Tuesday, January 14, 2014

OLW--One Little Word

It's that time of year again~a time for resolutions.  *heavy sigh*  I've lost almost all hope in creating a New Year resolution because about two weeks after I vow to do something, life gets in the way and there is no way I can [insert any resolution here].  So, the last couple of years, I've resolved to make no resolutions and, frankly, it's worked out quite well.

This year, I heard a short snippet on the Today Show or GMA about a one word resolution.  I didn't think too much about it, but my good friend Holly mentioned it at brunch a couple of weeks ago.  She called it an "OLW".  The basic idea was conceived byAli Edwards (I think!).  Basically, you choose a word that you want to work towards, define you, strive to reach, etc.  Holly said her word was one she chose at the beginning of the school year--JOURNEY.  I thought that was a great idea, as she and I are on a HUGE journey of writing a book together and writing monthly articles for a website, and working full time and raising families.  We're certainly journeying.  

The idea stuck for me.  I couldn't quite shake it.  So, I threw in the towel and decided, What the heck?, I'll make a OLW.  I thought for about two seconds and came up with the word PEACEFULNESS.  Recently, I've been running around like a mad woman.  I have to write, I have to plan, I have to grade, I have to make dinner, I have to read, I have to drop off and pick up, I have exercise, I have to sleep (a little), yadda, yadda, yadda.  I was feeling disquieted.  And there my OLW was born.  I want some peace in 2014.  I know it's a long shot, but…I can strive all year for it, right?  I decided to start small--things like "pack your lunch the night before"and "pack your daughter's clothes for the sitter in the bag the night before" ran through my brain.  And you know what?  I've been doing it!  And you know what else?  It works!  Epiphany!  Take five minutes to organize yourself and you'll feel much less stressed the next day.  Well, this OLW thing could work out for me after all.

In fact, I liked the idea so much, that I decided to work on OLWs with my fifth graders.  Once the polar vortex lightened its grasp and we could return to school, the first day's lesson was on One Little Word.  Except, you can't just say "Okay, kids, come up with one little word for the year."  Instead, I took this approach:
1. The kids created three goals they had for 2014.  I shared mine (finishing writing the book with Holly, reading and writing more for myself, and to not feel so rushed all of the time).  

2. Once the goals were written, I had the kids look at mine and try to quantify them into one word.  It was hard!  I started them off with peacefulness.  You can see the other words they came up with.  I thought all of the words could work for an OLW resolution/commitment.

3. Next, they did the same thing for their goals and shared their words with a partner.

4.  They then selected ONE WORD to define their year.  I chose peacefulness, of course.  I went on to explain that my goals/resolutions might change throughout the year, but my word would remain the same.  Whatever, my goals, I should strive to achieve PEACEFULNESS.

5. They chose a word and wrote it on an index card.  On the other side of the card, they wrote their three goals.  Then, we went around the room and shared our OLWs.  Here's the list (check out that vocabulary!!):

We each selected a special spot for our OLW cards--somewhere we can see them every day.  One day at a time we're striving to stick to our OLW.  It's worth a shot!

What's your One Little Word for 2014?


  1. This is so WONDERFUL! I love this lesson with kids. I can't wait to hear how their words manifest themselves. I think the whole OLW is magical. Enjoy your PEACEFULNESS! We could all use a little of that.;-)

  2. By the way, the picture of the snowy pinecone invokes PEACEFULNESS. It's beautiful!