Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Power of a Word

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating a place to share our Slice of Life. Read more slices or add you own here.

Last year I had my 4th graders chose one little word, and they were excited about doing this project.  Since I moved to middle school this year, I wasn't sure if 6th graders would have the same enthusiasm.  But they did.  It helped that last week we had a speaker, Call Me Jim, on bullying and the power of our words.  Yes, words can hurt, but they can also be powerful when used in positive ways, such as the one little word.

We have been back to school for two weeks and yes, it took us that long to get our one little words chosen, decorated, and displayed.  But here they are!

I introduced the one little word to my homeroom upon our return to school.  I explained the concept and how sometimes the OLW actually finds them.  I challenged my homeroom to take a couple of days and think about what word they would like to guide them through this year.  

Due to weather delays and another schedule conflict, we finally finished Monday.  I had a few of the students explain why they chose the word and how they think it will guide them.

Her are some of their comments.

"I chose survive, because I just want to survive my first year of middle school."

"I chose unique because I don't want to be like anyone else.  I want to be my own person."

"I think I am a positive role model so I want to inspire little kids to be their best."

"I want to have faith in myself."

"My mom always picks the oldest to do things and I want her to know that I am dependable."

I emailed our school counselor the picture and she replied to ask if she could borrow the idea.  So, today on our Morning Show, which is produced by students and seen in all homerooms, she is having every homeroom choose a word and decorate and display them.

I can't wait to see what everyone chooses and see all of the words displayed on lockers and in classrooms.  

One little word is all it takes to make a difference.


  1. Beautiful! I love the reasons they choose their OLWs. It seems your kiddos really got it. Yay words!!

  2. I did OLW with my 4th graders this year and I was surprised at how well they did. I love the idea of decorating their word. I might just add this to my to do list this week and give them a chance to revisit their OLW.

  3. How exciting to see the positive influence of OLW through your learning community!

  4. I wish I had known about OLWs when I was still teaching. It would have been interesting to see what my students picked and their rationale for choosing their word.

  5. Love the OLW - we keep our words up all year to help us remember our focus.

  6. Great, great words! Did you see the post on Two Writing Teachers yesterday? Some of the kids at my school chose words, too, and they really just blew me away!

  7. I also introduced OLW with my 4th and 5th grade small groups. I was surprised at their thoughtfulness and understanding ... it's my goal to continually remind them of their word as we push on through the school year. Bravo to you Leigh Ann and all your kiddos!

  8. Love hearing all about how you did the OLWs, Leigh Anne. They look great & thanks for sharing some of the comments, too, quite serious!

  9. Leigh Anne I have been spreading information about the #onelittleword campaign to the teachers I work with. Your word wall is filled with an array of positive words. Congratulations for being the emissary of #positivity in your building.

  10. Leigh Annie, what you are doing is fantastic!

    1. Oops! I typed Annie out of habit! (I have an Annie!)