Celebrate: One Little Word

This week I celebrate my One Little Words for the past few years. Each one has opened me up to opportunity and change.

I didn’t set goals or make plans. No check in points. I didn’t measure the impact scientifically. My words set a tone. They create a lens. A way to see the world.

Need and discovery triggered each word.


You know when you read a book and think, This is what I’ve been thinking but couldn’t put into words!

That’s what happened when I read What Readers Really Do by Dorothy Barnhouse and Vicki Vinton.  Little did I know that read would lead to personal and professional relationships with the authors and educators like Fran McVeigh, Allison Jackson, Ryan Scala, Mary Lee Hahn and Steve Peterson. My life as a teacher changed. Completely. The power of wonder continues to fuel my passion for education, reading,  writing and my OLWs.


 If I learned anything in my year of wonder, it was that talking at them resulted in the less. Listening could find so much more.

I found it essential to avoid listening for the answer. I needed to listen for the genesis of the answer or why that answer made sense to that student. To be able to listen with a better hear for student thinking, I found my OLW for this year.


To hear and see a person for all they have to offer, I need to admire who they are; what they bring to their work and the world. Katherine Bomer introduced me to this idea years ago during a TCRWP’s Summer Institute. It was a model. A how to admire a child’s writing.  I’ve carried this with me, and this year I need to highlight it.

Gravity Goldberg’s new book Mindsets and Moves couldn’t have come at a better time. In it, Gravity develops the concept of admiration as a way to view our students and ourselves through a lens of possible.

When we focus on possibilty instead of limitations, we have space to be who we are and move toward who we want to become as readers and as people. When we let an admiring tone settle in to our every moment, students feel safe enough to risk-take with thier ideas about books and life.

2016 offers promise and challenge. With the start of the year, I bring wonder and listen forward as I look to admire those around me.

Admiration brings possibility that our expectations can bury. Rather than look at how we haven’t, this year I want to consider what we have and stand on the shoulders of the possible. I enter 2016 with admiration for my students, my friends, my family, and myself.

  •  wonder
  • What if…
  • let go
  • and answers appear
  • listen
  • say less
  • take in
  • and words adjust
  • admire
  • the shiny gem
  • a promise for
  • the learner and me.

Celebrate This Week with others at Ruth Ayers blog Discover, Play, Build.

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