About Six In Schools

The Six In Schools program was created specifically for teachers and their students after more than 15 years developing the Six-Word Memoir format.

The History of Six-Word Memoirs

Ernest Hemingway Inspires Larry Smith

Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in only six words. His response? “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” In November 2006, Larry Smith, founder of SMITH Magazine, gave the six-word novel a personal twist by asking his community to describe their lives in exactly six words.

They sent in short life stories in droves, from the bittersweet (“Cursed with cancer, blessed with friends”) and poignant (“I still make coffee for two”) to the inspirational (“From migrant worker to NASA astronaut”). and hilarious (“Married by Elvis, divorced by Friday”). And the Six-Word Memoir project was born.

The World Tells Their Story

Since then, the Six-Word Memoir project has become a global phenomenon and a bestselling book series. Six-Word Memoirs have been featured in hundreds of media outlets from NPR to The New Yorker, covered on tens of thousands of blogs, and featured inside 1 million Honest Tea bottle caps.

Celebrities like Jimmy Fallon ("Funny. Not funny. Funny. Not funny. Funny?"), Oprah Winfrey ("Seeking the fullest expression of life."), and Tony Hawk ("Lived a dream riding a surfboard.") have all joined in the fun, joining now over 300,000 people who have shared their own short life stories in just six words.

Teachers Apply Six-Words in Schools

And organizations have taken hold of the format, too, in classrooms, churches, and at live Six-Word “slams” across the world. The Six-Word Memoir exemplifies the best of SMITH Magazine’s storytelling mission: populist, participatory, inspirational, and addictive.

Teachers specifically have been tailoring the exercise to unlock creativity from all their students in a fun, structured way that leads to boundless ideas and emotional expression from their students.

Now It's Your Turn!

After years of working directly with teachers and speaking in schools, the Six-Word Memoir format is now available for teachers in a ready-made lesson plan for the first time.

Developed in conjunction with real teachers who have been making the most of the format, our Classroom Kits will let your students see their names and faces in a professionally produced book as published authors and illustrators!


“Big hair. Big heart. Big hurry.”