Choice and Voice

“What do you think you’ll do with your WOTD choice?”#DWHABIT  I asked the table of four.

“Tsunami. It’s like an overflow.”  Lucas whispered.

“I thought of an overflow of people.”  Kevin shared.  “Yeah, an overflow of people.”

The strong waves crash onto a beautiful beach and then the waves STOP. You DON’T want to know what come NEXT.

William chimed in.

Ben who had been listening to the boys looked at me.  I could tell he wanted to share his thinking so I invited him into the conversation.  “What did you think, Ben?”

He hesitated, and said, “Someone who just moved, the house is overflowing with boxes.”

The new family on the street and everyone is watching and no one knows the secret.


Lucas, Kevin and William paused and then nodded in their heads in agreement.  It was clear that Ben’s thought about the word OVERFLOW had opened their minds to a new perspective.

I stood up to leave the table of four I simply said, “It’s so cool that one word brought unique thinking to each one of you.  I can’t wait to see what you sketch and write.”

I made my way over to Jayne, who according to my journal page turned Status of the Class had chosen the new invitation for Journal Soft Start –  Slice of Life.img_1388

Only 10 minutes earlier were we sitting on the rug together.  I had explained that a Slice of Life is simply that, writing about a tiny, short moment in life.  I shared my blog post – The Phone Rang.  After I read, I shared that writing a slice sometimes can mean slowing the writing down to capture conversation, description and feeling.  One by one the writers voiced their choice.

“Jayne, what’s your Slice of Life about?”  I leaned in and whispered.

“When my brother got his finger stuck in the car door.”

“Oh, did that happen recently?”

“No.”  She paused and thought.  “I think it happened when we were, maybe, 4.”

“Oh, so you are capturing a slice from your past.  That’s pretty cool.”  I walked away leaving her to write as much as she could.

Before we knew it, Jess, the classroom teacher, eyed me from across the room and we both sighed.  Our time was up.  Science was calling and I had a Reader’s Workshop date with a class of first graders.  I quickly jumped around the room and snapped a few pictures of writing and sketches with writing and headed out the door.

It wasn’t till the end of the day that I finally opened my pictures and read Jayne’s slice.  For a first go at SOL, I’d say she nailed it.


One day when we were 4, my brother and i were in the car and my parents were still inside.  We had automatic dors and my brother was playing around with the doors. “I wouldent do that if I were you.” I said.  I turn my head for a second and all of a sudden OW!  I turn back and see my brothers finger stuck in the car door!  My parents came running out of the door.  “Wow”  I think to myself, my parents could hear that scream all the way from inside!  All of sudden I start crying.  It’s like I can feel his emotions and his pain!  “Wow”  I think to myself, i’ve never had this super power before.  I think it’s called TWIN POWER!”

Simple structures and routines can invite writers to share their thinking and stories in unique ways.  Simple invitations such as Word of the Day, Slice of Life, and copying an art card to find ideas, open doors for writers.  When we open doors for writers, we are more likely to hear their voices.


7 thoughts on “Choice and Voice”

  1. I wrote about seeing them. You wrote about hearing them. As long as we aren’t smelling them… I think we’re good. All kidding aside, I love these opportunities you carve out with kids and that you share with all of us. It’s clear what you value- and why that’s important for kids. Thanks for sharing your Slice and J’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You have me thinking about invitations. How are we inviting children into the writing process, the writing experience, in our every day writing work? I think it’s maybe all about inviting…Thanks for inviting me to be part of your writing and teaching and thinking life.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am struck again by the power of simplicity and conversation; the kids’ ideas get a breath and live, because you validated their ideas and gave them room to grow. Well-done!


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