As a teenager soon leaving her teenage years, I understand the fear that often accompanies searching for your identity during this time, and deciding how to best express your true self to others as you go through life. Where soul searching may fail, there are always words. The Six-Word Memoir Project is particularly useful because we may find by limiting our words, we are able to better decide what is most important.
One group who explored this question of identity with the Six-Word form: Christy Kingham and her class of 11th graders at the Young Women’s Leadership, Astoria. Christy says “This is my fourth year using Six-Word Memoirs—I’ve used them with middle schoolers, high schoolers, and grad school education students alike. In general, as 11th graders [at the Young Women’s Leadership, Astoria], students are expected to know themselves as learners and individuals, articulating this to various audiences. With this in mind, we begin our year by asking the question, ‘what is my lens?’ Students begin to consider who they are and who they want to be—the many aspects of their lives that shape their perspective. The way into this work is to start with the challenge of capturing an element of our identities in just six words.”
In one of the most creative ways seen yet, students at the school use Six-Words as both a starting off place for their self exploration, and as a way to revisit it as they make new discoveries. Beyond this project, they also make use of it writing Six-Word memoirs from the perspective of characters in texts they may read in class, as well as to brainstorm for college essays. It has continually been an amazing feat to see the different ways in which the Six-Word form is adapted by different classrooms, and the finished results that come out at the end. Check out some awesome stills from the 11th graders at the Young Woman’s Leadership, Astoria below, and this video as well. Keep Sixing!