The One Word Project for High School: a yearlong project

Grade Levels
9th - 12th
Resource Type
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42 pages
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The One Word Project for high school is a yearlong project in which students select a word in place of a resolution and then follow it throughout the school year with brief writing prompts each month.  The first one word writing prompt asks students to not only focus on choosing a word but also it’s denotations and connotations, then each subsequent month students get a prompt which returns them to their word for additional one word reflections.  At the end of the year, students write a definition essay for their word and create a video to feature their word.

Because of the reflective nature of this project, it is perfect for upper high school students, especially seniors, although it would be accessible to all students in high school.  I use this project with my AP Literature students throughout the year and as a culminating project after the AP exam.

It is great to start this in the first month of the school year, but you could choose to start it at any point in the year.  There are unlabeled versions of each prompt so that you could skip a month or rearrange the order as dictated by your school year.


  • 9 monthly writing prompts (3 forms of each prompt:  September-June; August-May; unlabeled)
  • Final Project: definition essay & video project
  • Rubric for the Final Project
  • Student Models (for some prompts)
  • Access to Google Slides
  • Teachers Notes
  • Extension and Follow-up Activities

Skills you can teach along with this project (lessons NOT included):

  • connotation and denotation, diction
  • MLA citations
  • quick internet searches
  • how to write a definition essay
  • video design and editing

AP Literature Essential Skills

FIG-5.A Distinguish between the literal and figurative meanings of words and phrases.

FIG-5.B Explain the function of specific words and phrases in a text.

LAN-7.A Develop a paragraph that includes 1) a claim that requires defense with evidence from the text and 2) the evidence itself.

LAN-7.B Develop a thesis statement that conveys a defensible claim about an interpretation of literature and that may establish a line of reasoning.

LAN-7.C Develop commentary that establishes and explains relationships among textual evidence, the line of reasoning, and the thesis.

LAN-7.D Select and use relevant and sufficient evidence to both develop and support a line of reasoning.

LAN-7.E Demonstrate control over the elements of composition to communicate clearly.

For more on using The One Word Project in class, check out this blog post.

AP® is a trademark registered by the College Board, which is not affiliated with, and does not endorse, this product.

For more information about AP Literature and Composition exam and course, please go to AP Central.

Total Pages
42 pages
Answer Key
Rubric only
Teaching Duration
1 Year
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.


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