Slice of Life Story Challenge, Day 8 #sol19

“Good afternoon, everyone!” I chirped.  The end of the day had arrived, and most of my colleagues now sat nestled into a chair for faculty meeting.  The main topic for the meeting was SBAC (standardized testing) protocols and updates, but I had requested time to invite staff to a special writing event for our seventh grade writers.

This year, we, myself along with the seventh grade team, decided to deviate from the curriculum somewhat.  Although the unit of study, designed to support kids in strengthening argument writing skills, asked writers to study a topic beneath the umbrella of “media”, we had decided to open it up.  Instead of teachers providing the topic within which writers could research and take a position, students had been given complete freedom and choice in regards to their topic, with the only stipulation being that they select a cause or issue they truly cared about.  And teachers have watched as engagement has soared.

In order to push engagement even further, a special event is in the planning.  I explained at the faculty meeting that all students will be encouraged to invite an audience member to attend a Global Cause Symposium in our library next week.  In this symposium, writers will be organized in panels to present their positions to an authentic audience.  And although we know some kids will be successful in bringing someone into school to listen to their positions, I made a plea to teachers to stop by if they could make the time.  Perhaps they might provide an audience for some of our writers?

I know teachers’ time is precious, as the demands on our time are great.  But creating opportunities for broader literacy experiences is kind of a mission of mine.  So I am hopeful this event is a success.  Stay tuned…

Author: Lanny Ball

For more than 23 years, Lanny has taught, coached, presented, staff developed, and consulted within the exciting and enigmatic world of literacy. With unyielding passion and belief in the possibility of workshop teaching, Lanny has worked to support students, teachers, and school administrators around the country in outgrowing themselves as both writers and readers. Working first as a classroom teacher, then as a coach and TCRWP Staff Developer, Lanny is now a literacy and reading consultant in Northwestern Connecticut. Outside of literacy, he enjoys raising his three ambitious young daughters with his wife, and playing the piano. Find him on this blog, as well as on Twitter @LannyBall. Lanny is also a co-author of a blog dedicated to supporting teachers and coaches that maintain classroom writing workshops, twowritingteachers.org.

11 thoughts on “Slice of Life Story Challenge, Day 8 #sol19”

  1. The bird chirps,
    sings its own
    song to the day …
    no one tells
    it where to land,
    or on which branch
    to stand, only
    that someone may
    be listening, and
    inspired by the song
    being sung

    — Kevin, a poem inspired by your post (sounds like a version of PBL?)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I agree with Kevin; this sounds like a PBL writing project, which is a wonderful mashup, and one I will suggest to my teachers! I hope you are able to get teachers and community members on board, so students can truly see the impact of their own words.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a wonderful opportunity you’ve created for the kids. Of course, engagement will soar when there is more choice given. I wish others would jump on the choice boat, like you and your colleagues have, in order to get kids more invested in the work we’re asking them to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I hope teachers will show up, too. Lots of times stress can be lessened by doing more with writers. I know that sounds counter intuitive, but actually, being with engaged writers and offering an ear is energizing I think.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree! Sometimes you need to open your eyes to the good things happening- to reconnect and be inspired. This certainly sounds like an opportunity for that to happen. I hope you write more about this!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I think student voice and choice are so important as is authentic audience. I always feel like I learn a lot about topics, about student interests, and about how to present learning experiences when I’m invited to participate as an audience member.

    Liked by 1 person

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