Slice of Life Story Challenge 2020 Day 5

Today, March 5th, 2020, I’m participating in Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life Story Challenge.

I could see them through the glass-paned door, all sitting in a semi-circle.  As quietly as possible, we opened the door and sidled into the classroom.  Not surprisingly, all the little faces of the pre-school children, as well as the cast of adults positioned among and before them, turned to face us.  I felt my face form into a bright smile and heard my voice say, “Good morning everyone!  We’re just here to visit.”

Making my way to the back of the room, I watched as the teacher held up vividly colored flashcards.  “Let’s begin,” she instructed, sitting up on her knees.  Suddenly the room burst into unison voices, reciting the letter A, its short vowel sound, and the word ‘apple.’ I glanced over at my assistant superintendent who had accompanied me into the room and greeted her smile with my own.

Earlier in the day, she and I had visited the middle school across town from my own.  There, we had witnessed adolescent writers composing research-based argument writing on such topics as gay marriage, gun control, and the utility of bells in schools.  In that classroom, the teacher had patiently explained to us that these writers were working on a third argument piece.  I thought to myself how helpful that will be for the students, as repetition is how we learn.

Now sitting quietly observing a pre-K lesson, my assistant superintendent silently gestured to me that it was time to move on.  Our next stop would be a few kindergarten classrooms, followed by some time in upper grades.  Each room we visited left me awe-struck at the levels of organization, care, and skill the teachers brought to the mission of educating each group of young children.

Following our elementary walk, we traveled a few miles to our local high school.  There we were warmly met in the lobby by the school’s Humanities Department Chair, who gracefully led us through nine different English and social studies classrooms.  At one point, my assistant super leaned over to me to whisper, “See that boy in the front row? I’ve known him since he was in pre-school.”  Silently, I marveled at the breadth of the journey each of these students had traveled thus far; from learning what sounds a letter makes, to now presenting on the effects of globalization on the nation of Nigeria. Amazing.

As I drove home that day, I felt so privileged, so privileged to have witnessed a slice of the twelve plus year educational journey kids take on in their lives. I found it truly fascinating!

Author: Lanny Ball

For more than 29 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 specialist, working and living in the great state of 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 former co-author of a blog dedicated to supporting writing teachers and coaches that maintain classroom writing workshops,

6 thoughts on “Slice of Life Story Challenge 2020 Day 5”

  1. Wow- that is a very interesting learning walk! Curious what your focus was as you went through each school/ grade level? Were you looking to answer a particular question? Whenever I’ve been part of a learning walk we’ve been asked to focus on a particular question: “What evidence do you see of students problem solving in math?” or “What is the evidence writers are engaged and on task?” The learning walks have been much narrower- either grade level specific or maybe 1-4th. It sounds like you loved being in all the different classrooms!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What an impressive day!
    The multiple successful classroom practices makes my heart leap with joy. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What an amazing day! I loved how you described with each grade level the expectation grew and how the teachers were taking the time to ensure that the students were being successful. It certainly is interesting and funny to think of how they go from these little students memorizing the sounds each letter makes to constructing essays letting the world know their thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. One of the things I relished the most from my day’s of teaching music in a K-8 school was seeing the progression of the students from kindergarten to 8th grade. It was a gift.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love that you were able to see the entire spectrum of learning from preschool to high school! I wonder if anyone has even pointed out to those high school kids the extent of the learning journey they’ve been on?


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