One-word Activities


Sharing exercises during meeting or circle time build and develop relationships between individuals through respectful interaction. However, it can be very difficult making sure everyone gets a turn to share, while teaching active listening skills and empathy. One-word activities make this fun, interesting and best of all, easy!

One-word activities make students focus on a main point before sharing. Ask the students to close their eyes (or look at their knees) and think about the question you are about to ask. Then, ask them to come up with one thing they would like to share. Here’s the catch, they need to do it in one word, this will take some thought! Ask them to give a thumbs up when ready.

Here are a few ideas to get started:

  • Reveal something you did this weekend (or over break)
  • Name something you are grateful for
  • Choose a color that best describes how you are feeling
  • Share something you are good at

This not only allows the students to creatively summarize their thoughts but focusing on one word is easier than a whole story! Following the one-word responses, permit three students to ask a follow-up question. For instance: “Jim, you said you felt blue. Why is that?” This creates an opportunity to be empathetic, demonstrate listening skills and learn more about peers. (A student can always thank their peer for asking, but pass on adding specifics, if they choose.)

This is a great activity to use the sign for “same” by lifting the thumb and pinky, and folding down the index, middle and ring finger while bringing the hand toward you and back to the peer you agree with.

Need one last idea for the New Year? Come up with a one-word intention! What’s yours?