Monday, 1 January 2018


2018 arrived quietly for me last night. I was watching “Black Mirror” on Netflix and my wife and I almost missed the turning of the hour...and the year. Thirteen hours later, things are much like the chorus of that popular U2 refrain from "New Year's Day"...quiet.

That is probably for the best as it has given me time to reflect. Over the past week, I have had the opportunity to read a number of excellent #OneWord blog posts from friends, colleagues and members of my Professional Learning Network on Twitter. The #OneWord phenomenon, established in 2009, has become an annual tradition where, instead of making a resolution, a single word is chosen to become a personal mantra for the upcoming year.

OneWord Wall 2017 @ Eagle Heights
Typically, I do not officially select my #Oneword until I return to my classroom and present the concept to my students. Since 2016, I have used it as the first writing challenge of the new year. It is a great opportunity to help them think introspectively, expand their vocabulary and set up a personal mindset for the upcoming months. We also create artistic paper banners for classroom display and learn how to make Twitter banners using Canva and Google Drawings.
In 2016, my #OneWord was Mindfulness. In preparation for this post, I pulled up my lesson plan notes on Google Drive. In them, I noted that I wanted to “slow down and be more mindful of the world around me and my own feelings”. I reinforce the idea that I wanted to “stop myself regularly and enjoy the moments in life through which I am prone to rush." I’ll admit, I wasn’t very successful and I still struggle with this. I am a chronic multi-tasker and, despite the mountains of research to the contrary, I still feel that this benefits me.

In 2017, my #OneWord was Revitalize. Following a health scare in late 2016, I looked toward a new year that included healthier dietary choices, more exercise, a renewed effort at mindfulness and quality time reconnecting with my family, friends and passions. After an unsuccessful attempt in 2016 (due to the aforementioned health scare) I embraced the mile-a day challenge in which one attempts to run 365 miles over the course of the year at an evenly balanced pace. I managed to hit 1000 kilometers (620 miles) on the elliptical and I have noticed significant improvement in my flexibility and strength. My friends and I often remark that we used to exercise for reasons of vanity; now, fitness is entirely about the quality of life in the future.

For 2018, I spent much of today (while multi-tasking through the writing of this article) reflecting on the things that make me happiest. Thoughts turned to the documentary “Happy” (2011) which highlights the importance of looking for happiness through intrinsic sources. It continues, through research and example, to distill the simple elements that can amplify joy. They are: exercising, creating, learning, giving and community. With those ideas in mind, I am selecting the word Cultivate as my #OneWord for 2018  

  • I want to continue to cultivate a healthy lifestyle through better dietary choices. In particular, I want to reduce my carbohydrate intake and increase the number of times I make vegetarian choices at meals. This, in combination with the gym routine I have established should help make me healthier and happier. Maybe even an extra step in my weekly hockey game?
  • I want to cultivate my creative spirit. I have been working on a novel targeted at middle school students and it needs more of my attention in the new year. I intend to write more frequently on this site and I have set a goal of 24 posts for 2018. Well, 23 to go now!
  • I want to cultivate my learning by continuing my professional growth. I am at 54% in my Spanish studies on Duolingo. I would like to finish the program before the end of the year. I will also give more time to my guitar and, when the environment permits, my saxophone playing.
  • I want to cultivate my capacity for giving to my community. I am fortunate to have a job where I work with children on a daily basis. I would like to find a way to give more. There is a quote that I often pin to the top of my Twitter feed: “Treasure relationships, especially family and your obligation is to make a difference in the world and help people that can not help themselves.” I would like to redouble my efforts to this end. I think I’ll begin with those closest to me and then move outward.

Thank You for reading. I hope you have a wonderful 2018.



  1. 1 down! Excellent choice. I’m going to challenge my students to write their first blog/blog on oneWord as well. Love your idea of making their word posters in the room! Hoping to do same! Cultivate... excellent choice!

  2. Thank you for taking the time to read it. I think the students will enjoy this activity - it was always a hit with mine.