blog series · One Little Word (OLW) · writing workshop

Finding New Opportunites and Joy: All It Takes Is A Slight Twist

It only takes is a slight twist to see a whole new world.
It only takes is a slight twist to see a whole new world.

The year is drawing to a close and many times recently I have found myself reflecting on my family, my teaching, and my one little word. Last year (see below) the word intention found me and all year I have worked to consider the intentions of family, my students, and the other adults in my life. Intention has been a great word to consider over the year.

This year presented my family and my teaching life with many changes, and each one took real focus for me. I had the opportunity to make a slight turn turning each into a change blessing or a change obstacle. The difference is in considering the intention.

Change Obstacle- My long time teaching soul sister and friend left my grade-level and my building.

Change Blessing- (And this one took FORCED positive intention seeking!) What a blessing for our district! Now this amazing educator, leader, and visionary guides the literacy coaches of our district! What an amazing gift for the kids, teachers and coaches!

Change Obstacle- Both my daughters were living ten hours or more away.

Change Blessing- Both my daughters had the opportunity to realize, experience, and grow from living out a dream!

Change Obstacle- My husband I have an abundance of time without kids.

Change Blessing- If we don’t want to cook, we don’t. We have uninterrupted conversations!

Change Obstacle- My husband I have an abundance of time without kids.

Change Blessing- Our home has undergone several updates!

Pausing to realize what is made possible by change or what the intentions of others might be has helped me and those around me to find new opportunities, perspectives, and joy!

This year’s new word swept me off my feet when I was least expecting it! I can’t wait to share and practice my OLW 2017!


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Last year’s One Little Word Post

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.



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.


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