This morning marked three days since I had been with my students. Friday was a PD day for teachers, so students had the day off, along with the weekend. This had me fretting about my slicers. We had only been slicing for three days  before I sent them off to maintain the momentum for three more days. I knew this would be a tall order for some, and not for others.

So, this morning, when I asked who had sliced, I received mixed responses. Some popped up to get their notebooks. “I sliced every day,” exclaimed one of my students. “Ohhh.” groaned another, “I forgot.” “Me, too,” commiserated a friend.

“Okay, okay. Not to worry,” I reasured them. I was prepared. Some of the students who accepted the challenge are inconsistent about writing outside of school. I was thrilled that they committed to write every day! I want them to succeed.

“Let me tell you about the grown-up challenge,” I told them. “We had until March 5th to sign up and still qualify for prizes, so if you missed the weekend, you’re going to be okay.” “Whew!” exhaled one child.

Of my 15 students who are slicing, seven students wrote on all three days. That seemed like a pretty good ratio. I want to get all of them to March 31st though. Yes, for some, the celebration lunch and prizes are a big motivator, but for all of them, I know that the strong muscle they are building by writing more will be the biggest of prizes. I want them to get to March 31st and be proud of what they’ve accomplished. I’ve already decided that if students only manage to slice every day that we are in school, we will still have a lot to celebrate, and I will find every way to honor and applaud their accomplishments.

The slice of my new writer friend, Dana Kramaroff, comes to mind as I wrap up my thoughts. Just yesterday, she sliced about missing a day of commenting, and recognizing that there are prizes beyond the official prizes. My students and I will also seek that space and recognize the prizes that come with the writing we do accomplish.

Maybe it was Dana’s words that were with me when I heard some students groan, thinking they had failed. Not so. Dana, we will also acknowledge the rewards of this challenge, AND, like you, there will be some pretty pens and notebooks to mark our efforts and celebrate our writer status, even if we falter a bit along the way.