Back in the fall when I did my inquiry project on how to help students who struggle with writing, I came across the blog, Two Writing Teachers. This blog was started by Stacey Shubitz and Ruth Ayres and is currently run by Shubitz and several co-authors.
In addition to being a great resource for teachers, Shubitz and co have started three initiatives to help get more teachers blogging. The Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge happens all year, and in March there is the month-long Individual Slice of Life Story Challenge and Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge. The goal of these challenges is to create an online community of teachers who support each other through blogging and making comments, and also to encourage teachers to use blogging with their students.
The Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge asks “slicers” (teachers participating in the challenge) to write a story every Tuesday, with as much description as possible, about something that happened in their classroom one day that week. The challenge started in 2008 when Stacey Shubitz was reading one of her student’s writer’s notebooks and came across a piece of writing about his sister’s lost necklace, and how the entire family searched the apartment for it before the sister realized she was wearing it. When Stacey googled “slice of life” she found that it’s a term used in literature and entertainment that essentially means to describe everyday experiences with as much realism as possible. This is when Stacey decided to start a slice of life challenge of her own on her blog.
From Two Writing Teachers:
If you’ve been a teacher participating in the Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge, each day of the challenge you’ve
- blogged yourself
- read and commented on blog posts
- linked your students’ blog posts
- read and commented on your student blogs
- read and commented on other student blog posts
The Individual Slice of Life Story Challenge and Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge, which take place every March take it one step further by Challenging teachers to write very day for a month and to lead their whole class in writing a daily blog story for 31 straight days.
This challenge adds incentive to teachers to blog because it ensures that they will have an audience and receive comments from other teachers and students. The challenge uses Twitter tags to publicize those blogs that are participating. There are also prizes for the Individual Slice of Life Story Challenge for those teachers that are able to complete 31 stories in a month.