Six Word Slice of Life: From Design Flow to Interactive Story

(For this month’s Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers, I am aiming to do Six Word Slices most days, with some extended slices on other days.)

Context: I wrote the other day about the ways my sixth graders were making design plans to create Interactive Fiction stories inside Google Slides. Since then, they have been working hard to bring the stories to fruition, and by yesterday, many were finishing up the writing and proofreading of their stories. I enjoy this time of reading the finished game/stories, after so much work with conferencing on narrative ideas and technical assistance.

Six Word Slice of Life Student Stories

You can read a few of their stories (It’s best to go full screen to experience the pieces … use the hyperlinks to move along the narrative choices):

 

Peace (make a choice),
Kevin

Six Word Slice of Life: Kids, Dancing

(For this month’s Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers, I am aiming to do Six Word Slices most days, with some extended slices on other days.)

Context: Yesterday was our annual Sixth Grade Quidditch Tournament at my school. My class (they chose Tsunami as their name) came close to winning, but not close enough. Still, they had a blast, playing our version of Quidditch all day long in our gym before the rest of the school and visiting families. At night, the teachers’ team — Pink Fury — took on sixth graders in a fun match, and I will be feeling the effects of that event for a few days, I am sure. My six words are not about the tournament itself, which I have written about in the past, but about what happens in-between the games. The DJ (DJ Fred: mailman by day, DJ by night) kicks up the jams, and a horde of students rush to the gym floor to dance together. It’s quite a sight to see hundreds of elementary students — from young kids to older kids to adults — doing line-dancing and other popular moves in sync, all with smiles and laughing and joyfulness. I wish I had a picture of all that but it is clear in my mind — this ocean of young dancers.

Six Word Slice of Life Dancing

Peace (dancing it),
Kevin

Six Word Slice of Life: Peaceful Silence

(For this month’s Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers, I am aiming to do Six Word Slices most days, with some extended slices on other days.)

Context: This is the time of year when the work we did around routines earlier in the year can begin to pay off. Sometimes. We’re into an independent reading unit, and I try to stay true to the need to carve out about 15 to 20 minutes of each class for quiet reading. The kids sprawl out around the room, and after getting settled, they are almost all quiet, immersed, engaged in their novels. I love that silence.

Six Word Slice of Life Silent Reading

One of my students saw a video from last year, when we did our Mannequin Challenge of frozen readers, and he asked if we could do one this year. So, yes, of course we did. It was a ton of fun.

Peace (on the pages),
Kevin

Six Word Slice of Life: Dog Greeting

(For this month’s Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers, I am aiming to do Six Word Slices most days, with some extended slices on other days.)

Context: I sort of remembered that our sister-in-law asked us to watch her dogs while she and her family went away for a few days. They live in Rhode Island. We’re in Western Massachusetts. She decided to deliver their dogs a few days early, with another storm approaching. So, I was surprised to walk in our door after school and see three dogs, instead of just our Duke, pushing all of their faces towards me and knocking into my legs with wagging tails and leaning bodies. Such a greeting party and so happy to see me! And then, they did it all over again every time I entered the house.

Six Word Slice of Life Dogs

Peace (wags its tail),
Kevin

 

Six Word Slice of Life: Coming Home

(For this month’s Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers, I am aiming to do Six Word Slices most days, with some extended slices on other days.)

Context: Even when everything goes according to schedule — the taxi ride is quick, the security line is manageable, the flight isn’t delayed — the coming home always feels long. I spent the first part of yesterday in “travel mode,” making my way home from our National Writing Project work in Washington DC. The travel seemed endless, even though I was home, walking the dog, returning books to the library, reading the Sunday newspapers and driving a kid to baseball practice by mid-afternoon. Back in the flow …

Six Word Slice of Life Home

Peace (travels far and wide),
Kevin

Six Word Slice of Life: Spring for Summer

(For this month’s Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers, I am aiming to do Six Word Slices most days, with some extended slices on other days.)

