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Deb’s One Little Word For 2016

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Has your One Little Word (OLW) for 2016 found you yet?  Finding my one little word was as daunting as naming our girls. My husband and I heard names everywhere. Some names stopped us for a minute. Could this be the name? Then minutes later, we dismissed it and continued our search. We browsed online names sites, baby books, and quizzed family members for names. Once we had decided on a name, we realized the name found us, and it felt right. We knew we could trust the name to suit our child now and as she grew into adulthood.

As I began searching for my one little word, I noticed the process was much the same. The one word you invite into your life matters. This one word will shape your perspective, guide your days, and your year. Like naming our children, my word found me.  I began to hear my word over and over again in my personal and professional life. It was starting to feel right. I tried it on for a few days; I searched for books, TedTalks and anything else to help me feel the fit of the word in my life. I guess you might say I searched with intention.

This week, each of us at the Two Writing Teachers will be revealing the word that found us this year, the word that will shape our perspective and guide our year.

We welcome you to join us. Please share your OLW in the comment section of any of our posts this week.

Intention

I am the one in the meeting asking, “Why?” Why are we doing this? Why is it important? My intention isn’t to be annoying, but I am aware it is sometimes annoying. My intention is to uncover the reason driving us. Knowing the purpose not only guides our thinking and our action, knowing the intention keeps us focused on what it is we want to accomplish.

My life professionally and personally are at a crossroads of sorts. My husband and I are about to be first-time empty nesters. This year both daughters will be living 10 hours or more away from home. Professionally, my first-grade team along with our reading intervention teacher and literacy coach are looking differently at how we can best serve the needs of our students. We are looking at our teaching and scheduling in ways new to us all. We are taking risks, trying on new hats, and doing our professional best to pave new paths in education.

When I reflect on the flux in my life, I waiver between pure joy of what’s to come and loss of what has been. Moving forward is scary when you have so dearly loved all that has been. Just writing this makes me pause.

Moving forward, I have never been the type to sit idle. I am a do-er. I move swiftly, and I move with purpose. I move and plan with intention.  It is the spirit of who I am that has moved my family and me to where we are today. My husband and I worked diligently to raise strong independent young women. Women who will create dreams and realize them. They are doing this and for this, we are proud, and we have no choice but to support them on their journeys.

As an educator, I am passionate. A teacher is not what I do; it is who I am. I can’t separate the two, (no matter how many times my daughters beg me). This inner fire for education connects me to blogs, twitter, and books seeking new perspectives, ideas, and clarity.

As educators, we are never finished. Every day opens new opportunities. As students and teachers learn something new, it’s our responsibility to respond. So in this exciting and terrifying time in education when the promise of restructuring education is omnipresent, I will keep my focus on the intention of the change and my belief statements, asking…

Is the change best for kids?

Is the change aligned with what I believe to best practice in education?

Are we moving and working intentionally?

In January of 2011, I wrote a post considering my belief statement~

 … my belief statements would might be are, I will always need more time to read, reflect and collaborate.  Debbie Miller clearly explains the power of belief statements in the classroom. “When teachers know where they are going they make explicit, intentional teaching decisions.”

  • Teachers have a powerful influence on how children feel about learning, their peers and school. 
  • Children perform best when they have a sense of ownership. 
  • Children need choice in their learning and time to practice new learning. 
  • Teachers work best with the support and encouragement of colleagues. 
  • Classrooms are most effective when they reflect the thinking of the children, are organized, positive and responsive to the student’s needs. 
  • A framework, which incorporates a gradual release of responsibility, is the most effective teaching model.
  • Ongoing assessment informs good teaching.
  • Learning is more powerful when it is authentic and extends outside of the classroom.

As I reread these statements, five years later I find these statements to hold true with only two minor changes (noted in cross outs and bold print)

This year I am seeking and moving forward with intention. Each day my acts will move toward the goal of doing what’s best for my adult children and my students.

 

Millika Chopra’s Ted Talk Speaks beautifully to the power of INTENTION-

 

 

 

41 thoughts on “Deb’s One Little Word For 2016 Leave a comment

  1. Deb, This piece tugs at my heart and I hope you are around with I become an empty nester and haven’t retired south. Having two more at home has made it a bit easier when our oldest went to school. I love how you push and question for purpose. So often, an idea or thought is shared and people do without stopping to think why. Intention is a perfect word personally and professionally.

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    • Oh, Mandy, I won’t be retiring south for YEARS! Two in college HOURS away is dipping into our retirement funds! I do predict more ice cream dates in our future… I am going to have many hours to fill.

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  2. So powerful! Your word! Your post!

    …And I got teary at this part…”My husband and I worked diligently to raise strong independent young women. Women who will create dreams and realize them. They are doing this and for this, we are proud, and we have no choice but to support them on their journeys.” Beautiful.

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  3. Embrace…
    *Reminds me of hugs
    * Embrace six decades 2.15.16 milestone date!
    *Embrace health and fitness
    *Embrace the unknown… Retire or not to retire!
    *Embrace every day!
    *”Embrace the struggle… Let It make you strong.” Quote on my phone!

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  4. Hi Deb! I just sat down to decide on and write about my one word for 2016. Your blog popped up in my feed! All your eloquent and passionate words resonated with me! I believe in many, if not all, of your beliefs. I love how you ask questions with intention! Our school is also going through similar shifts with reading intervention, new schedules, and new administration. I would love to connect with you hear more about “Professionally, my first-grade team along with our reading intervention teacher and literacy coach are looking differently at how we can best serve the needs of our students. We are looking at our teaching and scheduling in ways new to us all. We are taking risks, trying on new hats, and doing our professional best to pave new paths in education.” I also find it helpful to share success stories with the staff I work with. Best of luck in 2016! Happy New Year!

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  5. Great post with lots of room for thought about where the rest of us are going with our own OLW.
    I currently have a phrase and am working it down to a word. An interesting process for sure! Thanks – I love the line “Moving forward is scary when you have so dearly loved all that has been. Just writing this makes me pause” – it is were I have been for a few years – letting go, letting go –

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    • Thanks for stopping by to read and leave a comment! Listen is a powerful word. It was my word last year and I learned to listen for the meaning and the intention behind what was being said. Good luck, step back and let your word find you, just listen for it.

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  6. Loved this post, Deb. I enjoyed the way he weaved between story and content. Now that I have read your belief statements I am thinking our work is on the right path.

    I will be mindful of your intention in the weeks to come. ;0)

    Cathy

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  7. My olw for 2016 is “ignite.” I want to, as much as possible, ignite my learners’ passion for learning–for knowing more–for investigation–for reading on–for capturing a moment with words.

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  8. What a powerful, thoughtful post about your OLW! I love how you compared the process to choosing a child’s name. Clearly this word has already guided you and benefitted your family, your colleagues, and your students. With it in the forefront this year, I predict an amazing, powerful year!

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    • Predicting an amazing year…WOW! I hope your prediction holds true! It’s certainly filled with change, a change I may be guilty of designing.
      Thanks for sharing in the conversation!

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  9. My olw for 2016 is question. I find myself offering solutions- to my daughters, my husband, teachers, my students. For 2016, I want to question, like Chris Tovani says, “What do you need?” I hope that by questioning, I’ll help people find the answers they need, not just the suggestions I have handy.

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