Monday, March 20, 2017

Slice 21 of 31-#sol17: The third quarter laundry folding syndrome

This is the 10th year that Two Writing Teachers has hosted the Slice of Life Challenge. Thirty-one days of writing during the month of March, here we go!


I always look forward to March and the brackets that come along with it, and we watch a lot of basketball in my house. Here's what I've noticed about myself. I enjoy the beginnings of the games when players and teams vie for an early advantage, and I'm a pretty close watcher for the first half. During the third quarter, I tend to fold laundry, do the dishes, or take the dog out with a little less attention to the game. I love the ends, especially the close ones, but I even like the ends when it's not terribly close because I like to watch the celebrations.

I've made a connection to myself as a basketball game watcher and as a SOLSC participant. I started off strong with plenty to write, and it lasted for the first half of the month. This third quarter that we're now in gets a little tough for me. My posts feel a little flatter, a little less engaging. And then we hit the home stretch, the fourth quarter when the shots posts really matter. During the last week or so of the Challenge, I feel the pressure--and it's a good pressure--to write really well, to create meaningfully. 

And now I'm thinking about school and students. We're in the third quarter. The newness of the year is over. The end is still a distant horizon. Do you have students who are feeling as I've described? Do you hit a point in the year when learning feels flat? When it feels more like going through the motions than exciting and inspiring? In some ways, it's the most consistent stretch of learning we have throughout the year, but how do we keep the energy up for learning? What do you do?

I'd love to hear from you!

Happy Slicing!


  1. This post hit home for me in so many ways. I've been feeling like it's been getting harder to write lately where I'm the beginning I was going full steam ahead. Now it feels a little blah. Maybe I started off too strong?! And the same for my classroom. I'm having to do more lessons on expectations and such and I'm kind of stuck - not sure how to get the motivation back. I'm hoping our current writing unit (narrative fiction) get my littles going again. They're super excited!

  2. For me I expected my students to show a ton of growth in January like they usually do. For some reason it's now the 3rd quarter that is letting them really take off. For most, I agree we plateau, but not for everyone!

    As for basketball, I love the last 2 min of any game- anything can happen!

  3. I get it. Unfortunately at school, they did a week of practice testing. What a way to fight the blues...not! I hope when I get my kids back today they are ready to write again.

  4. I think the good thing about changing my mind last minute to slice is that it took all the pressure off. It has flown by this year -- I have not planned or pre-wrote many (just one "in-case" post). I do think the 4th quarter feeling "flat" is a real thing. Here in MA we go to school until the last week in June, but we begin talking about the end after April break. It is difficult to find energy when thinking about the end. Hmmm I look forward to hearing what others do in schools! Important questions

  5. I'm with you, all in for interest in the beginning and the end, the middle must be endured. There always seems to be that third quarter drop. My schools are now in the fourth quarter, so the finish line is close and they are trying to finish strong.

  6. I too started off strong and have had a few days of the what will I write about blues. And yes, I too hear teachers discussing the flat feeling this time of year - maybe due to the assessment overload of early March?
    We all need to rally to a strong fourth quarter!

  7. This post is so true! You have put my exact feelings into words! Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Keep going you can do it! !

  8. Being a both a basketball coach and junkie, I love the break down of school as a basketball game. I will say this, though, as a coach, I love to challenge my girls to come out in the third quarter and make a statement, to not let down after a strong first half. I'd done the same with my students, they had a strong first semester, and I wanted them to keep pushing that forward.

    Now, did it happen? Eh, for some yes, but for some no, but that's the first time I worked that basketball thought into my classroom. The girls on my team (and the boys as well) knew exactly what I was talking about. Now, fourth quarter starts on Monday and we'll start with a pep talk about how we've done well the first three quarters, but cannot let up now, this is were we finish the game out strong!

    Thank you for the great slice today! I'm all pumped up after reading it! :)

  9. Oh, I'm there, too. This is the time of year when I try out something new - we wrote fiction for the first time, did a quick graphic novels book club, and experimented with video slice of life. It helped get over the March blahs, too :)

  10. You are so not alone! What a brilliant comparison and reminder to dig deep into our reserves to make it to the last quarter.

  11. This is a brilliant analogy, Melanie. I'd never thought of it this way, but we are all dragging right now, hoping to make it to April vacation. When I was in the classroom, we worked on fun projects that brought our learning together in meaningful ways. Some classes still do this, but not all. I'm going to share your post and see what ideas people have. Thanks for getting me thinking!

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