It’s been two weeks since I’ve read for pleasure. That’s quite an admission for me. I had started Chris Cleave’s Little Bee, which I like very much, but life interfered. There were essays to respond to, parent conferences to ready for, and then blogposts to write and read for this Slice of Life Challenge. I also got sidetracked by a book that promised to help me review theme, etc. with my students, but in the end it turned out to be a liar.


So when I picked it up again on yesterday, I really needed a refresher on what was happening.  The book is told by two narrators, one an undocumented Nigerian immigrant in the U.K. and the other a Londoner she met briefly while abroad. Something dramatic took place within this brief encounter that you as the reader have to unravel. Cleave plays with time a bit if this weren’t difficult enough. But his language and storytelling are powerful enough to make me want to do this work.


When I’m not reading, I feel adrift and untethered. What will I think about before I fall asleep at night? What will I talk about with my friends? I also feel a bit like an imposter. I tell my students that you can always make time for what’s really important, but sometimes you just can’t. So happy to be able to lose myself in pages again.

I’m participating in the Slice of Life Challenge. Won’t you join me? 



Published in: on March 10, 2014 at 10:04 am  Comments (4)  
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Slicing the Slice

When I saw the call for the Slice of Life Challenge, not only did I know that I wanted to do it, but also that I wanted my students to participate too. Instead of posting on the group website, they’re doing so on my Ning where they already have blogs. It’s a closed system, so students from other students wouldn’t be able to respond back. That’s okay. Within my three classes there are plenty of kids to read and respond to. My grade level partner enlisted her students too.


There are about two dozen blog posts waiting for me this morning. Apparently, my students prefer the dark for composition. And what are they writing about? Earlier in the week, they were venting their frustration over yet another snow day. Soon they moved onto the best types of sleds and the joys of ice-skating. Others steered clear of the weather entirely and wrote book or movie reviews. A handful recounted what they do when they are bored, which apparently includes setting hair spray on fire. (I didn’t know that anyone still used the aerosol kind any more.)

A few students are writing serial stories, mysteries that leave us waiting for the next installment much like Dickens used to do. One pair crafts their tale together with each posting from a different narrator daily. And of course, just like in the grown-up version, there are many that simply describe what happened during their day, looking for the import in the mundane whether it surrounds navigating lunch table drama, traveling to a soccer tournament, or not being prepared for a math quiz. There were a few recipes posted for a few days without much reflection on them, so I put the kibosh on that. Generally, reading them has been a very pleasant part of my day.

When we launched the Challenge last week, we told our kids that there would be a pizza party as well as a raffle for those who completed all thirty-one days. So far a quarter of my students are in the running for this. There hasn’t been a lot of commenting yet, so my colleague and I hope to steal this weekend’s commenting challenge to get the wheels in motion for this.

So far this has been a great success in my eyes. Fingers crossed it stays that way.

Published in: on March 9, 2014 at 12:20 pm  Comments (5)