Skip to main content

One Little Word to One Little Thing

I have been somewhat obsessed lately with the One LittleWord movement created by Ali Edwards. Ali urges us to choose one little word to guide our life ahead in the coming year: a word to live with, to invite into our lives, to speak to us and follow where it leads. I’ve chosen one little words in the past, but it never went much further than that. I often forgot about my word less than a month into the new year and with it, forget the power it can hold. Until now.

I blogged about my one little word for work last week: design. In 2020, I want to intentionally design the kind of year, month and days I want to have with a careful balance of the things I have to do with the things I want to do. My one little word for my personal life is: love. I want to better connect with those around me, disconnect a bit more from devices and aimless scrolling and treasure the time that I have with loved one.

So many of you have shared your own one little words on social media, but if you have not yet tried it, I urge you to have a go. Here’s how:

Take a few moments and think about what you want for yourself in the year ahead. You might start by thinking about your personal life, your work life or both. Write a list of possibilities in your notebook or on a sticky note. Sit them with them for a while. Marinate on how they make you feel. If you need some help, you might take My Intent’s Project word finderquiz to help generate some possibilities. And if you still can’t decide, you might ask loved ones around you what word they would choose for you.

Once you have your chosen word, it’s time to make it visible. Gather some crafty supplies and represent your word in a tangible form. I recently met with a group of literacy specialists and we started the day creating our own one little words. We were a bit hesitant at first, but once I broke out the box of supplies, we had a wonderful time representing our words and sharing them with others.

And now, the important part: posting your word in a visible space so you are reminded of it everyday. Thanks to a recommendation from a colleague, my one little word is front and center right next to my coffee maker. This ensures that it is the first thing I see each morning. Others have posted them on their bathroom walls next to their mirror, on the wall by the door so they see it each time they leave the house and even in their car so they are reminded during their commute to work. The place you choose will be unique to you and how your life works. You might even decide to create your one little word digitally. This way, you can post it as your screensaver on your computer to be reminded of it multiple times throughout your day.

This year, I am taking my one little word one step further and adding ‘one little thing’ to my day. This one little thing will be a small, but concrete, action that will bring my day in better alignment with my one little word. I’ve purchased a miniature notebook with enough pages to last me the whole year and each night, I jot down one little thing I did or felt that brought me closer to my one little word. I love how it helps me become more intentional about my daily actions. You might also purchase or print out a monthly calendar for the same purpose and jot down your one little thing in each of the daily boxes. I’ve created this printable calendar for you to personalize just for this purpose, if you’re interested.  And if you prefer to plan for those daily actions in the morning, rather than celebrate them in the evening, the notebook and/or calendar can serve as a springboard for those daily actions too!

So, what’s your own little word? If you have one, I’d love if you would share it in the comments and if not, choose one and come back when you do!


Popular posts from this blog

An Instructional Coaching Toolkit!

I have a thing for notebooks. And colorful markers. And sticky notes. I use them in all aspects of my literacy teaching and coaching. During coaching conversations, I often find myself providing on-the-spot demonstrations with these tools. I might engage teachers in a brief lesson on phonemic awareness and ask them to sort sounds. I might walk teachers through word building activities so they experience a new way of engaging students. I might introduce books to teachers to model how they might do the same for their students. I might even create game boards on sticky notes as visuals for teachers to support instructional planning. These demonstrations and notes act as instant and tangible tools to further teacher learning.
Over the years, I’ve compiled these artifacts to create coaching toolkits for the teachers I work with. My toolkit for ‘word work’ might include a picture of an anchor chart created with students, a list of words appropriate to the alphabetic feature students are wor…

Focus on Coaching Cycles

At this point in the school year, many of us are deep into our classroom coaching and engaging in coaching cycles with teachers. Just as coaching can look unique from building to building, our coaching cycles are often unique to our coaching context, our purpose for partnering and the goals and needs of each individual teacher: 1:1 coaching cycles, small group coaching cycles, student-centered coaching cycles and more. Each cycle typically has a pre-coaching conversation, classroom coaching/co-teaching/observation and then follow-up conversations as well.You can find theforms and templates I tend to use for classroom coaching here.
For me, my coaching cycles right now are in the context of my graduate education courses. Each week, I engage in a single coaching cycle with each of my students: lesson planning, observing lessons and coaching conversations. We repeat this for ten weeks of the course and the focus of our cycles shift and change over time. We also meet for small-group coac…

Leading By Learning

This summer, I vowed to be intentional in how I spent my time so that when the new school year arrived, I would feel refreshed and renewed. Admittedly, the summer seemed to fly by, but I did carve out time for my own professional learning. I read every day, I wrote in my notebook (almost) daily, tried my hand at gardening, spent time with my kids and just tried to get better at being me. Some days, I killed it. And other days, well….you know. So, as I head into another school year, I know that I need to be incredibly intentional in how I spend my time and ensure that I focus on my own learning as an educator. It is this learning that fuels my work: it lifts my reading spirits, fuels my writing heart and reminds me that leading the learning of others requires that I remain a continual learner myself.
It is this core belief that drives my teaching, coaching and leading this year. I am even more committed to my own professional learning to fuel my work and lead by example. I have purpose…