Unique Six-Word Poetry and Art Projects for Sixth Grade

Here at Team Six, we love to see Six-Word Memoir art and poetry project ideas. And while the six word format is most often used for reflection and to share personal stories, Betsy DiJulio - an art teacher at Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach - challenged her students to a fun poetry activity that uses their art with a Six-Word twist.

The poetry project assignment was entitled “Sole Power.” Every day, over the course of the poetry lesson plan, Betsy would show her students a selection of images, artwork, information, videos, and dance performances - all related to shoes in current culture - and the class would reflect with an artistic or poetic journal entry. The assignment would culminate in a composite self-portrait, only, as Betsy notes, “shoes were used in place of self. The foundation of the portrait would be collaged images chosen for personal significance and design considerations.” Accompanying the self-portrait would be a Six-Word poetry assignment crafted for the project.

What followed was a set of incredible art pieces, as you can see in this example: 

One of the images Betsy showed her students - which is on view at the Holocaust Museum - was taken at a concentration camp and depicts the countless pairs of shoes that had belonged to the victims of the camp. Betsy asked the students to respond to the photo in multiple Six-Word “free verse” poem activities. The final product showed, when combined together, the power and depth of feeling words and images can communicate (student poem can be seen above).

The project is specific, with narrow restrictions, much like a Six-Word Memoir could seem at first glance. However, Betsy notes that her creative poetry project idea led her students to new discoveries, insights, and creativity. And, just like with a six word limit, it’s the restriction that forces a creator to see and think about themselves, or their topic, in a completely different way.

Betsy DiJulio is an artist, art teacher, and freelance writer, so she truly understands the value of verbal and visual communication, both personally and professionally. She is yet another teacher who has found a creative way of adopting the Six-Word form with incredible results.