Tuesday, December 30, 2014

SoL #OLW reflection 12.30.14


Slice of Life is a weekly event hosted by Two Writing Teachers.

Remember way back at the beginning of 2014, when many people posted about their One Little Word?  My word was encourage.  Somehow between January and now, I had forgotten what I meant by that word.  Somehow, 11 months passed, and I'm looking back on what I wrote, and I'm astounded by how much my one little word happened.  


Almost 12 months ago I wrote:

And somewhere, in all of this, we forgot what we're doing.  Loving reading.  It's our job to do that.  To show kids how to love reading.  To help them understand what type of reader they are.  To share books.  To love books. 

* I know my love of reading increased ten-fold this past year with the help of my Twitter friends.  I read the books that were good, great and amazing.  And every time I fell in love with a book I talked about it.  With friends, with colleagues and most importantly, with students. 
* I encouraged everyone at school by making reading visible.  I posted what I was reading and helped make students more aware of awards, like the Geisel Award and reading them to the kids. We hosted a book party where staff got to interact with new books and had time to go through them. 
* We skyped with authors. 
* Every grade level at our school had the opportunity to participate in Mock Awards:  Geisel, Newbery and Caldecott.
* We talked about Lines That Stick to Me and staff and students collected them.
* I brought in stacks and stacks of my personal books to school.  Some were donated to my school library but most went into the hands of my reading students.  Most of my students don't know who they are as a reader.  Most don't have a place to go to find books.  Most don't know what they want to read.  Our reading team has worked really hard at helping our students find books, read and finish them, be excited about them and want to come back for more.  I don't want to be their only source, but I'm happy to help them on their way.
* We have talked a lot as a staff about reading.  We know it is important to have our students be readers, but so many of our teachers have lost their reading life.  It's really easy to do that when life gets in the way.  I've worked on encouraging them to regain some of that life back.  Not everyone is willing to try.  Not everyone is able to get back into it.  I continue to encourage all to become readers and I'm always happy to give a recommendation.  I love the conversations I've had with colleagues about what they've read.  I'm encouraged by our progress.
* I've taken a lot of steps this year to learn all that I can and think about what I need to do to encourage the readers I work with.  This past year I went to Anderson's Children's Literature Breakfast, NerdCamp in Michigan and NCTE.  I have daily conversations with my PLN and learn from them everyday.  I thank them for the energy and renewal they give my reading life.

As 2014 went on, I began to think encourage meant working with others.  Encouraging them.  I learned a huge lesson there.  It's not about encouraging others to be where I want them to be or to be where I think they should be.  It means meeting people where they are at.  Moving forward together.  This is a lesson that is hard for me.  I'll encourage myself to work on it in 2015.

2014 has been a transformative year for me.  Looking back, it has been enlightening to see how far not only I've come, but the people around me, have journeyed. It was a good year.  I'm encouraged for what's to come in 2015.


  1. I love how you found your word in your work! What a great choice!

  2. What an amazing year you had, Michelle! What you wrote about teachers losing their reading lives really struck me. It is so true! I am trying to reclaim mine. Are you going to the Anderson breakfast again this year? I was thinking about it...

    Sweet Writing

    Mrs. Laffin's

  3. How creative! I never thought about searching for my OLW within my blog posts. Happy New Year and thanks for sharing.

  4. What a great reflection and a great word for you. I agree you don't purposefully pursue that OLW it just sets the tone for what matters maybe. Thank you for reminding me of the simple enthusiasm that comes out when we love a book. Love this: "It's not about encouraging others to be where I want them to be or to be where I think they should be. It means meeting people where they are at" That is huge!

  5. I am glad that encourage ended up being a powerful OLW for you in 2014. I like that you had very specific links to professional growth based on your word.

  6. You are such the encourager! So many times I can feel your words of encouragement through your posts and tweets. Moving forward together is such an important lesson and sometimes one in which we forget. Thank you for encouraging me and being a part of my PLN. Reaching out (my OLW) led me to getting to know you and I am very thankful for that. Now we just need to meet in person in 2015!

  7. What a great choice. You achieved so much!

  8. "It's not about encouraging others to be where I want them to be or to be where I think they should be. It means meeting people where they are at. Moving forward together."
    So true - there is a patience that is necessary in order to encourage, right? Thanks for sharing and Happy New Year.