Reading, Teaching, Learning

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Celebration Saturday and Slice of Life Challenge - Day 8

 
     I'm crossing-posting today since it is Celebration Saturday AND Day 8 of the Slice of Life Challenge.  I have had such a wonderful time participating in both!
 
First, the celebrations:
 
1.  I forgot to mention last Saturday, that I had fun celebrating Andrea Reis, who is new to Twitter and became my one thousandth follower!  I was so excited that I had 1,000 followers (which is nothing compared to some people - like Donalyn Miller who has 21.5K!) that I decided to send her a gift.  Speaking of Donalyn Miller, Andrea hadn't read The Book Whisperer yet, and she's an educator, so that's what I sent.  I can't wait to hear what she thinks.  Be sure to follow Andrea and let her know how great our Twitter community is! 
 

 
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2.  I've sliced for a week straight in the SOLSC, and I've LOVED it.  I get up every day anticipating what I'm going to write and what other great writing I'm going to read on others' slices.  I've been concentrating on writing memories and that has been such a joyful journey.  (Ooh - JOURNEY is my OLW/Word of the Year).  I've been pouring over old pictures, tearing up, laughing, and smiling.
 
3.  My fifth graders are participating in the Classroom Slice of Life Classroom Challenge.  I've challenged them to write every day in the month of March, too.  They're starting memoirs next week, so this was a great way for them to search memories of their own.  I know some of them were wary of this challenge at the beginning and thought it was going to be quite a chore.  However, I've loved their enthusiasm this week.  I've gotten comments like "I LOVE writing every day!" and "Sometimes when I start writing, I can't stop!"  I'd love for you to visit our classroom blog and see some of the great writing going on.  I'll be posting more next week. 
 
4.  I'm also celebrating reading as well as writing this week.  My students are just RAVING about A Snicker of Magic in my Mock Newbery Club.  I was able to get multiple copies from Scholastic Book Club so we could all read it at the same time.  One sixth grader, who is a voracious reader (she's read over 100 books this year already), said it was her favorite all-time book.  In her own words, "Since I read so much, that's really saying something."  I'm halfway through - it's wonderful!  We've set up a Skype session with Natalie Lloyd on Tuesday after school for the club.  We can't wait!  There may be surprises in store for my students and Natalie involving Jeni's Ice Cream. ;-)  Beth Shaum, Jason Lewis, Natalie Lloyd, and I had a fun Twitter conversation about her book and ice cream parties this week. ;-)
 
5.  I was invited by a colleague to come do book talks for his fifth grade team.  He teases me a lot about how much I read, but he knows I have a passion for books, so he capitalized on it. ;-)  He wanted to do literature circles, so we chose a great group of books from our book room to "advertise."  I had a blast visiting his team of around 50 kids during their Round Table time and talking about these wonderful titles.  One of the girls stopped me in the hall later and asked, "When are you coming back to our class?  That was fun!"  Yay!  Kids love to hear about books!  I think it's great when we can collaborate as colleagues like that, using each other's gifts to do the best job we can for students.  We need to do that more often. 
 
Now on to my Slice today!  I used some of the great, specific feedback I got from Cathy Mere to take one of my memory slices and make it into a fictional scene.  Here we go...
 
     Pop!  The juicy, apple-green sweet pea burst in my mouth.  "Mmm.  Yum!" I declared.  Sweat from the August sun matted down stray, blond curls against the nape of my neck.  The rest of my hair frizzed up and away from my head in a billowing cloud.  My knobby knees were sunburned, sticking out from my legs like toadstools.
 
     "Leave some for the bowl," Miss Norma , my other mom, implored.
 
     I reluctantly dumped the handful of peas I had extracted from their shells back in the bowl.  Michele, whose yellow-brown hair was nearly as unruly as mine, hopped up suddenly, making her own curls bounce rebelliously, "Time to play!  Can we, Mom?"  Miss Norma sighed and agreed, knowing she was losing her two helpers for the rest of the morning.  "Yes.  But don't get too dirty and be ready to come in for lunch.  You can't be late for the bus on your first day of Kindergarten."
 
