Category Archives: OLW



#sol19- January 1, 2019

For the last few weeks, I have been seriously contemplating the word I would choose to guide me through 2019. I have been talking about it with friends, reading tweets and blog posts about already chosen words, and quite honestly, dithered. Yesterday being the last day of 2018 I carried my list around all day looking it over waiting for the choice to be clear. I had my list “narrowed down” to ten, but then another word came to mind that seemed to push its way forth to the top of the list. I then narrowed the list down to four and saw how that one word sort of encapsulated the other three. Thus, at midnight I chose “intentional” as my one little word for 2019.

2018 began and ended with loss- my cat died as the new year was just settling in and my great friend’s husband, a truly inspirational man, died on one of the closing days of 2018. Challenge was the right word for the year for so many reasons- I was tested in new ways- sometimes of my own choosing, other times by circumstances beyond my control.

Recently I took a foundational course in mindfulness (which was in my top four of choices for my olw) and in 2019 I am going to take the next level course designed for educators. This has helped me to start to live with more intention. I want to be more intentional in the choices I make both professionally and personally. I aim to align my beliefs and actions more carefully so that I live more sustainably (knowing that this word has many meanings- I want to make new choices environmentally and within my own systems to make changes I can sustain). I also want to work with students in ways that better reflect all of my intentions- as a teacher, I am always inquiring into ways to be a better teacher so I will continue my professional development (beginning with a literacy conference in Hong Kong at the end of the month).  I know that I am more intentional when I write more, so that is something I will prioritize- my notebook has been untouched for weeks. Personally, my time in Berlin has reminded me that I need to be more intentional with friendships. I tend to be a hermit and do not easily develop friendships, so I really have to focus on strengthening and valuing in all sorts of ways the friendships I do have (I am currently reading Text Me When You Get Home, a really interesting book about women and their friendships through time).

As you can see, this is a fairly random beginning list of the way that I think “intentional” will guide me in 2019, but as it is day one of the year I know there will be more connections ahead. I look forward to seeing what other people have chosen for their word and what my students will choose for theirs once school starts up again.



Zhi Hong (former student) still slicing.


My OLW for 2018!


#sol18- January 2, 2018

Just a side note to begin- I have always been in awe of those writers who draft before Tuesday evening. I always tell myself I will. In fact, especially during March, I should, yet it never happens-until now! This post was drafted December 29 because I am heading off an adventure to India in the morning and I am not taking my computer. So even though I am sick and there are 101 things I could be/should be doing I am proud that I am making writing a priority (and I am definitely packing my notebook for some on the road writing!). How I will post the link to the TWT site remains to be seen.

With a lot of contemplation, I have decided that my word for 2018 will be challenge! I was actually convinced it might be another word until I looked that word up in the dictionary- a valuable lesson learned- my understanding of a word may not always be standard! defines challenge as:

1. a call or summons to engage in any contest, as of skill, strength, etc.
2. something that by its nature or character serves as a call to battle, contest, special effort, etc.:

Space exploration offers a challenge to humankind.
3. a call to fight, as a battle, a duel, etc.
4. a demand to explain, justify, etc.:

a challenge to the treasurer to itemize expenditures.
5. difficulty in a job or undertaking that is stimulating to one engaged in it.
6. Military. the demand of a sentry for identification or a countersign.
7. Law. a formal objection to the qualifications of a particular juror, to his or her serving, or to the legality of an entire jury.

8. the assertion that a vote is invalid or that a voter is not legally qualified.
9. Biology. the process of inducing or assessing physiological or immunological activity by exposing an organism to a specific substance.
10. Hunting. the crying of a hound on finding a scent.
verb (used with object)challenged, challenging.
11. to summon to a contest of skill, strength, etc.
12. to take exception to; call in question:

to challenge the wisdom of a procedure.
13. to demand as something due or rightful.
14. Military. to halt and demand identification or countersign from.
15. Law. to take formal exception to (a juror or jury).
16. to have a claim to; invite; arouse; stimulate:

a matter which challenges attention.
17. to assert that (a vote) is invalid.
18. to assert that (a voter) is not qualified to vote.
19. to expose an organism to a specific substance in order to assess its physiological or immunological activity.
20. Archaic. to lay claim to.
verb (used without object)challenged, challenging.
21. to make or issue a challenge.
22. Hunting. (of hounds) to cry or give tongue on picking up the scent.
23. donated or given by a private, corporate, or government benefactor on condition that the recipient raise an additional specified amount from the public:

a challenge grant.
My hope in choosing challenge is that it will remind me to live by what I believe- to keep it real. I think it is important to continue to better align my beliefs and my practices. I know it will be a challenge to move to a new school this summer and that traditional wisdom holds that the first year is for observing, but…
I want to challenge myself to seek out opportunities to be involved in the community (both the school community and beyond). I want to challenge myself to contribute as a teammate and a member of the leadership team. I want to challenge myself to keep growing as a learner to be a better teacher. I want to challenge the status quo- because we always have done it that way is not enough of a reason to continue that way. I want to challenge myself to keep the why in mind. I want to challenge myself to be more reflective and purposeful.
Beyond the professional, I want to challenge myself to be a better friend. I am an introvert and need to work on looking outside myself more often. I want to challenge myself to try new things. Travel often challenges me- and I definitely want to do more of that in 2018. I also want to challenge myself to have more of a life beyond school.
Challenge can be thought of a something difficult, but I am looking at it more broadly. I will keep coming back to these different definitions. Challenge has so many facets.
I am sure that in the coming days and weeks I will think of even more ways that I can use challenge to help mentor me this year.