Across The Hall
Bringing Six Words to your classroom is easy, effective, and memorable! Across the hall highlights what teachers have done with Six In Schools over the years.
At John F. Kennedy Middle School in Waltham, MA, they recognize that “students undergo an amazing transformation, cognitively, physically and emotionally” during the pivotal middle school years. Cue Kennedy Middle School teacher Katherine Hansen, who was immediately intrigued by Six-Word Memoirs. She recognized the writing curriculum potential for getting her 7th grade students to “go deeper than the standard get-to-know-you activity” at the beginning of the school year.
At Ashe County Middle School in Warrensville, NC, more than 400 students created Six-Word Memoirs for a unique multimedia, poetry in the classroom project. Julie Taylor, curriculum director for the Ashe County Schools, has been a fan of the Six-Word Memoir format since she first discovered our teen book, I Can’t Keep My Own Secrets. “As a teaching literacy specialist of 25 years, I have seen the many powerful ways that this ‘American Haiku’ format - and teaching poetry activities - can unlock students’ creativity,” says Julie.
One of the most wonderful and unique aspects of the Six-Word Memoirs project is the ability for so many different individuals and groups to share their perspectives, thoughts, lives and feelings in a succinct, expressive way. Take that expression and put it into the classroom? You have the formula for great writing ideas for students.
When natural disasters strike, schools are impacted, too. How do you restore normalcy in the classroom when your region is dealing with recovery? Teacher Jon Mundorf recognized the power of Six Words to help students process their experiences outside of school and refocus on classroom learning with ways to publish student writing.
The students in John Ferry’s sophomore illustration class at the Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) in Kansas City, Missouri have once again delighted us with their work.
The Kansas City Art Institute in Kansas City, Missouri, sets out to prepare its students to “transform the world creatively.” It is no wonder, then, that Six-Word Memoirs has found a place at this prestigious arts school, especially as a creative thinking activity for students.
Six-Word Memoirs has become a great tool for teachers, helping students find their voice, choose their words carefully, and unleashing creativity within the six-word constraint. Since Six-Word Memoirs founder, Larry Smith, quickly put together and released our newest free lesson plan, “My Life Now—Six Words on the Pandemic,” hundreds of teachers have downloaded our guide and used Six-Word Memoirs as a remote/ online project idea for students. Here are a few of their stories:
Six words have taken me (Larry Smith, founder of Six-Word Memoirs) as far as the Cayman Islands to lead a corporate workshop and as close as down the street to do a storytelling workshop with kids at an after-school program in Brooklyn, NY. One summer Six-Words even took me home where I got to see, first hand, creativity in education and the importance of creativity for students.
Here’s a classroom at Essex Street Academy in NYC, a school that prides itself on its project-based learning ideas for writing and learning, as well as a personalized approach to education. The ninth and tenth graders taking a creative writing course with teachers Jenny Platow and Caitlin Thomas were asked to write Six-Word Memoirs after thoroughly analyzing the book, I Can’t Keep My Own Secrets: Six-Word Memoirs by Teens Famous & Obscure, found in the school library.
Jamie Neufeld, an English teacher at Silver Creek High School in Longmont, Colorado, had first heard of Six-Word Memoirs as an idea for writing prompts for students, which was floating around various teaching forums. She never considered bringing it into her own classroom until two things happened. One: After teaching in an integrated classroom with a Social Studies teacher for 12 years, she had begun teaching a non-integrated classroom on her own, giving her more wiggle room to explore new ideas. Two: While perusing google and social media, she stumbled upon Six-Words again and Larry Smith, founder of Six-Word Memoirs, and realized she remembered him from her college days.
At Lord Dorchester Secondary School in Ontario, Canada, Six-Word Memoirs teaching writing activities help secondary school students open up to writing, and offers an easy and engaging extension of their classroom. English teacher Jamie Bechard adorns her classroom walls with this six-word tenet: “Give your voice value with writing.”
Junius Wright is a Six-Word veteran and a language arts teacher at Academic Magnet High School in Charlestown, SC. Junius has been incorporating Six-Word Memoirs and videos into his lesson plans for creativity and innovation for his creative writing classes to 10th, 11th and 12th graders since 2007.