#OneWord2017 – Intentional

It’s no secret that I had a rough 2016 – from beginning to end. I know that I’m not the only one, but it has inspired me to do another #oneword for the year – intentional. I love this #oneword because it speaks to both my personal and professional lives.

The definition of “intentional” is one of those weird ones that uses the word in its own definition, so I’ve broken it down to the root word, intend.

According to dictionary.com, intend means:
1. to have in mind as something to be done or brought about; plan:

We intend to leave in a month.

to design or mean for a particular purpose, use, recipient, etc.:
a fund intended for emergency use only.
What does this mean for my professional life?

In class:

This year, I want to structure activities for my students that are intentional. I want to know my end goal, and to create meaningful activities that push my students to reach that goal. Too often, I “fill space” with activities that might not have a communicative purpose, might not actually go with the unit at hand, or my tired brain used because I had nothing else.

Out of class:

My students know that I don’t give homework very often. I think this backfires, because when I assign it, they grumble more than normal. However, my choice options have seen great returns! I want to choose out-of-class activities that push my students toward a goal, that activate prior knowledge, or that hook them into the next activity.


I plan a week at a time because I don’t know how to do it any other way. This year, I’d like to be intentional about planning a unit at a time – macro-planning at the start, and then micro-planning for at least two weeks at a time, even if those plans shift. I think this will help me to see where we’re headed and not fill my time with meaningless activities that don’t really help us toward a goal.

I cans:

I did so well at the beginning of the year when I planned I cans in tiny chunks, Sara-Elizabeth style. Instead of using the big, “I can say how I am,” I broke it down into “I can say if something is good or bad,” “I can say if someone is happy or sad,” etc. That worked much better than what I have been doing, “I can ask and answer questions about …” – yikes! I want to be intentional about scaffolding I cans for students to measure small progress toward bigger goals!

TL use:

In the first semester of this year, I was AWFUL at TL use. I forgot to just do it, and had some kind of hidden agenda. I need to be intentional about providing ways for both students and teacher to use the TL for a purpose, not just because I feel like I need to. I’ve changed my ideas about input this year (post to come, I hope?) and need to get myself back on track with input-related activities that intentionally help my students use the TL and again, push us towards new proficiency or other goals.

That’s all I’ve thought out for now, but I’m sure that this year, I’ll find out more uses for my #oneword.

I could go on and on and on about how the word intentional relates to my personal life, but I’ll just summarize that it includes building relationships, how I spend my down time, how I structure my days, and what work I take home from school and when.

Are you planning a #oneword to guide your year? I’ve love to hear about it!


7 thoughts on “#OneWord2017 – Intentional

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  1. Can you tell me more about your out-of-class activities? I also do not give much homework and they grumble as well when I do give it. I would LOVE something more meaningful!!

    1. Erica, I am SO sorry that I missed your comment! I use and have adapted some of the Creative Language Class Real World Homework Activities, which I bought from them!

  2. Have you had feedback from students confirming the usefulness of I can statements? Do you use them because you want to or because teachers have to? How do they help students with their learning?
    Just curious because this is only just beginning in Australia in some schools.

    1. Hi! I use “I cans” because they help me to focus my lessons and students to focus on what the goal of each day is. Without them, I don’t have something for me or for students to latch onto and to walk away with each lesson. I have not asked students if the benefit from them, but a survey of that sort is in the works! Does that answer your questions?

  3. I just stumbled across your blog, and I can relate to so much you share. I am in my third year of teaching, and I also teach in a middle school. I am the only full-time teacher for 3 grades, and I often feel like I am muddling through on my own. Then I read blogs like yours, and I realize I am not alone! I also am trying to incorporate “Can do” statements into my planning more, and linking lesson activities to these “Can do ” statements more directly. I had one of “those days” today, and after reading some of your postings, I feel so much better. So, merci, Madame!

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