The Six-Word Memoir Blog

Classroom of the Week: “Praisin’ God with My Six String”

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

By Meredith Sires

As another school year comes to a close, notes from teachers across the country continue to pour in with amazing stories of Six Words in the classroom. Whether it’s as a writing prompt, art project, or icebreaker, we love hearing—and seeing—how students are using the form to express themselves.

From Edinburg, Texas, 8th grade ELA teacher Stephanie Sauceda recently wrote to tell us about introducing Six Words to junior high students along with five of her fellow teachers. The results? Stephanie says, “The kids amazed us with their hard work and insight on issues dealing with family, life, love, and more.”

One look at the gallery of artwork inspired by their memoirs (only a small portion of the 400 plus created!) and it’s easy to see what she means. From the quintessentially Texan (“Praisin’ God with my six string”) to the universally adolescent (“Short kid, long hair, don’t care”), each of the pieces are powerfully personal portraits of these middle-school artists. Through six words, students tapped into their dreams, (“Plain in sight…out of reach”), fears (“Not even armor can protect me”) and resolve (“The stumbles make it worth it”), bravely transforming the results into paintings. Color us impressed and inspired.

Note: With the generous support of our publisher, Harper Perennial, we’ve created two Six-Word Memoir lesson plans, one for our first book, Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure, as well as one for our teen book, I Can’t Keep My Own Secrets: Six-Word Memoirs by Teens Famous & Obscure. Download a free PDF of either or both below. In return, all we ask is that you let us know how six words works in your class. We love sharing your stories with the rest of the SMITH community.

Teachers Guide: First Six-Word Memoir book (click to download)
Teachers Guide: Teen Six-Word Memoir book (click to download)
Video: “Six Tips for Writing Six-Word Memoirs.”

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