Teachers for Teachers | Slice of Life: It’s All About the Process
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Slice of Life: It’s All About the Process


We need to empty the car so you need to play with Ryan.

Play what?

I don’t know. He is in his bouncy chair. Why don’t you read to him?

Can you open the cabinet?


I want to get a book.



I put down the suitcase to open the cabinet for him.


Can I use this book?

Sure. Sure. Any book is fine.

I reply without even glancing in his direction.


We finished emptying the car, started the laundry and even began to do some yard work.


Where are the boys? Chris asked.

They are playing. I asked Jack to play with Ryan.

It has been really quiet.

Come to think of it, it has been really quiet… for a really long time.


We make our way inside to find them. We hear Ryan shrieking with laughter and Jack making all kinds of noises. We turn the corner to see Ryan covered from head to toe with stickers! Playing and reading may have been confused a bit but, to this day, we cannot return home from a vacation without retelling the story of the stickers!

I love sharing this story with students. It is not about a fancy trip or a glorious win. It is just a moment I remember. I often use the photograph I have to show writers how a picture can be used to find a writing territory. I also show how this territory is related to a strong feeling – laughter. Writers often use pictures and strong feelings to find stories that are important to them. As teachers, it is important that we write not just to have a product to model with, but also to experience the process and share our process with our students. Slice of Life is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the process of our writing. Fran‘s “Peak in to Process” this month has inspired me to think about and document how each slice “came to be” for me this March.  I look forward to sharing the story of my writing and how it came to be with students.


How did I find the topic?

What structures did I consider?

Why did I settle on this structure?

What was my purpose?

What was I really trying to say?

Did I have a mentor text?

Did I try any craft moves?

What feeling did I want my reader to end with?

How do I edit?

What did I learn from the response I received?

When we experience the process we can truly explain and model how we write. It is the thinking behind our writing that gives our lessons the depth and specificity our writers need.


Thank you to StaceyTaraDanaBetsyAnnaBeth, Kathleen, and Deb for this space for us to share our stories each day in March.  Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts and consider joining this community.

  • Avatar
    Jodi Mahoney
    Posted at 10:39h, 10 March Reply

    This is a lovely metacognitive slice. I love the last few lines about experiencing the process of writing and how that informs our work.

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    Kathleen Sokolowski
    Posted at 10:42h, 10 March Reply

    The stickers! So cute. This is a great story to share with students for all the reasons you described! Love thinking about the process.

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    Jennifer Laffin
    Posted at 11:14h, 10 March Reply

    Such an important reason why writing teachers need to write too! Students need to see our processes, but we also need to understand the reasons why we make the writing moves we do.

    BTW — I wanted to tell you that I shared your post from the other day about living your words with a colleague of mine. We had quite the beautiful discussion about it and what words we would want to describe ourselves. Your post has lived with me this week.

    • Avatar
      Clare and Tammy
      Posted at 11:18h, 10 March Reply

      Thank you — I am glad it resonated. As I process the experience of my mom and all the feelings I am looking to find the bright side to all of it. It helps to hear others might connect as well. So much is “living with me” right now. I love those words “living with me”–thank you for sharing your experience with me.

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    Lynne Dorfman
    Posted at 11:58h, 10 March Reply

    Love the photo – every picture tells a story! A great way to write a memory – use a photograph! Yes, I have been struck by Frannie’s explanation of her writing process, too. It is a great reflection for writers of all ages. Think about how you created this….. If we slow down to do this, our successes can be repeated again, and some of the things that didn’t work for us can be reconsidered – perhaps a new twist, or perhaps put on the back burner for now. Your questions – I just did something like this with third graders and had them turn and talk, then contribute questions about their process. We charted the questions to make our thinking visible and to use them as we begin our next piece of writing. Thinking about our own thiking has tremendous value. Thanks for sharing, Clare!

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    Posted at 13:12h, 10 March Reply

    I love this! I was thinking “stickers” from a “sticker bush” – not adhesive backed stickers.

    I can’t wait to see your post about your writing process! It will be filled with such wisdom!

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    Karen Szymusiak
    Posted at 19:51h, 10 March Reply

    I loved your post today. It’s such a good reminder to think about the process of writing. I need to look back at my own slices and think about where they came from and what inspired me. I rarely write from a picture. I may need to try that soon.

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    Posted at 19:58h, 10 March Reply

    “It is the thinking behind our writing that gives our lessons the depth and specificity our writers need.” So true. Reflection is an important part of any lesson, and I think it’s important for us to model that with our students. Students need to understand their process, because what works for one may not work for everyone. Thanks for a great post and an equally great picture!

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    Linda Baie
    Posted at 22:38h, 10 March Reply

    So, so fun, Clare. Whatever works is a good thing, I guess. I like that you are taking each piece and planning how to use it as a mentor text for some particular lesson. Nice to hear “As teachers, it is important that we write not just to have a product to model with, but also to experience the process and share our process with our students.”

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    Posted at 00:03h, 11 March Reply

    I loved the way you turned the slice into such an effective writing lesson. Well done.

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