Day 2: 8:07

I was overwhelmed by the first day of slicing. I guess I had forgotten the size, scope, and intensity of it. Like a wave of warmth. The connectedness of it lifts me to an unexpected place. Thank you. I’m glad I’m here for today and the next 29 days.

Days. They travel at such speed it’s hard to hold on to pieces. Days, weeks, months, start to blend. The explicitness of a day gets lost. Blogging has pushed me to focus on a moment in time. To reflect on the good and bad to see what was and what could be. But so much happens in a day. What am I missing by just focusing on the obvious?

For this month of slicing, I thought I’d take a look at each piece of a day. Systematically. Chronologically. Honoring each part. Beginning to end.

8:07. Every day the fifth grade starts with PE. Sound deadly? Many of the chronic note carriers would agree. As do the few students who take on a pronounced limp or foot drag once they find out it’s their turn to run the mile. That’s my group. And I love the mile.

“Which squads do you have Mrs. Harmatz?” is Jose’s* greeting.
I can’t tell if he wanted a yes or a no. “Why are you wondering?” I ask.
“I’m sore. Had a game last night.”
“Best thing for sore legs is to use them. You don’t have to go fast, just move.”
He rolls his eyes. Maybe, I’ve said this before.

We walk to the start.

“Line up guys.”

They know the drill.
They know their competition,
their running partners.
They jostle for the first position.
Warm up.
Stretch.
On the line, two by two.
A loner, head down, at the back, shuffles forward.
And they’re off
seconds apart
for seven-and-a-half laps.

Lizzy* takes the lead. Confident. Gazelle-like, she makes it look easy.  Rachel* is behind, running hard. The gap is big. Liz has taken a risk. And I worry. Rachel doesn’t lose.

A Disclaimer: Lizzie is my girl. My student. She’s a star soccer player and struggling striving reader. She works hard. Always. I love that she is an athlete and that here she outshines all the kids who outscore her in the classroom. I want her to win.

With each lap, Rachel gets closer.

Around the last bend, 200 yards to go, Rachel closes.
Closer, closer.
In the end, Lizzy holds her off and wins. Graciously. Beautifully.
Rachel is tremendous. Smart. Athletic. Total package.
But Lizzy won. And I cheer, silently.

They walk off. Breathing hard. As the rest of the class keeps going. Most with two laps to go.

Soon, all have finished, except Danny*.
He jogs by saying, “One lap to go.”
If he had stopped, I wouldn’t have questioned him.
But he knows he’s not done, and he keeps going.
Dante* sees this and runs alongside, pacing his last lap. Making sure he gets there accompanied.

I love the mile. The distance allows students an opportunity that isn’t always apparent in the classroom. It’s tangible. Measurable. It gives the unexpected to shine, support, and grow.

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I am thankful for the power of the slicing community.  What a gift it is to participate in this writing fest. Thank you, Two Writing Teachers for the March Daily Challenge. Read more slicers, here.