To be honest, officially it’s still winter, right? But it’s Mid-March. That’s what should be Spring in my mind. Ignore the snow. Yesterday, I spent the day in DC, collaborative thinking about a summer project to connect teachers, writing projects, and National Park sites together, and July seemed very far away. I know it’s not. (Not many signs of Cherry Blossoms here in DC yet … )

Six Word Slice of Life Planning

Peace (thinking ahead),
Kevin

 

Six Word Slice of Life: Power of the Press

(For this month’s Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers, I am aiming to do Six Word Slices most days, with some extended slices on other days.)

Context: I’ve visited Washington DC any number of times and each time, I think: Next time, I am going to visit the Newseum, the museum (not part of the Smithsonian) that centers on the news media. As a former journalist and always a news junkie, it would seem like a given. But until yesterday, I never had the opportunity, and boy, am I glad I took the opportunity to get in a visit. The exhibits in the Newseum remind you of the power of the freedom of the press — through all its many rocky terrains — as a bedrock of our country, no matter what our president seems to think and to say about it. The exhibits showed the power of story, in all of its forms — photos, writing, design, video, etc. I nearly cried in the 9/11 room. I was quiet in the Pulitzer Prize Photo exhibit. I gazed in wonder at the headlines of newspapers for the day from all corners of the world on display. And I laughed in the Late Night Talk Show room. The history of the news is as search for some semblance of truth to guide us all. We all know, too, that this is a work in progress.

Six Word Slice of Life Press Matters

Peace (and stories),
Kevin

Six Word Slice of Life: Talking and Listening

(For this month’s Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers, I am aiming to do Six Word Slices most days, with some extended slices on other days.)

Context: As I mentioned in my Slice of Life yesterday, I am here in Washington DC, with a large group of National Writing Project teachers, lobbying our members of Congress to support educational funding for professional development for teachers. The president has decimated that funding in his budget but the recently passed funding deal might have a little more leeway for increases. We in the writing project network hope to be able to tap and leverage federal funds for our work. My Massachusetts contingent visited the offices of four Representatives (Kennedy, Neal and McGovern) and two Senators (Warren and Markey), telling our stories as teachers in the classroom. To be honest, these were sympathetic ears, already supportive of education. But telling our stories of our work, and the stories of our students, to those in power is still important. I think we’ve all learned, you can’t rest on your laurels these days.

Six Word Slice of Life Talking and Listening

Peace (in the halls of power),
Kevin

Six Word Slice of Life: NWP in DC

(For this month’s Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers, I am aiming to do Six Word Slices most days, with some extended slices on other days.)

Context: My wife and I headed to the airport after school, and flew together to Washington DC for the Spring Meeting of the National Writing Project. This gathering is about advocacy — the NWP’s funding has been cut by the Trump administration — as well as developing and supporting programs. I am involved in a new project stemming from a partnership between NWP and the National Park Service. However, with both my wife and I gone, we have been stressed and worried about the kids at home, enlisting family member and neighbors to help us. It will all be fine, and the two boys at home are old enough that this is not a problem. The problem is us. We leave home but never really leave home, if you know what I mean.

Six Word Slice of Life NWP

Peace (in distance),
Kevin

Six Word Slice of Life: Protest

(For this month’s Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers, I am aiming to do Six Word Slices most days, with some extended slices on other days.)

Context: Today is the National Student Walk-Out Day, and although our elementary school is not officially part of the student-led protest against gun violence and in favor of more gun control, my heart is with students everywhere. My sons (13 and 17) will likely take part in walk-outs planned at their two schools. Students in the middle and high school in my district — my former students — will be involved in protest and activities. Will any of my current sixth graders want to walk out today? Or have 17 minutes of silence? Not one has mentioned doing so to me and our administration has not pushed the issue, due to the thorny debates and age of our students, and snow days and other things have disrupted our schedule. We’ll see. My thoughts will be with all students, everywhere, today, that they can make the change the adults are afraid to make.

Six Word Slice of Life Protest

Peace (bringing the possibility),
Kevin