Getting Started

Catalysts to Classroom Conversation

Every teacher knows that it doesn’t take much effort to get students talking. Especially when they should be focusing on something else. 😉

But it is a bit of a challenge to get them talking to one another in a meaningful way, especially at the beginning of the year.

Six-Word Memoirs have the uncanny ability to break the ice and get students engaged in each others’ lives.

Here’s an exercise that many teachers have used to help catalyze conversation and create community between classmates.

1. Task each student with writing a Six-Word Memoir. 

Let them know that their six words don’t have to be about their entire life but rather describe one small part of it. Perhaps they can write about a favorite activity, a personal passion, or even something they experienced, watched, or read over the weekend.

2. Collect Stories

Collect every story. Then, read each memoir aloud - or, you can display each memoir, one by one, on your whiteboard or document camera.

3. Invite class members to guess the author of each memoir.

Within minutes, your students will learn something new about their classmates (“Wow, Fiona got a ferret”!”), and their Six-Word stories will spark longer conversation in the days and weeks that follow.

Pro Tip: Include your own Six-Word Memoir in the mix. Sharing something about your life that your students didn’t know can create a small but meaningful connection to you.

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