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This timely, interesting writing project has students choosing a Focus Word to guide their year. Students are introduced to the concept, which is gaining popularity through celebrities and the blogging community, and shown many examples of people who choose a focus word and how they use it. Then, using a graphic organizer, writing prompt, and rubric, students narrow down their word, and explain in an essay why they chose their focus and how they plan to shift their thoughts and actions to reflect this new focus.
I am using this as a baseline essay in my classroom, and will not only refer to the assignment throughout the year, but will come back to the essay at the end of the year to measure growth.