Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Slice of Life - In December

I love participating in Slice of Life, started by Two Writing Teachers and writing a story, reflection, or musing at least once a week.
I've been using mentor texts with my 6th graders to help give them new ideas for Slices and writing craft.  Last week, we read In November by Cynthia Rylant.  What we noticed:

Repetitive phrase (In December)
Quite tone/mood
Sensory details
 I told them they could write about their favorite month.  I tried it out, too.  My favorite month is December.

IN DECEMBER (inspired by In November by Cynthia Rylant)

In December, twinkling lights
pirouette around evergreen boughs
and spill over rooftops,
filling passersby with cheer.

In December,
scarlet cardinals and black-capped chickadees
swoop from nearby trees
to birdfeeders full of seeds.
They argue and flutter,
competing for the best places to perch 
and dine.

In December,
we break the ice in water troughs
for the horses,
their coats thick with winter fur.
Ice crystals form around their soft muzzles
as they lean in together to keep warm.

In December,
a campfire blazes on the shore of the frozen pond,
above it a swinging cauldron of hot chocolate,
steaming and sweet,
waiting for us when we come off the black ice,
breathless and cold,
our mittens making it difficult to unlace our skates.

In December,
cookies bake in the oven,
and the smell of peppermint and sugar
wafts through the air.
Candy canes and popcorn garlands
adorn the tree,
along with handmade ornaments
from elementary school.

In December,
we put on our Sunday best on Christmas Eve
and gather in the church,
holding our candles.
The sweet notes of "Silent Night" fill the sanctuary,
as the lights dim and the instruments quiet.
Only the congregation's voices and the flicker of gentle flames
as we imagine that stable long ago.

And in December,
after the family gatherings 
and celebrations,
the opening of presents
and Santa's visit,
a year comes to an end
with confetti, poppers, and the shiny drop
of the Times Square ball.
Friends and family sway arm and arm, and sing
"Should auld acquaintance be forgot..."


  1. You've captured the magic of December! As your students generate their "In December" slices of life, I'm sure they'll come to see the magic, too.

  2. I love this book! Your details of Christmas Eve in the sanctuary - perfect.
    "Only the congregation's voices and the flicker of gentle flames
    as we imagine that stable long ago. "
    Putting this in my mentor slices file. Definitely something I want to try.

  3. What beautiful images you have created! This is a wonderful idea. I think I need to go pull this book out!

  4. I wish I had read this last night when I was stuck. Mentor texts help teachers write, too. So much to love about December, but I am looking forward to November. I have a hug waiting for the moment we meet!

  5. This is a wonderful pairing, Holly. Might you consider slicing your poem for a digital image when I announce the winter gallery? November is one of my favorite picture books also.