This year as the March challenge approaches I am caught in a whirlwind of emotions.
I am excited to write myself since I have fallen off in the last few months and so am working hard to get my writing back up to speed.
I am frustrated because I want my students to write as well this year. My fourth grade classroom last year wrote just for ourselves and it was a great experience. The daily writing practice was great for my students (and for me!) My two classes this year are struggling with putting words to paper and the attitude I get from them is huge. This task of writing is very difficult for many of my students who are working below grade level.
I am mad because of TESTing. Since many of my students are performing below grade level it is the expectation that I stay on task with what will be on the test this spring. ( We have a new state test and the difficultly level has gone way up making it even harder for my students of poverty to catch up.)
I am curious. Can I take the March Challenge – a Slice of Life and push just a bit to have students get the benefit of daily writing but also be practicing skills and vocabulary that I must work with them on daily. What if our slice of life in not so open but needs to include a metaphor, or simile? What if I ask for one slice to be a non fiction article about something they know well in their life and one to be taking some moment in their life and changing it into realistic fiction? Can I have them be writing short pieces that connect to themselves and the curriculum that I am being told I must do?
So begins the thinking about the double challenge –
One can I get them excited and wanting and willing to write daily.
Two can I tweak the open write to something that will link into the concepts in reading, writing and language skills that I must connect to but still leaving room for my students to make that personal connection that makes writing valuable to us.
The whirlwind has begun – ideas are welcome if you have thoughts on how I stay on the straight and narrow test prep path and still provide my students with the in depth writing I know a March writing challenge would provide please let me know.