Try The Powerfully-Simple Six-Word Memoir Classroom Activity: Great for In-Person and Virtual

Back in April 2020, one of the first student Six-Word Memoirs on the pandemic was the poignant, “Virtual hugs are not the same.” They are surely not the same. And yet among the many things we’ve learned about ourselves these past two years is that we are resilient, flexible people who have used technology to break down many barriers during the pandemic. Nowhere has this resiliency been more miraculous than in schools.

Here we go again...

Now, much of America is taking what may feel like a step backward as many return to virtual learning.

In light of that, we've updated our toolkits to be available for both physical and virtual classroom settings alike.

As thousands of teachers have found, the six word format is a simple and immediately implementable way to keep your students engaged and connected — even in crazy times like these.

If you're not ready for the toolkit, here’s a simple activity for teaching Six-Word Memoirs

  • Introduce Six-Word Memoirs by following our Lesson Plan and/or sharing Six-Word Memoir founder Larry Smith’s TEDx talk, making sure to remind students that their six words don’t have to be about their whole life. Their stories can be about one part of their life, a lesson learned, a personal motto, or even a six word question about their life.
  • Give each student 5-10 minutes to work on their Six-Word Memoir.
  • Optionally, have students meet in breakout rooms to help each other with their Six-Word Memoirs (after all, sometimes our friends know us in ways we forget) and share short backstories about their six words.
  • When everyone returns to the main room, have a “Six-Word Slam” in which you zip around the virtual room, having each person (including the teacher!) share a Six-Word Memoir.

One of the most wonderful things I’ve heard from educators, and seen myself, is how kids who might have trouble speaking up often feel a new comfort, safety, and success when all they have to share is six words. And Six-Word Memoirs — whether taught as a one-time lesson or daily “bell work”— is a way to build confidence and amplify social emotional learning for all your students.

Written by: Larry Smith
"Big heart, big heart, big hurry"

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