The Six-Word Memoir Blog

Mrs. Nixon’s Third-Graders’ Six-Word Storybook

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

By Larry Smith

Since we launched the six-word memoir challenge on SMITH in late 2006 and then published a book of our favorites, we’ve seen amazing things happen that, literally, were not quite what we were planning. From a reverend in North Carolina who preached six-word prayers to a midwestern book blogger who created a six-word memoir “meme” that still races across hundreds of thousands of personal blogs, six-word memoirs have taken on a life beyond our wildest expectations.

But nothing has been as inspiring as the stories of six-word memoirs being taught in classrooms around the world. And it’s one thing to get an email from a high school teacher in Ohio; it’s another to head to school yourself. This spring, my nephews invited me to come speak to a couple of their classes. I spent the day back in my South Jersey hometown, walking the same halls from three decades ago, and talking to a shockingly attentive bunch of kids about why storytelling is awesome. I was reminded that teaching is really tough—and just why people do it. I saw that six graders are intense and intelligent little beasts, and that third graders are simply brilliant (”Always in trouble, not really troubled”—and this from an eight-year-old boy on the spot). Click below for a book that emerged from my nephew Noah’s classroom. There’s nothing I cherish more in this wonderful world of six.

78 responses

  1. hazel says:

    Thanks for sharing those 3rd grade 6 word memoirs. They are terrific.

  2. param3d1c says:


  3. Treasures By Brenda says:

    This is fantastic! I’m going to add the information about your Grade Three book to the page I have written about the book


  4. Mrs. Nixon’s Third-Graders’ Six-Word Storybook | Not Quite What I Was Blogging says:

    [...] You can also see it full-sized here. [...]

  5. Mrs C says:

    Our grade 5/6 really enjoyed this book - we were impressed with some of the language used by grade 3 kids.
    We were wondering though, how did you make the electronic book? Is it an online site?

  6. - says:

    Really love the electronic book!!

  7. Jody Collins says:

    Amazing……….! I’m an ESL teacher assistant in Junior High. What a BRILLIANT idea…brought tears to my eyes.
    I will pass this on.

    Jody Collins
    Seattle WA

  8. Lanetta Lyles says:

    This is the sight that I want to go to in the lab Friday

  9. When I Grow Up - The Blog » Blog Archive » Your Life Sentence: The Six-Word Memoir says:

    [...] ones that come from Mrs. Nixon’s Third Graders are also hilarious/awesome/super wise beyond their [...]

  10. nicole556784 says:

    Nice outfit, nice jewelry, great dance!
    Nicole Langevin :]

  11. nicole556784 says:

    Nice outfit, nice jewelry, great dance

  12. “Despair is a funny, beautiful thing” — Six-Word Memoirs from the Amazing Kids at Writopia | Not Quite What I Was Blogging says:

    [...] the world, students, teachers, churches, and nonprofits organizations with names like the Hypoparathyroidism [...]

  13. “Fat man eats pie then farts”—Six-Words in Hospitals | Not Quite What I Was Blogging says:

    [...] Six-Word Memoirs takes on a life bigger than Hemingway or SMITH Magazine could have imagined. From classrooms to funerals, sports sites to spinning classes, theater groups and churches across the land, [...]

  14. » “Despair is a funny, beautiful thing” — Six-Word Memoirs from the Amazing Kids at Writopia » SMITHTeens says:

    [...] the world, students, teachers, churches, and organizations with names like the Hypoparathyroidism Association (devoted [...]

  15. 6 words memoirs | Robert’s Blog says:

    [...] is a website with some more 6 words [...]

  16. “Urban Hippie Loves Sunshine and Rain”—Six Words in My Old High School | Not Quite What I Was Blogging says:

    [...] three classes of sixth graders and Mrs. Nixon’s third graders, which created this amazing six-word memoir book of their own, I was asked to talk to students at my high school in Moorestown, NJ. It’s [...]

  17. » “Urban Hippie Loves Sunshine and Rain”—Six Words at My High School » SMITHTeens says:

    [...] three classes of sixth graders and Mrs. Nixon’s third graders, which created this amazing six-word memoir book of their own, I was asked to talk to students at my high school in Moorestown, NJ. It’s [...]

  18. Carol Smith says:

    Dear Lar,

    I love this story!

    Love, Mom

  19. noah michaud says:

    thanks for putting it on the website

  20. seth says:

    Loved what I could read, but can’t read book properly.

    I’m a teacher of the children of incarcerated parents. I’d love to show them this book and do one like it. Trouble is, I can’t display it on my machine (mac 10.4 with safari or firefox). Any chance I could get my hands on a pdf version.

  21. emily says:

    I’m inspired! Thank you!

  22. njksg says:

    hi, bye don’t to cry tell your mother don’t to die

  23. njksg says:

    all fun

  24. Gail Gurman says:

    I’d really like to read this, but I can’t get the book to work. I can see the front and back, but I can’t turn pages. :(

  25. ilinkcs says:

    pages don’t turn, firefox chrome or IE

  26. Sheryl says:

    Found the words fun, funny, surprising!

    Point the mouse/arrow on the right, lower corner of the book. The corner “lifts up”. Drag the mouse/arrow left to turn pages….


  27. Share your story in six words « says:

    [...] especially like the idea that teachers are using this experiment as a writing and discussion project for their students: “I’m [...]

  28. 6-word Memoirs! « the adventures of team transformers! says:

    [...] [...]

  29. maggie says:

    to open the third grade book…just left click the upper right corner to open the book and turn the pages.

  30. E-Learning » Blog Archive » Q&A with a Story Guru: Larry Smith: Teachers Laid Groundwork for Story Immersion says:

    [...] amazing, as talking the third graders about storytelling. The class later sent me their own book of Six-Word Memoirs, Not Quite What We Were Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Mrs. Nixon’s Class, which I digitized and posted on SMITH. It’s the most amazing document I have from the SMITH [...]

  31. Can you write your memoir in only six words? « Kimundrum says:

    [...] of thousands of people have shared their own short life story at, as well as in classrooms, churches, and at live Six-Word “slams” across the world. The Six-Word Memoir exemplifies the [...]

  32. lindsay says:

    What program did you use to create this storybook? We are hoping to create something similar with our students. Thanks!

  33. chris says:

    This was a really cool idea, I liked the book so much.

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  36. Kuzma Kronikle – Free Sites for Technology Integration » Blog Archive » Six Words says:

    [...] Six Words seems to have taken on a life of it’s own. Google it and you will find all sorts of examples-some very suitable for school and some not so much. Jonathon Olson uses it actively in his classroom. His older students must apply it to various forms of literature and continues questions the Six Word assignment. He continues to discuss how famous philosophers could summarize their findings in six words. Mrs. Nixon tried this with her Third Grade student. Scroll down the page to find an example of the student’s work. [...]

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