     Michele and I stole a grimaced glance at each other and shrugged.  Not get dirty?  We'll see about that.  It felt good to get to my feet after shelling those peas.  My hands had kept busy, but my legs felt like they needed to dance. "Race ya to the barn!"  I challenged.
 
Now, here's the hard part.  Rereading, I know this is not the right tone/vocabulary/etc. for an early reader chapter book.  I finished Marty McGuire and am reading Clementine to try to get a feel for this format.  I'd love suggestion on how to make it sound more appropriate for a 6-year-old "voice."  OR do I tell it in third person and try for a younger intermediate format?
 
Off to read other celebrations and slices!!

14 comments:

  1. Holly, thank you for reminding me that there is so much to celebrate and so many ways to find inspiration in this wonderful world. Hey, I am "up to" 100 followers on Twitter--and that was a big deal to me. :)

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    1. 100 followers is awesome! What's your Twitter handle? I'll follow you! :-)

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  2. Holly,
    I think Junie B Jones has a first graderish sort of voice, could you make it her first day of first grade or second grade? Or meet the teacher day? My sons school does that...they have a two hour meet the teacher day the Monday of the first week of school. Does she have to be a kindergartener?

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    1. A meet the teacher day would be fun. I remember when my oldest first met her teacher. No, she doesn't have to a kindergartener. Just exploring. It's amazing how hard that early reader voice is! I do LOVE Junie B. Jones. :-) Thank you for your feedback!

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  3. I love the scene you've set up and vocabulary is great! I'm agreeing with Amy Rudd's suggestion of making it a second or third grader. I can't imagine Natalie shelling peas for a second and she's almost 5. :) I love the vocabulary you've used. I think it should be an older "early reader" audience or a young intermediate audience (does that make sense?).

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  4. Love all your celebrations, Holly, especially that 'ice cream book club' idea! As for your writing, I don't know the early reader books well, but how about going through your piece and eliminating the adverbs and most of the adjectives. The actions really do tell the story! Just a thought!

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  5. Girls in my fourth grade class are all arguing over my two copies of Snicker of Magic. Will definitely need to buy more copies. You have a lot to celebrate this week!

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  6. I was thinking about doing a combo post today… I just might go back and make it a "too for one." wiring for young readers… they seem to talk in short abrupt phrases, but I like a book to model better language… does this make sense? Remember they are just learning to master inferring and imagery. I have a friend WHO loves to eat peas straight from the garden, your post made me think of her.

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  7. You were clever to set yourself a focus for this challenge - first collect, then play and work with the ideas. When you asked for advice, I first thought of Kevin Henkes and Cynthia Rylant, but quickly realized that they write in third person. Then I thought of Astrid Lindgren's Children of Noisy Village, the main character turns seven at the beginning of the book, but it is not an early reader chapter book. then my mind went black. Sorry for not being helpful. I look forward to seeing what approach you take and where your revision leads you.

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  8. Lots to celebrate! I love the story you have created from your own memory pieces. I teach 4th grade and I think this writing would probable fit for this age group. You are off to a great start! Good luck.

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  9. There is so much celebrating happening here! 1000 twitter followers! Wow! I just passed 50 and that excited me:) I really loved your enthusiasm when talking about books. Perhaps Book Whisper will get started tonight.

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  10. Thanks everybody for your comments. I think I've realized my voice and story line is better suited for older than early reader. Now I'm thinking more 2-4th grade.

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  11. One thousand followers! That's amazing! You are so brave to put a piece of fiction up for critique. And everyone has such great ideas and suggestions. I like the idea of making it for a younger group, 1st or 2nd grade, but also teaching new vocabulary. One of my favorite authors is Kate DiCamillo and she never shies away from using strong, rich vocabulary.

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  12. Holly -Love the scene you wrote. I agree with those who suggested aging it up to 7 & 8 for your character. I think it will give you more flexibility. I love the scene. I wonder if you asked some eight year olds to describe something for you will begin to give you more of an ear for their voice?!

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