Character informs how we think and behave. We all have “character,” but it’s the personal experiences that make our character strengths unique and play an important role in our successes. For SixContest #84, in honor of Character Day, we asked you to capture character with the Six-Word challenge: “What does “character” mean to you?” Character Day founder Tiffany Shlain reminds us that our character strengths evolve, offering room for growth and personal development (“We are all works in progress.” —@tiffanyshlain via Twitter).
Wake Forest University Office of Student Engagement included #CharacterIn6Words in their #CharacterDay2016 event to help students identify what’s at the heart of character:
Waverly East Intermediate School in Lansing, Michigan is a one-to-one school, with an emphasis on the ways that technology can enhance learning and self-expression. Sixth grade Language Arts and Social Studies teacher Kristin Kochheiser explores this intersection with passion, recently introducing Six-Word Memoirs with her Language Arts classes to do so.
Mrs. Kochheiser came across Six-Word Memoirs while training to become a teacher consultant for the National Writing Project during the summer of 2014. She and her fellow consultants-in-training were assigned to write a Six-Word Memoir. “I thought it was so neat! I liked the focus on how few words you really need to portray a large message.”
Six-Word Memoirs was easily adapted to Kochheiser’s classroom plans: “I was looking to put together digital and visual media with words: Six-Word Memoirs was the perfect fit to do that.” The assignment lasted three weeks and used technology in a number of of ways.
In our busy lives, sometimes we forget to enjoy the natural splendor of the world around us. For SixContest #83, we asked you to immerse yourself in the many wonders of nature—in Six Words. Some advised on the importance of preserving our environment (“Nurture well what nature gives you.” –maryjane31), while others reminded us that our surroundings are not always carefree (“Nature stormed in, stole my world.” —sisterpoet, with a backstory below about the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy). But the overwhelming sentiment was heartfelt appreciation for our natural world and the beauty it brings to our lives.
Introducing our Top Six favorites from this contest:
6. “Mother Nature: sometimes beautiful, sometimes cruel.” —CuzinVin
Ed. Note: sisterpoet’s backstory: “Superstorm Sandy destroyed my shore home. My life was never the same. It took me a long while to even drive on the parkway. Eventually, I was able to go to events or places I had been to but it was difficult. Just recently, I’ve worked my way up to a 10 day stay. When I am alone, on the beach, I cry for what is lost and what will never be. My children had the privilege of a life of summer ease as did I. No future generation of ours will. We have no place on this shore to make new memories. The ocean came in and wiped us clean. We have no choice but to start again.”
“Six Words gives me the opportunity to write every day, without excuse. The writing from the other Sixer’s inspires me to write, live life, to dream, and to find laughter. Six-Word Memoirs read like poetry to me, with so many layers in these short stories.”
Name: Cara Jean Spittle Long Place: Eagle Mountain, Utah SMITH Member Since: July 2014
Some days are unparalleled — so unforgettable that they qualify as your “Best Day Ever.” For SixContest #82, we asked you to add three words and tell us about “My Best Day: ___ ___ ___.” Many entries celebrate epic milestones (“My Best Day: National Same-Sex Marriage!” –JoC.), while others cherish simple pleasures (“My best day: slept all night.” –@hikealot via Twitter). NPR’s Scott Simon, a Six-Word Memoirs enthusiast, shared two versions of his banner day: “Hi, Dad. Boy, we missed you.” And: “Gee, Dad, we got two scholarships!” Whatever qualifies as “best,” we wish you many superlative days ahead.
Lovabull is a Columbus-based organization that unites pit bull owners and advocates to create a brighter future for this often misunderstood breed. Founder Aaron Blevins was delighted to use the Six-Word form to raise awareness for his cause. This joint effort between our communities allows us to elevate “the impact we are making on pit bulls and every other lovable and misunderstood animal in the world,” Blevins emphasizes.
The focus of #LovabullinSix is “to affirm the importance of the dogs, the organizations and the people dedicated to the cause of fostering and adoption.” Participants used the hashtag #LovabullinSix when posting their six-word testimonials on Instagram. Entrants were randomly selected to receive prizes of stylish personalized products from Thirty-One.
Sharing these Six-Word stories and compelling images allows everyone to celebrate the love and support for these affectionate, adorable animals. Bully breed advocates were invigorated and those new to the cause were drawn in. Here are six of our favorites in honor of this heartwarming campaign:
Students in Zafirah Ahmed’s second grade art class have the freedom to allow their creativity and imagination to blossom at Classical Charter Schools in the South Bronx, New York. When Ahmed discovered Six-Word Memoirs recently (thanks to me, her sister and Six Words intern) she was excited to share the simplicity of the six-word form with these young students as a new way to inspire creative expression.
Ahmed introduced Six-Word Memoirs during the last week of school, asking students to write about their favorite projects and moments during the school year. This reflection on their journey of craft and creativity required a bit of thought and conversation in the classroom.
The hotter it is, the more hotheaded we are! For SixContest #81, we wanted to learn your secrets for beating the heat and keeping your composure. While some seek the refreshment of adult beverages (“Gin and tonic. Maybe a couple.” —JRE23), others revert to tried-and-true practices (“Inner kid wisdom: try water balloons.” —JanAlexander). With no end to the rising temperatures and peak humidity in sight—for the foreseeable future—we all could use some extra cool.
“My favorite Six-Word Memoir is also my first Memoir of the Day. I remember sneaking my phone out of my backpack during class so I could write a Six, and shortly thereafter, seeing my words in ‘The Daily Six’ box at the top of the screen. All I could say through that impossible-to-hide grin was ‘I’m a writer.’ ”
Name: Sophie Ezzell Place: Knoxville, Tennessee SMITH Member Since: January 2015
We’re still more than 100 days out from the 2016 Presidential Election—and at this point, it seems like everyone is a political expert. So for SixContest #80, we challenged you to create your own six-word campaign buttons. Many entries stressed the importance of getting to the ballot box (“Because the Youth Vote Always Matters” —@DemsAbroadYouth via Twitter), while other expressed their frustration with the options presented (“How Have We Come to This?” —Elisa R. via Facebook). From protecting our citizens to breaking down barriers (“Walls Can Never Be the Answer” —maryjane31), it’s clear many Americans are concerned about the future. If you’re already sick of all the campaigning, an epic distraction is just days away (“Let the Olympics Bring Comic Relief” —zsuzsu). Meanwhile, these Top Six campaign buttons are worth pinning on your bags and lapels:
6. “Patriarchy Built This country. Smash Through” —@kronn (via Twitter)
5. “Let’s Not Make America Hate Again” —@davepell (via Twitter)
4. “227 Year Old Document Needs Revision” —ChewyD2
3. “Because Public Service Is About Service” —@MollyJongFast (via Twitter)