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.
Writers participate in this challenge for many reasons. This year I have been disappointed in my students' writing when we do quick writes. (Maybe it's because I see the work from other students, and I unfairly compare.)
Because of this disappointment, I decided to put myself in their shoes and do quick writes for my slices. Today, as we wrap up our first week, I have a better understanding of how my students feel and why I may not be seeing the work I desire.
What I learned from a week of quick writes:
- Knowing the prompt has an advantage. For this challenge, I chose my own quick write prompts, so I knew the direction my writing was going to take me before I even began. It became much harder when the prompt was spontaneous, and I didn't know it ahead of time, as in this slice.
- Four minutes isn't enough time. When my students do quick writes, I give them four minutes with two additional minutes for revision. This week, I took ten minutes for each of my quick writes. I feel this gave me enough time to develop my idea which could possibly turn into something more. Four minutes just isn't enough time.
- Writing beside them matters. I have always known showing my students my own writing life let's them see that writing goes beyond school. This week we have written quick writes together. They saw me struggle with the anxiety of the impromptu writing from a random word. They saw how ideas can take writers in different directions. They saw that writers can overcome blank pages.
But I think the most important lesson I
learned was reminded of this week was Choice Matters. I missed looking at my day and finding slices in the moments. My daughter said something funny the other day, and I warned her that it was March and everything she says or does qualifies for a slice.
Then, I remembered that I was using quick writes this year.
I know the value of quick writes and why we, as teachers, use them. But I have also learned that a steady diet of the same type of writing, whether that is quick writes, on-demand writing, writing to a prompt, daily journal writing, or many others, is not good for any writer.
You might just see something different from me in week two!