Last week, ten students came to lunch to learn about the Slice of Life Challenge. Today, fifteen students came to start the challenge! We gathered around a table with our lunches. “You can share a chair with me,” offered one student. “Come sit next to me,” said another. “I’ll sit next to you, Mrs. Eckstein!” exclaimed a new-to-this-week’s-group child.

So began our writing challenge.

We talked about what we could write. We talked about giving good comments. We talked about when to write. We partnered up! We took pictures!

As I looked around the room at the smiles and felt the energy of the space, I was overwhelmed by the sense of support I felt! These students were excited to participate in the March writing challenge for all sorts of reasons, some motivated more by the writing, and some were more influenced by being able to come to lunch once a week and be part of the group.

I could relate! I want to get to March 31st and be able to say, “I did it! I wrote and shared every day.” But, I know I wouldn’t have chosen to participate in this challenge were it not for my #EDtime2wrt and TWT colleagues. The virtual connection of TWT has had a tremendous impact on me, so I was wholly unprepared for the visceral reaction that overcame me, as I sat and listened to the banter of my students; it was deep sense of belonging. I know that my students are influenced by my example, but I am over-the-moon ecstatic that I will be sharing this writing experience with the writers I spend each day with.

I have been given the title of “teacher” yet, as I took in the energy of the group, I knew that we had just forged a learning bond that would grow each of us as writers, and all I could think was, “I am so glad you are all doing this with me!” It was a warm and wonderful feeling.