just put your pencil down and write

Slice of LIfe

Slice of Life #6 – March 6th

I started this challenge with two ideas in mind. One to push myself to write which I always say I am doing and I am not.  The other was to really get my students to put as many words in their journals as they can.  We have been struggling all year with the desire to not write.   It has been like dragging them through the swamp. We have been stuck so many times.  We have just stomped around in the mud and never gotten any where.   Often there have been groups of students who just sat and did not write.   So here comes the challenge.  I spring it on them the day before and just announce that this is what we will be doing.  I expected groans and moans and the usual I am not doing this but instead they just looked at me.  Maybe I caught them by surprise – who knows.  I sent a letter to parents, shared it with parents during the conferences and we began writing.

Today is day 6 (7 for us because I started them on Feb. 29 – another surprise – the warm up day).  We pulled up the Slice of Life blog and I share several posts hoping to get them to try new ideas, keeping them thinking.  This is new to my fourth graders. Writing is not something this school has focused on.  So my class is not sure what to make of this.

I was sure today would be the day I would get – “I have nothing more to say!”

But I was SO wrong – I sent them off to their desks prepared with the line – “just put your pencil down and write.  Just keep writing.”     They did just that without the line.  They all left the circle pulled out their journals and began.  They wrote for about 20 minutes.  The room was quiet and all pencils were moving.  I just stood there and watched!  Amazed that they were so engaged in writing.  They had all pulled their feet out of the swamp and were swimming through words with ease and grace.

After a few minutes of watching I thought what should I do?

Oh yeah – get out my journal and write!   Thanks Slice of Life we are all becoming writers this month!

About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, help in schools and write. Life is good!
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One Response to just put your pencil down and write

  1. MaryHelen says:

    They had all pulled their feet out of the swamp and were swimming through words with ease and grace. – a favorite line. Yeah, so glad your class began to write. Kids have lots of thoughts and this idea of writing each day is so wonderful in teaching us about the process of writing.

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