The Six-Word Memoir Blog

Classroom of the Week: Concordia College Catches Six Fever

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

By Liz Crowder

Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota has caught Six-Word Memoir fever. Although the six-word bug began with Professor Joan Kopperud’s English 421 class of 11 students, it quickly spread campus-wide.

Kopperud asked the students in her course (called “Traditions in Literary Genre—the Memoir”) to read a few six-worders as examples of a sub-genre of memoir. They were then invited to write some of their own. It wasn’t meant to be the focal point of the course, but her student’s eagerness to write Six-Word Memoirs evolved into an interactive project with legs of its own.

“While this particular group of students has readily embraced all readings and assignments, which is probably somewhat unusual in a college classroom, for some reason, they were particularly excited about read and then writing their own Six-Word Memoirs,” Kopperud explains.

Her students took their passion for the form and became Six-Word evangelists of sorts. They decided to set up a table in the college’s public atrium where passersby could stop not only to learn a little something about the art of a story in six words, but could write some memoirs of their own if they felt so inclined. The resulting collection of memoirs (striking, poignant, and humorous alike) are a fitting reward for their toils.

Kopperud says that this assignment wound up being fun and at the same time helped in developing her students’ critical thinking and writing skills. In other words, the best of both worlds. An example of this new and improved critical thinking? “While initially they were enamored with the fun of reading and writing Six-Word Memoirs, the students became quite discriminating as to which ones were more successful than others and why. The Six-Word Memoir assignment provided first-hand experience in choosing the right words—the perfect words—to succinctly express exactly what they wanted to communicate.”

“Born to teach, dying to learn,” is the witty yet wistful six-word memoir penned by Kopperud herself. To see other favorites, from her class and the impromptu campus project, read below.

I always cry on my birthday. – Braden Carkhuff
Born to be different, found acceptance. Niki Wagner
Found soulmate. Car accident. Age 20. – Erika Suter
Can’t stop being the big sister. – Mary Beenken
Fly me away inside a peach. – Matt Barrett
I’ll come out when I’m ready – Justin Bertram
14 moves. 4 transfers. Concordia: home. – Katelyn Henagin
Coulda, shoulda, woulda – Life’s a bitch. – Kale Hermanson
Graduate in five months. Then what? – Rachel Torgerson
I worry I’ll get left behind – Jennifer Bennington
Remember: You’re not the only one. – Courtney Gavner-White
Sometimes it’s okay to be AWKWARD – Ellie Michaelis
Too old before I was young – Allie Bondy
I burn with disaster and hope – Malyn Kuntz

Photo: Concordia Senior Jennifer Bevington photographed by Rachel Mary Torgerson.

2 responses

  1. CT Goodson says:

    Love it! Love it! Love it!

  2. Weekend Wrap-Up « Just a Word says:

    [...] Classroom of the Week from Read, think, maybe change your ways. (You’ll enjoy that sentence more if you read the [...]

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