Join the thousands of teachers who have applied the acclaimed Six-Word Memoir™ writing format to their classrooms!
“My students especially love the Six-Word format because the rules create a sort of structured freedom.”
MEGHAN ADLER, LEARNING SPECIALIST
SAN FRANCISCO DAY SCHOOL
SAN FRANCISCO, CA
"Second grade students at the Downtown Denver Expeditionary School created Six-Word Memoir Self-Portraits to share important moments from their lives. This film illuminates ways that students can use personal narrative, in written and artistic forms, to develop a sense of connection that facilitates learning throughout the school year."
Ron Berger (EL Education) and Steve Seidel (Harvard Graduate School of Education)
co-directors of The Illuminating Standards Project
How It Works
Receive Free Guide
Clear instructions for a ready-made creative lesson plan, shared with you (for free!).
Let Your Students Create
Blank pages are scary... our templates for writing and/or illustrating guide your students.
Get Free Classroom Book
When we receive your completed activities, we'll send you one completely free classroom book.
Parents Order Their Own
Parents, guardians, and friends can easily order their own copies of your classroom book as the perfect gift or memento.
Build your classroom budget!
Parents/Guardians have no obligation to purchase a book - but, of those who do buy copies for themselves or as gifts, a portion of the purchase price will serve as a fundraiser for your classroom!
Books range from $15.99 to $29.99 depending on the option you choose for your students.
Why Six-Word Stories?
Ernest Hemingway Inspires Larry Smith
Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in only six words. His response? “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” In November 2006, Larry Smith, founder of SMITH Magazine, gave the six-word novel a personal twist by asking his community to describe their lives in exactly six words.
They sent in short life stories in droves, from the bittersweet (“Cursed with cancer, blessed with friends”) and poignant (“I still make coffee for two”) to the inspirational (“From migrant worker to NASA astronaut”). and hilarious (“Married by Elvis, divorced by Friday”). And the Six-Word Memoir project was born.
The World Tells Their Story
Since then, the Six-Word Memoir project has become a global phenomenon and a bestselling book series. Six-Word Memoirs have been featured in hundreds of media outlets from NPR to The New Yorker, covered on tens of thousands of blogs, and featured inside 1 million Honest Tea bottle caps.
Celebrities like Jimmy Fallon ("Funny. Not funny. Funny. Not funny. Funny?"), Oprah Winfrey ("Seeking the fullest expression of life."), and Tony Hawk ("Lived a dream riding a surfboard.") have all joined in the fun, joining now over 300,000 people who have shared their own short life stories in just six words.
Teachers Apply Six-Words in Schools
And organizations have taken hold of the format, too, in classrooms, churches, and at live Six-Word “slams” across the world. The Six-Word Memoir exemplifies the best of SMITH Magazine’s storytelling mission: populist, participatory, inspirational, and addictive.
Teachers specifically have been tailoring the exercise to unlock creativity from all their students in a fun, structured way that leads to boundless ideas and emotional expression from their students.
Now It's Your Turn!
After years of working directly with teachers and speaking in schools, the Six-Word Memoir format is now available for teachers in a ready-made lesson plan for the first time.
Developed in conjunction with real teachers who have been making the most of the format, our Classroom Kits will let your students see their names and faces in a professionally produced book as published authors and illustrators!
Get Started for Free
Get your free classroom kit by joining our Classroom Pilot Program!
Memorialized Classroom Book
Capture your classroom's creativity from year to year with a free book copy for teachers.
Creativity in Full Color Display
High-quality printing featuring their six-word stories and full-color illustrations.
Students as Published Authors
Students love seeing their name and face published in the About the Authors page.
Affordable Keepsake for Parents
Their child's accomplishment for the coffee table at home or as a gift for relatives!
Real Classroom Success
“I’ve used Six-Word Memoirs in my class for many years and the limitation of six words forces students to break big ideas down to smaller bites, think deeper about their stories, and unlock personal expression. In my classroom, I’ve seen kids work through writer's block; in just thirty minutes they feel like they have accomplished something.”
TERRY ASHKINOS, 7TH & 8TH GRADE TEAM LEAD
CHILDREN'S DAY SCHOOL
SAN FRANCISCO, CA
“The six-word approach was a way for my students to express themselves without writing a long narrative, one that may not speak to the reader as strongly as their Six-Word Memoir. Above all, they thought hard about their word choice, punctuation, and how they could illustrate the emotion/tone they wanted to express.”
Ginger Giessler, M.Ed & teacher
New Tech Academy
Fort Wayne, IN
"I’ve long been enamored with the Six-Word Memoir project. I’ve read all the books, written a pile of my own Six-Word Memoirs, and sometimes do my best reflecting in six-word increments. Six-Word Memoirs are a masterful way to tell a story and was the perfect way to have our students be part of an all-school writing project. As a staff, we believed a single writing project was a wonderful way to capture the voices, stories, and reflections of all our students. When we compiled all the student writing, we had 700 student stories told — in just 4,200 words — and every child could quickly and easily read the stories of their friends and peers. I'm not sure how we could have accomplished such an admirable feat without the gift of Six-Word Memoirs."
AUTHOR OF "YOU'RE THE PRINCIPAL! NOW WHAT?"
Deputy Superintendent, Dublin City Schools
“The day I used Six-Word Memoirs was the day my students came alive. Finally, being free to not only write long narratives helped them to discover the essence of themselves and the heart of their writing.”
CANDRA McKenzie, HallPassBreak PODCAST Host & HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER
NEW YORK CITY, NY
“Six-Word Memoirs bring out the best in my students. They are able to showcase their creativity and personal experience in a humorous, fun-loving way, but may also choose to display deeper, more complex emotions if they so choose.”
Sarah Nguyen, 6th grade English teacher
High Point Academy
“We often think of creativity as being open, free of rules with room to explore. But one thing that struck me when writing Six-Word Memoirs is that having strict parameters can sometimes lead to even more creative thinking!”
Paul Ackers, English teacher
Year 3 Brookes Moscow International School
“Six-Word Memoirs is the perfect site to be ‘published’ while being creative.”
Hannia Dergongan Marohombsar, Year 8 and Year 10 First Language English teacher
National High Jakarta School of Piaget Academy
"The Six-Word Memoir is the perfect instrument for students to exercise their self-awareness in meaningful ways. Having this type of personal success on the first assignment of the school year sets the tone of the year on a positive and productive path."
Elizabeth Kennedy, 7th grade Academic Enrichment instructor
Riverwatch Middle School
“They feel liberated by having to only produce six words in a concise, poetic format. This is especially important to dyslexic students as they have experienced angst and ridicule surrounding written expression and quantity has been an encumbrance.”
Kat DeWees, teacher
Rawson Saunders School for Dyslexic Students
“Six-Word Memoirs has just taught me that if you sit long enough with a kid and you ask the right questions and you challenge them in the right ways, you will hear a story that you probably never would have imagined."
Tabitha Cooper, Senior English teacher
Metamora High School
“Many students in our class shared deeply personal experiences in their Six-Word Memoirs, and sharing them helped to bring our class closer together and build a team spirit.”
Leah Ruediger, teacher
NYC’s P.S. 86
The Bronx, NY
“Six-Word Memoirs taught us a lot about our students and also taught the kids that efficiency of language can be a powerful way to make a point or share something poignant about themselves.”