Last night I drove home in the rain. My brain settled in on thinking about the Slice of Life Challenge, and about how much I’ve enjoyed writing and connecting to others this month. I thought about how, in a way, I’ve spent my March close reading my days because of this challenge. (Thanks again, Kate Roberts! ) I spend my days noticing slices, snapshots, pieces. This isn’t totally abnormal for me, I’m married to a film editor, but it is new to do it this much and for the purpose of writing. Now small moments become slices in my mind, and sometimes on my page.
When I decided to Slice, I told my friend M, and she said “I’ll slice too, on a google.” And she has. So has my other friend K. It meant a lot to have my real life friends slicing along with me. Not to mention the ones who read my blog, comment, tweet, email and talk to me about my writing in person. I’ve “met” new people online, and read blogs I may not have seen otherwise. It really is a conversation. Starting this writing habit has been an amazing thing. Not just writing, but blogging. I saw this yesterday (wish I remember where I found it!)
Yesterday I was blown away by the extra views my blog got, the tweeting and retweeting. I went to Fran’s blog to reread her “right now” slice, and noticed other bloggers mentioning my link in her comments. Then, I saw that someone pinned my piece on balance on pinterest. I was so excited about these connections, and it started my mind thinking about how I can help my students get more connections with their writing. More sharing. More commenting. More complimenting.
As soon as I started this challenge, I had fuzzy thoughts about how beneficial writing daily would be. Ruth Ayres articulated the benefits in this post at Choice Literacy. I love when thoughts I have swirling around are made lucid by someone. It is affirming. Ruth’s post speaks to me about how important it is to do the things we ask students to do. Learning is messy, and if I’m not learning and thinking about learning while I’m teaching, I think it can be easy to lose sight of what it means to learn. If I hadn’t started writing more, started blogging and started the Slice challenge, I wouldn’t be reflecting about how important sharing is in a writing community. I wouldn’t be thinking about how to fit in more acknowledgement in my Writer’s Workshop. I’ve always known it is important, but I often forget, and I never truly understood.
Years ago I started to take piano lessons again, after having quit my senior year of high school. I was talking to my aunt one day about my trying to create a habit of practicing piano as an adult. She remarked that it must be great for my teaching, to be learning piano. I misunderstood her, and went into a whole speech about how it was so powerful to be learning something while I’m teaching, how it really made me think about how my students learn. She nodded, looked at me quizzically and said, “Oh, I just meant you could have a piano in your classroom to play and sing with your class.”
There’s no way my piano skills are up to that, but my learning has always informed my teaching. Thanks to Slice of Life, I will be taking many awesome learning and writing lessons back to my classroom.