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One Word Intention: 6th Grade Language Art Students Reflect on Their Goals

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One Word Intention: 6th Grade Language Art Students Reflect on Their Goals
By Stacey Roshan, Director of Innovation and Educational Technology
One word intention project

Click to view larger image.

Every time I step onto my yoga mat, I set an intention for my practice. This is something that most yoga instructors incorporate into the beginning of class. That intention carries us through our practice and helps us channel our attention and focus on what we desire to get out of our time on the mat.

In recent years, choosing a “one word” intention or theme has become a popular way to reframe New Year’s Resolutions. Gretchen Rubin and her sister, Elizabeth, have been asking listeners to choose a one-word theme each new year on their podcast Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

There are a variety of ways that we have done One Word activities as faculty and with our students at Bullis. But in this post, I want to highlight a rich activity that Marcie Demers brought to life in her 6th grade Language Arts classroom.

The objective of this assignment was for students to pick one word to define their goals, dreams, ambitions, and who they want to be in 2021. This activity had a variety of components which guided students towards their one word through a process of reflection and feedback from their peers.


hyperdoc one word intention

Click to view HyperDoc.

To begin, students completed a HyperDoc created by Ms. Demers in which they reflected on the past year and explored inspirational resources before picking their own one word. A HyperDoc is a scaffolded digital document that guides students through an immersive learning experience. It provides instruction but also incorporates digital collaboration, critical thinking, and an opportunity for students to create. To create this HyperDoc, Ms. Demers drew inspiration from a lesson she saw shared on Twitter by @kajobrien and originally designed by @WickedEdTech, @SeanJFahey, @KarlyMoura. She then “remixed” this document by adding a section for students to add their personal take-aways, providing a word list to get students thinking, and modified the ending of the activity to incorporate a slide deck (inspired by @WickedEdTech and @mamawolfeto2) for students to share out their one word with the class.

In the HyperDoc Ms. Demers created for this activity, she begins by asking students to reflect. From there, students are linked to a variety of videos to watch to inspire them. After learning a bit more about examples of “one words” that other people have chosen in the past, students start to think about their own word. The final component of the HyperDoc asks students to create a graphic to visually represent the word they have chosen.

Before creating that final graphic, though, Ms. Demers broke the class into small groups to share their takeaways from the HyperDoc and progress so far. The purpose of this component of the activity was to promote communication and collaboration. The HyperDoc was an independent activity and gave students time to self-reflect and learn from the resources available. The small group work gave students the opportunity to talk things out before settling on their one word. They were able to receive feedback from some of their classmates and be further inspired by a group brainstorm.

After taking some time to finalize their one word graphic, students added their completed project to a collaborative slide deck. On their slide, they included their word, an image, their own definition, an "I will" statement, and positive visuals and captions.

Here is an example of some slides submitted.

The final component of this project was for students to share their one-word intention on Flipgrid. This gave students the opportunity to verbalize their reasoning for choosing their one word and the graphics they chose to include. Additionally, it was a way for the full class to celebrate and be inspired by the words their classmates had chosen. As this activity was done when students were learning remotely, it was particularly important to provide all students a platform to share and learn from one another, and Flipgrid was the perfect tool for this. Not to mention, we all know the power of having accountability buddies! Since everything has been digitally documented, students can continue to encourage their classmates to focus on their one word intention and students can easily look back on their one word throughout the year.

One Word Intention project flipgrid


Stacey Roshan

Stacey Roshan is Director of Innovation & Educational Technology at Bullis School and author of Tech with Heart: Leveraging Technology to Empower Student Voice, Ease Anxiety, & Create Compassionate Classrooms. She is passionate about bringing innovative tools into the classroom to create a safe learning environment for all students to find their voice and build confidence. Her work has been featured in USA Today, The Washington Post, CNN, and PBS Newshour. She has also been named Teacher of the Future by NAIS. In addition to teaching high school students to love and understand math, Stacey works closely with faculty to design tech-infused lessons aimed at providing the optimal learning environment for all students.