Celebrate: My OLW, Wonder


celebrate link up

Happy Saturday! Link up with Ruth Ayers and Celebrate this Week. Read other celebrations here.

My one little word. It was something I just had to pick. There were lots of things that might have worked. Wonderful words. But I had to pick this one:


And I waited for it. To guide me, to shine a light on the answer.  I kept looking, but it didn’t show up. Life went on.  No magic.

I felt a bit sad about my OLW. Felt I had let it down. I hadn’t lived up to the potential of it. Perhaps I hadn’t been looking hard enough.

But sometimes things don’t shout.  They sneak up on you.

Last week, wonder, made it’s presence known. I was preparing a presentation for NCTE. (Whoa! Me on a panel at NCTE. That right there is a a wonder!) Listening to student interviews on read aloud work, it dawned on me that all of this would not exist if I had not taken a bit of a risk and wondered, what if?


What if I respond to a blog? Or what if I write a blog? What if I open up to asking students open-ended questions that might not end up being what I want to hear.  What if…


I had not realized how tricky wonder can be. At first glance it’s all shiny and full of possibility. But if you really look, there is a dark underbelly images. What if I don’t see what I want?  The outcomes might be something I’d rather not face. Wonder was and continues to be a little scary, but at the same time exhilarating.

When a student says something that challenges a practice that I hold dear into question, it doesn’t feel so good. I want to discount it, say it ain’t so. Maybe if I ask it in another way? Maybe he didn’t understand the question. But I stop and remind myself, I  got what I asked for, the truth; a not-what-the-teacher-wants response. I have to celebrate that, even if, especially if, closely held beliefs are questioned. Next steps need to be taken:  find out why. That is the power and potential danger of wonder.

I realized all this year I have been living in that space of wonder. Of what if I try this, what if I ask that, what if I put it out there. This has been the wonder effect in my year.

Wonder has thrown a light on my teaching that pushes me to inquiry at many junctures. I have adopted a help-me-figure-this-out teaching stance. Why? What? When? How? By looking a these questions with my students as co researchers, we reflect and refine. By co-authoring the work, we grow together.

Wonder has been there all along. And while it may not continue to be my official OLW in 2015 it will continue to guide me.

I can’t believe 2014 is almost over and NCTE is next week!  Hope I get to see some of you there!

10 thoughts on “Celebrate: My OLW, Wonder

  1. I’m planning on attending the session you’re in on…looks great! Hopefully I’ll get a chance to chat with you for a second. Good luck!

  2. That’s always what happens with me and my OLWs!!!! They change me in ways I hadn’t planned. That’s the best part. I CAN’T WAIT to meet you at NCTE!!! I bookmarked your presentation. You will be AWESOME!!! (I’m volunteering at registration too. Maybe I’ll see you there.) Can’t wait to chat IRL!!!

  3. I know I’m going to be sad to see so many of you tweeting and talking about NCTE, & me not there, but I’m excited for you all. Congratulations on presenting, Julieanne. That’s wonderful! I love your meandering today about your OLW, but especially “What if, why not, let’s go.” I plan to use it this week with students-love the intention of it!

  4. So true about a OLW! And I am thankful for your nudge to stop and look at mine. Congrats on your presenting. I’m starting to wish I had signed up for NCTE, but will love reading the tweets.

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