both content- and format-based.) Add to the plan as inspiration strikes. That's it.

I know that the challenge starts on a Wednesday and has 31 days to it. For 7 of those days, I'll be on vacation, celebrating 20 years of marriage with my wonderful husband, so I'll have to take that into account as well.

Here we go:

  1. weather phenomena
  2. teenagers
  3. technology
  4. Chicago
  5. Mondays
  6. Fridays
  7. haiku - want to get some poetry going
  8. ode to spring
  9. coffee
  10. what I'm reading
  11. book clubs
  12. colleagues
  13. 5th grade funnies (want to start writing these down)
  14. dogs and what they do for us
  15. airports
  16. saying goodbye
  17. family
  18. gratitude
  19. standardized testing
  20. reading what we love - the impact on students
  21. meditating
  22. our jobs and how they impact us
  23. taking time to focus on relationships (I could start a blog on this alone - both personally and professionally)
  24. music
  25. exercise
  26. The Cubs and being uncomfortable
  27. empathy 
  28. self-care
  29. work/life balance
  30. book lists - what I want to read
  31. traveling
  32. a new country
  33. new experiences - how they change us
  34. staying present
  35. student choice & responsibility - reflections and growth
I'm realizing as I create this list that it's going to force me to be more present. To slow down and take notice of the small, funny moments that take place each day, but that I don't always take time to SEE.

I'm also realizing that I'll want to narrow my topics in order to keep my posts short - after all, it's a Slice of Life, not my Theory of Life. I'm loquacious by nature. Editing to be concise will be a challenge for me here, but I think it'll translate well into teaching and conferring points with my young writers.

So I have a plan!! Now: execute.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

#SOL17 Challenge

One of the things I've been noticing in my teaching practice is that my conferring and small groups in writer's workshop are areas of much growth for me. And I wondered: maybe that's because I'm not writing. I love to write, but it's not something I've made a priority in my career. I've had this blog for two years now, it's purpose being a tool for reflection on my practice, but I haven't posted in 18 months. Is my lack of writing - the engagement, the struggle, the highs, the lows - connected to my struggles with conferring in writer's workshop? Maybe. I keep seeing that the strongest writing teachers write. Ergo, if I write, I'll grow as a writing teacher.

To get back into the writing swing, I'm going to get uncomfortable. Cubs coach Joe Maddon said during a spring training press conference, "It's really important to become uncomfortable," Maddon said on Tuesday. "If you become comfortable, that subtracts growth from the equation. I think if you remain uncomfortable, you continue to grow, you don't become stagnant or complacent. On every level, I want us to be uncomfortable, and I think that's a really positive word."

Uncomfortable, for me, is to put myself out there and have my thoughts looked at by others. #SOL17 - the Slice of Life writing exercise taking place throughout the month of March - is just the place for me take the leap. Starting as a weekly writing challenge for teachers and students, different challenges have been created by the wonderful folks at the Two Writing Teachers blog. The challenges can be done individually or with your students! I'm choosing to join the annual March challenge as a way to grow both as a writer and as a teacher of writers. Two of the biggest challenges I foresee are the daily writing, and making sure I write while on my spring break vacation with my husband. Planning ahead will be the way I tackle those challenges.

I'm looking forward to writing every day for a month, and am grateful for my Twitter PLN, who have given me topic ideas and planning ahead tips as I attempt this challenge for the first time! This Padlet, created by Sally Donnelly, has been an invaluable tool.

So, here I go, filled with anticipation and hope, publishing this to hold myself accountable. I can't wait to see where this takes me as a writer and as a teacher!

Total Pageviews