#OneWord2020: Setting Intentions for the New Year

Katelynn GiordanoEngage Better, Innovate Better, Lead Better, Tech Better

In This Post:

  • An overview of the #OneWord2020 movement.
  • Steps to do #OneWord2020 for yourself and your students.

As a movement, #OneWord2019 took over my Twitter feed in early January. It was full of educators posting their words for the new year. I was struck with the power of the idea. One word to focus on for the entire year. One word to drive you, to revisit, to reflect on.

The idea of a mantra is not new. In fact, it’s pretty darn old. But this rebranding, so to speak, had me looking at it differently. Instead of only using this word for meditation, it could be used to center my practice.

Instead of only using this word for meditation, it could be used to center my practice. Click To Tweet

Even though it was already a couple weeks into January, I decided to hop on board and share my word for the 2019 year. I eventually landed on… intentional.

Last year, this word drove my practice. I made sure my instructional choices, my lessons, my activities were done with intention. I was intentional about the words I chose, the fitness routine I started, and the obligations I agreed to. My word helped me to stay on track and maintain my focus on this one word I had set for myself.

Not only did I set a word for myself in 2019, I also spent time with my students after break setting their intentions, and determining their words. It provided us with time for introspection, for some self-reflection, and targeted goal setting.

In 2020, #OneWord is happening again. If you are at all interested in joining or doing it with your students, there are a few ways to get started.

Step One: Choose your #OneWord2020

It all starts with some internal work. Take some time and think about the year that is wrapping up. What went well? What are you proud of? 

Then, think of the year that is coming. All it’s shiny newness. How do you want to improve? What do you want to focus on? What are your goals?

Allow your answers to center you. Once you’ve set your intentions for the year, determined your course, choose a word that best encompasses where you want to go.

Step Two: Write About It

Now that you have your word, it’s time to do something with it! Start by writing about it to help you commit and make your choice an active one.

If you already journal, blog, or do any kind of writing, you’re already set up to do this! If you are not a writer, I highly recommend you start. It will help you reflect more deeply and can promote mental health and peace. 

Take your reflection deeper. Unpack your word. Consider what it means to you. Where you want it to take you in this new year.

Step Three: Share Your Word

After you’ve made meaning from your word, it’s time to put it out there! A big part of #OneWord2020 is to share your word with others. Share your goals, your reasoning. If you wrote about it and are comfortable doing so, share your written piece.

Social media is a great place to do this. Twitter and Instagram are both great platforms to share your word. Join the community of people who can help center you in your focus for the new year. 

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Step Four: Set Intentions with Your Students

Many teachers look for a great back to school activity to do after break. One to ease our students (and ourselves) back into the classroom in a positive way.

Doing #OneWord2020 with your students can be a powerful, reflective way to bring your students back and help refocus them for the new year (and for being back at school). The journal prompt can help your students commit to their word and truly make meaning from the experience. 

Last year, I created a bulletin board with all of our words, decorated and beautifully pieced together. It served as a reminder for the rest of the year of our intentions at the outset. And it allowed me to replace one of my August bulletin boards (you know what I mean). 

If you do decide to join #OneWord2020, please share with me! I will be sharing mine at the start of the new year, and I look forward to you joining me. 


About Katelynn Giordano

Katelynn Giordano is a 6th grade language arts teacher in the Chicago suburbs and the Digital Content Editor for the Teach Better Team. She loves writing, both on her blog, Curriculum Coffee, and for the Teachers on Fire magazine on Medium. She is a dynamic educator with a focus on student empowerment in the ELA classroom. Her writing and presentations are all about incorporating student voice, choice, and personalized learning in your teaching practice.

Katelynn is active on Twitter and Instagram, and loves to collaborate with educators everywhere! In her free time, she enjoys relaxing with her husband and her cat, Chickpea, drinking coffee, and reading YA books.