PLAs #8 – One Word

by / Wednesday, 29 April 2020 / Published in Instruction, PLAs

One Word is a very simple exit activity. It’s designed to give your learners just a little extra time to process the lesson of the day. It’s also scalable, as it can be used to process a single activity, or a summary after presentations, or a quick reflective nod to a group project. It requires no preparation and no special online tools … as long as the session is a synchronous session, you can make it work. The instruction is simple. Ask your learner to think about everything happened and to summarize their thoughts, feelings, most important take away, funniest moment, most confusing moment….it’s up to you to tell them, but their answer must only be ONE WORD without explanation. The point is for everyone to contribute without rebuttal.

Kahoot! has a word cloud feature that is the perfect implementation for this (see below), so if you do a Kahoot! with your students, try using it so you get a better idea of what your students are thinking.


Name: One Word

Activity type: Exit

HOTS: Learners critically reflect on the events of the activity, class, presentation, project, or unit, and must distill their thinking into a One-Word expression that summarizes it all.

Grouping: Best with ONES in an entire class, but if you use it more often, try working in the CIRCLES so that smaller groups who worked together.

Online toolKahoot! Has a tool that can do this activity that automatically records all responses at once and renders as a word cloud (as seen below). Wordle is another where you can take all of their words and make a word cloud.


This is the Top Ten Participatory Learning Activities (PLAs) Series. Each week, Dr. Larry Davies describes PLAs that are effective to use online. Your use of these PLAs will foster better learning and higher motivation in your learners. Each PLA contains an illustration that contains four elements:

  • The name of the activity.
  • Which one of the four types the activity is (that’s the lightbulb), including,
    • Creative/critical thinking activity (inside the lightbulb, top left – the brain);
    • Small group conversational activity (bottom left – the speech bubbles);
    • Exit activity (given at the end of a lesson, unit, or project) (top right – the exit sign);
    • Timed activity (where learners are under pressure to complete it within minutes) (bottom left – the clock).
  • Whether it’s a Higher or Lower Order Thinking Skills Activity (HOTS or LOTS) (the HOTS/LOTS lever with “the pail”).
  • A suggested grouping to maximize the benefit of the activity (the circles arranged in many ways).

Also, the description will contain suggestions for one or more online tools you can use with the PLA.

Previous blogs in this series include:

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