Today I prepped for our Slice of Life party. Anyone at our school that has completed the Slice of Life challenge (70+ kids!) will be invited to celebrate their accomplishments tomorrow at 2:00 in the gym.
I ordered their pizza, talked to the cake designer to make sure we got it "just right", and signed certificates. I picked up the cake tonight. It looks great. I can only assume tomorrow's party will be awesome. The kids will be excited to relax and enjoy having "slices" of pizza and cake with their friends who also participated.
To be honest, though, as I took care of my to-do list today, I also thought about how it wasn't enough...
Pizza and cake don't make it worth it. A certificate doesn't make a month of writing equal to accomplishment. Nope...it's much bigger than that.
The feeling they will have tomorrow after they write their last slice...that's what counts.
I hope they feel all the things I felt last year as a newbie, finished for the first time. It's a little different your second time around (I'll reflect on that tomorrow...). But, the feeling they will have at some time tomorrow will be invaluable.
Worth every second.
I hope they take time to really think about what they've done. Doing anything for 31 days is a challenge, but writing takes a different kind of perseverance. It's not like running or a sport or even playing an instrument. Most of those things you do in groups, or at least with one other person. But writing?
Writing is a solo act performed before a live audience every time.
Maybe that's what makes Slice of Life so hard. The fact that you have to sit down, stop what you're doing that day, and write (for me, alone) is a discipline that few have the stamina to finish, much less the courage to try. And then you have to share.
Share what I wrote when I felt uninspired, when I felt like my thoughts weren't worth sharing with my dog, much less my friends or Slice of Life readers??
Pressing publish everyday, confident or not, takes true dedication.
And that's what makes me so proud of my kids. If an adult feels pressure like that, can you imagine what a 6th grader feels? And yet, they have outperformed me so many days that it is embarrassing. Their writing shines in unique and beautiful ways. In truly honest ways that only 11 and 12 year olds are capable of...
I am so proud of them. A writing teacher can only inspire, really. Mechanics, conventions, spelling...it can all be taught, but true writing? That comes from within.
And these kids have got it. They are the real stars of the show. They are the true champions tomorrow.
I hope pizza and cake make it fun, but I hope the feeling they have tomorrow stays with them forever.
They can do anything they put their minds to. Absolutely anything.
Watch out, world. My sixth graders are coming!