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Teacher-Created Lesson Plan

One Word Project

At the beginning of every school year, it is crucial to get to know your students and to set the tone for the year. This lesson plan helps students reflect upon how they can improve as students and individuals and set goals for this school year.
Tara H.
Classroom teacher
Gretna Middle School
Gretna, United States
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My Subjects English Language Arts

Students will be able to reflect upon their needs as learners.

Students will be able to select one word to focus on throughout the school year.

Students will be able to write one-paragraph explaining how their selected word will help them achieve success.

English Language Arts
Social Studies
World Languages
English-Language Learning
Health & Wellness
Grades 4 – 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Taking a Look Back

Google Drive
Free, Paid

First, you are going to provide students with an opportunity to reflect upon the previous school year.  The following questions are a great starting place:

Think about your experiences in ____ grade.

What is one word you would use to describe your ____ grade year? WHY?

What went well for you in ____ grade?

What could have gone better?

You can have students pre-write using Google Drive or on paper.  

2 Just One Word

Show students the video that discusses how to find their words.  Once students watch the video, give them another opportunity to free write (using Google Drive or paper) about some of the following questions:

What do I need?

What do I want?

What gets in my way?

What do I need to focus on?

What do I want to do this year that I haven’t done before?

What do I want to do better this year?

Once students have had an opportunity to write, give them a chance to talk over their writings with their classmates.  Ask them to begin brainstorming possibilities for their perfect words.

3 Word Research

After students have had an opportunity to discuss possible choices for their words, have them conduct a little research about their words.  Using tools like visuwords.com and thesaurus.com, students can look into potential words more closely and find words that are the perfect fit.

For example, a student may want to choose "nice" as his word, but after looking at the websites may realize that "cordial" is the perfect fit.  Another student may be considering "try" as her word, but finds that "strive" is the right word for her.

4 Time to Write

Google Drive
Free, Paid

Now that students have found that perfect word that is going to push them to achieve more this year, it's time for them to explain the significance of their chosen words.  Using Google Drive, students should write a paragraph with the following information:


Definition - What does it mean to you (not Mr. Webster)?

How will this word affect you both inside and outside of school?

Students should submit this assignment using Google Classroom.

5 Words, Words, Words

Now that all students have submitted their words, it's time to make a class word cloud.  Use Wordle to create a word cloud using all of the words students have selected.  Print the word cloud and display it prominently in your classroom.