A Six-Word Summer

It’s that time of year again.  We are back to school (almost).  And the call has gone out: Turn in summer stories by Monday.  Last year it was a poem:  We launched with “Where We’re From.”  This time, six words should do.  So which six words to choose?

Summer came and went too soon?

Yes, but that’s true every year.  Which best describe these summer days?

“Ethan! Down!” and “No more barking!”

Paddle boards. Jet skis. Slowly please.

Summer settles when wading in water.

Taking tiny tots to Tiny Town.

Sleepovers: instant date night for two.

I can drink pots of coffee.

Yes, and also so much more. So I am begging the question:  Can summer fit into six words?  And do hyphens count as two?

Summer is like New Year’s Eve.

A teacher’s year is unlike others’.

Can’t quite explain or ever complain.

Vacation? Yes. Deserved and earned? Yes!

Summer thoughts each grouped by sixes.  This post: Am I breaking rules?  At once, confirmation and contradiction. Big. Small. Six says it all.

Summer:  Six words at a time.


Six-word memoirs or six-word stories can be a great way to capture student stories at the beginning of the year.  Students will share so much more as they decide which six words to use to descirbe themselves, their summer, their life story.

Here are a few (more than six) words about the six-word memoir:

Jenny Rich writes in Literacy Daily: “When using six-word memoirs as a method of introduction, students can pick content and decide how much of themselves to share. They can share their favorite book, the number of siblings they have, or the fact they miss someone who is no longer here. The choice within the structure is theirs and theirs alone.”  Take a look at the rest of the article which describes other ways you can use six-words to construct and consolidate learning all year long. 

Liz from teachwriting.org describes this activity as a great beginning- and end-of-year writing strategy:  Several years ago, I began my school year with this unit as a way to get to know my students. What I found was a level of engagement that I had not seen before…students love to tell their own story…but something amazing happens when you tell a class of tired teenagers they ONLY get 6 words to tell their story.  Ears perk, heads turn and tilt, eyes begin to glisten.

A few examples from the Twittersphere:

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