#sol15:March 5, 2015: Rethinking my OLW



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It’s been a couple of months since I settled on my one little word, the one I chose with such a high-minded sense of purpose and deliberation.

Yesterday, I had to face facts and admit it…I’ve failed at my OLW. Miserably.

There is so much to do and so little time.  Everywhere I turn there is a task to complete, a new one I had signed up for to begin, a poorly completed one to redo.

Focus? What was I thinking?!

When we returned from our PARCC test yesterday, I passed out the candy (yes, I do this, I know I shouldn’t but I do – you can go ahead and report me to the school nurse) and tried to sort out what to focus on in the class time we had left.  So, I went about shuffling papers, pulling out the Social Studies study guide to review, the read aloud to complete, the feature article mini lesson that had been set aside for testing time.  Where to begin? How to get back on track? HOW to focus?

My kids had apparently been watching me circle around and flit between this and that.  When I finally sat down, nowhere closer to making any decisions, a few of them stopped tossing around the tennis balls (the ones that have come off the chair legs and I have been meaning to put back for a couple of weeks now) long enough for one to  say: “Mrs. Smith, you need to chillax.”


Now why didn’t I choose THAT one little word?!



40 thoughts on “#sol15:March 5, 2015: Rethinking my OLW

  1. Oh, these tests! I laughed at the tennis balls…those classroom jobs that scream for attention but are forgotten. I should make a list about those. Chillax. What a fantastic word. Seems quite perfect. Yay, too, for the candy. Kids need to be reminded that they are kids, and candy is great and just the perfect thing after a day of testing. Hang in there!

  2. Kids say the darndest things – but often they make a lot of sense! After stressful times, yucky tests, hard moments of life – a little chillax is just what we all need. I’m going to try to take their advice ad chillax this morning as I think about another yucky commuting day!

  3. I am not a big pinner on Pinterest, but that graphic got pinned. I love it! Did you make it yourself. My kids use the term chillax as well. My students would tell you to write a PsyKu.

  4. And this is why I miss teaching so much! I could completely relate to your struggle to focus (although my inability to focus led to me accidentally doing my taxes last weekend, so I guess some good came of it), but I don’t have anyone to tell me chillax! I know you’re describing a slightly painful moment in your day, but I smiled throughout. Thanks!

  5. Isn’t the OLWS supposed to guide you through the year, it is not a fait accompli, therefore your word still works for you. You were focused on what to do next, you just couldn’t decide which path to take. However, I do love the concept of chillax. Take the time to chillax during this testing period..

    • This is my vote also, Aileen. I love “focus” because it’s the “what” I put after FOCUS that gives me the freedom to be flexible! My focus this weekend will be chillaxing!

  6. I have not been doing very well with my OLW either. I love this graphic and didn’t notice the opposites until I went back and read it again. Testing time is so stressful for everyone.

  7. It’s never too late to change it, and I agree that it’s a goal for the entire year. Mine is relax (I think) and I’ve certainly fallen down on this.

  8. It always interests me to hear about someone else’s journey with their #olw. Loved the visual for chillax. I also connect with the tennis balls, I just spent time yesterday putting some back on.

  9. From the mouths of middle schoolers! I still remember when I first learned this new word from my students and their attempts to explain it to me. Great graphic! For now, just focus on this image.

  10. Chillax indeed. Today I’m practicing that. My son is having oral surgery at 1 and I was madly trying to work until then. But after reading your post, I shall stop..make tea…and work on the prayer shawl I’m making for a newly diagnosed friend. Thank you new friend for the idea.

  11. Oh, how I love your honest reflections … and the bluntness of your students! Chillax is perfect! I say, it’s not too late to switch it up. The word is for you … Make it yours. If you need chillax now and use the time to re-“focus”. Do it. (Love the graphic you found too!)

  12. You know how we teach children that it is ok to abandon a book, the same is true for OLW. “Chillax” is a super word, after using this “focus” might follow naturally.

  13. The way I look at OLW is the same as several others – it is a journey; there will be bumps (ok- maybe a few mountains); other words can help; but you will get there in the end. Love the graphic and the word! Wonderful post! My OLW is bloom and I haven’t done much blooming lately! Need spring I guess (and more focus!)

  14. Love the infographic. It fits into your oh-so-accurate description of how it feels to work so hard to finish the HAVE to’s that it is hard to choose the WANT to’s. I think we could all focus better if we didn’t have so many things thrust upon us that fill our time and space.

  15. I have so many ‘to do’ lists that this will help me sort & smooth out the wrinkles, Tara. I think OLW’s are for all the year, BTW, take it easy on yourself, and focus when you can. Thanks for sharing the pin!

  16. This post is like a perfect mentor text for slicing. I love how your post goes from an idea (OLW), to a moment (in the classroom), back to an idea (OLW) again, and incorporates a change. From focus, to chillax. Also, chillax is a great word!

  17. Kids get right to the point, don’t they? Love the word. (I’ve been thinking I might need to change my OLW. I’m not doing so well with quiet, which is similar to your focus). πŸ™‚

  18. I’m not good, at all, at one little word. I have tried it a couple of times, but I usually forget it by February. I love the chillax graphic though and the sentiment behind it. Wondering if you designed it yourself.

  19. Not to sound like your typical yoga-hippy (because I definitely am not), but when my mom and I did yoga this summer as often as we could, it was the time of day that I looked forward to the most. The time where no one was expecting anything of you except for how you chose to respond to your body. It was a time of day to “chillax”– sort out your priorities, mentally and calmly map out the rest of the day. It sound like your student definitely had the right idea– some chillaxing time is always necessary!

  20. Can’t you change it? That focus word seems to be too stressfull. Go for the chillax, the kids will love it and so will you I am sure. I laughed out loud at this slice. Thanks for the giggle.

  21. The truths spoken by children of all ages gets to the heart of the matter. The student comment made me laugh. I actually am laughing WITH you, because we do go from one thing to the next to the next. Hang in there. Focus will come.

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