One of my favorite go-to lessons is Six-Word Stories. The premise is so simple: just write a six-word story (or memoir or summary). Student love it because it’s so attainable. Any of them can write a six-word story.
Last Friday, we used six-word stories with a focus on creating emotion and imagery. We started with using the six word story “For sale: baby shoes, never worn” (allegedly by Ernest Hemingway). Then I provided students a series of photographs to use as inspiration for their six-word stories. I chose photographs that were filled with emotion and could perhaps have different interpretations.
Students then wrote 3-13 rough drafts of six-word stories, chose their favorite one, and submitted it to their peers for feedback. Finally, we posted final drafts on the hallway walls and other students voted on their favorites for couch competition.
It’s a deceptive task, easy at first look but more difficult as students get started. They have to distill the topic down to its very essence, and then choose the very best words–and only six of them–that will convey their message.
I also love that it’s so easy to use this concept in any content area. Use it to summarize a day’s learning, make students write from a historical leader’s point of view, or explain a math concept.