building community, new year, writing, Writing Identity

Illustrated 6-Word Memoirs

We continue to work on developing our writing communities, slowly settling into what it means to write together, to be writers, and to feel free to write. We have written directions, we have discussed the rules of writing, we have read great writing, and we have set up our writing circles. All this work is centered in identity. All this work is centered in learning who each other are and developing a feeling of safety and community as we grow into this year together.

Now we inch closer to writing personal essays on topics centered on our own lives and so we used the 6-word memoirs. This ingenious little foray into writing has a long history. A great place to read more about them can be found here. They are exactly what they sound like; 6 word stories about our lives.

I introduced them by showing them examples of other 6-word memoirs, some serious, some not so much. I showed my own example…

Then we discussed the perimeters of the challenge: Exactly 6 words, it cannot be a list of adjectives, should reveal some part of your life that you feel comfortable with.

Then the kids brainstormed for a bit it their writers’ notebooks, playing around with sentences, words, and punctuation.

When they felt satisfied with their chosen words, they had someone spell check their final sentence. A few spelling errors were missed, which happens.

Then they illustrated them using these free blank face printables. I printed one out and drew a line down the middle, then made enough copies with directions on this handout. One side was for them to illustrate either as a collage or as an abstract image of of their words. The other side was for their words. I told the kids that they would be displayed so to put their names on the back for privacy unless they wanted it to be known that they made it.

We listened to music. Kids played with words, drew, and then handed them in. I couldn’t believe the care many took. While certainly there were many that spoke of sports, dogs, and other seemingly small-ish parts of their lives, every single one spoke of something they found important or showed a sliver of their personality.

A small lesson that showed so much about their identity once again. See for yourself, how they turned out.

15 thoughts on “Illustrated 6-Word Memoirs”

  1. Hi Erin,

    Here is another cool idea that could be integrated into narrative writing for students who love to express themselves through the arts.

    K

    Kim Burris Literacy Coach Orinda Union School District kburris@orinda.k12.ca.us 925-258-6331 Lit TOSA – link for YouCanBookMe OUSD Teacher Resources site

  2. Hello,

    Thank you for these informative blogs. The pictures were not showing this time and I don’t know if it only my problem or if it shows up that way for everyone.

    I would love to see an example!

    Sandra

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