I am participating in the Two Writing Teachers Annual March Slice of Life Story Challenge.
This year I decided to complete my slice of life challenge through the use of quickwrites. By doing this, I hope to explore my own writing, identify problems my students may be experiencing with these quick bursts of writing, and show them authentic revisions in the writing process.
Today's quick write comes from the "My Quick Writes" a notebook/source book from Inside Writing: How to Teach the Details of Craft by Penny Kittle and Don Graves. In this book they talk about the difference between quick writes and traditional writing prompts, which is a common way many students are taught to write. They describe quick writes as something that "nudge us to discover topics that matter, not to respond to a question that many have nothing to do with our experience."
They suggest the following process:
- Choose a starter.
- Write rapidly for ten minutes.
- Change nothing.
- Lower you standards. (This is hard to do when you are writing publicly!)
- Let your own thinking guide you, not the prompt.
Here we go:
"When I was a kid I had certain chores I had to do. The first one was..." Write about that chore in all the details you can remember and show your feelings about doing it."
Growing up with three siblings brought many trials and tribulations. My older sister and I are a year apart, so we were nine and ten when my younger sister was born. We used to wash dishes together, but fought a lot. My mom decided it was best to separate us. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I washed the dishes. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, my sister washed the dishes. Sunday was Mom's day. On the opposite nights, we would have to walk our baby sister in the stroller.
I really didn't mind either of those chores when I was younger. But as we all got older, the one chore I hated was emptying the ice trays! I grew up before automatic ice makers were a thing. Or if they were around then, well, we didn't have one. Instead, we had blue plastic ice trays. A family of six used a lot of ice, so we had eight stack-able trays! There was nothing worse than going to get a glass of Kool-aid or Hawaiian Punch, and no ice!
As a solution to this problem, we created a list that went: Mom, Dad, Janis, Leigh, Doug, Cris. The list ran down the side of the paper and down the middle. Each time we emptied the ice trays, we put the date beside our name. When the ice trays needed emptied, first name up had to do it.
Now, back then, I was not the procrastinator that I am now. I would get ahead several turns. I might of have been three or four ahead of anyone else. So when the ice bin was empty, and the trays needed emptied...nope, it wasn't my turn!
Ways to Use this in My Classroom
This quick write could easily be revised into a narrative, building in small moments with rich details. I could capture a scene of finding the ice bin empty and write about those emotions, or I could create a scene where I proudly announce it wasn't my turn.
How could you use this prompt for your writing or slice idea?