When I decided to actually do the March Slice of Life writing challenge, I became inspired to also do a daily writing challenge with my 5th graders as well. While, I was not ready to have us take part in the official student challenge through Two Writing Teachers, (a goal for next year) my students are writing daily in their marble notebooks or typing their entries into a google doc and sharing it with me. 16 out of 19 of my students are still “in” it. My students can’t wait to share their notebooks with me and are so excited, they asked if we can do it again in May. Of course there are the students that I KNEW would love this, however, I really feel the best thing about it is the students that actually surprised me.
There is one boy in my class in particular that is standing out. This boy, who I adore by the way, has ADHD and really struggles with attention and impulsiveness. He also has a learning disability which makes academics more of a challenge for him. He is a great kid who is respectful, kind, and really tries to do well. However, he has not always LOVED writing as it can be a struggle for him. He will usually try to do the bare minimum and rush through it, as he’s not super comfortable with it. However, this challenge has CHANGED him. He has that black and white marble notebook with him always. It’s out on his desk all day, it goes to and from school every night, and some days he writes more than one entry. Not only is he writing a ton, he is excited to SHARE his writing with me. This “challenge” has become a way for him to express himself and his feelings.
Today while reading his notebook, I actually teared up. A few of his entries was about his grandfather that was recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. He writes about his feelings about his grandfather and how scared he is that he is sick. He talks about things they do together and that he’s worried as he “doesn’t look good.” The one that really got me was when he wrote how excited he was that he didn’t get in “trouble” with the substitute the day I was out last week.
His entries are so personal and insightful, and I find myself so lucky that he wants to share his private thoughts with me. To see the smile on his face, and the excitement he has about writing is amazing. I truly feel that this “challenge” allowed him a safe place to express himself and to get out his feelings, and that to me is the biggest indicator that the decision to do this challenge with my kids was a huge success!