“A single word can be a powerful thing. It can be the ripple in the pond that changes everything. It can be sharp and biting or rich and soft and slow.” Ali Edwards on One Little Word
As I thought about the possibilities for my One Little Word of 2015, I reflected on my intentions for creating this blog. My first One Little Word idea was listen. We know how important it is to know our students, our colleagues, our families. We can’t possibly know their desires and wishes without listening. We can’t help them choose the next book, reflect on their learning, or understand their needs unless we listen. So listen seemed like a good choice at the time. However, when I really thought about it, I realized that I have already been listening. I have been listening so much that I haven’t been doing my part to give anything back, to enter the conversation, to share.
Sharing is not on my daily to-do list. Sharing is the part of the reading or writing lesson that gets cut because we run out of time (or mismanage it.) Suddenly, I saw examples of our innate need to share in many places:
- In Professional Settings: NCTE 2014 participants were encouraged to “Share Your Story.” Attendees wore different buttons that symbolized their values, such as “literacy as everyone’s job” or “time for collaboration.” The buttons were open invitations to initiate conversations about shared values with complete strangers. I can’t tell you how empowered I felt to share by attending sessions and meeting those whose voices I have been listening to for years. I was encouraged to share my story.
- In Schools: My teaching colleagues requested (yes, requested) a third book club to read the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project’s Units of Study in Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing guide for this quarter. The units are dense and challenging to read, yet full of professional learning opportunities for teachers. So why do they need this club? Because they want to share. They share their interpretation of lessons, student work, successes and failures. They refine practice by sharing. I’ve even overheard them calling it their support group. Teachers are begging for this time to learn together.
- In the Home: My son and his classmates have started participating in a reading circle on http://www.reading-rewards.com. It’s like a Goodreads site for kids. He can log progress, make recommendations, blog, and see what his peers are reading. Tonight, he spent his time writing reviews and posting them to his reading circle. Even eight year-olds recognize the need to share, to be active participants in communities.
So I created this space for sharing, a place to make sure I let that one little word be my guide for the year. My favorite part was adding the “Blogs I Follow” to my site. As I did so, it was a reflection of who I have listened to in 2014, the educators from whom I learn every day: Stacey, Anna, Betsy, Dana, Tara, Kylene, Fran, Kristine, Kate, Chris, Donalyn, Colby, Carrie, Pernille, Julieann, and many, MANY more. (Yes, I feel like I’m on a first-name basis with all of them; that’s how influential they have been through their willingness to share.)
I commit to adding time to share to my daily to-do list. I commit to providing forums for teachers to learn by sharing. And I commit to making sure that students have opportunities to share each and every day.