Classroom of the Month: Eighth Graders at Waimea Middle School, North Hawaii


A challenge we hear from teachers time and again is their students’ lack of interest or motivation. Once that has been sparked, the work produced can be outstanding. In this month’s featured Six in Schools classroom at Waimea Middle School in North Hawaii, teacher Leesa Roberson and author Darien Gee met this challenge by using the Six-Word Memoir Project to rally their students, with great results. Gee asked them for just seven minutes to try their hand at writing their own memoirs in six words. Their heartfelt responses were hung in the windows for all to see, showing the entire school what students are capable of when they put their minds to their work.


“Born on Oahu, raised on Hawaii.” (Kai Ibana)

“Got hit, life bit, rage quit.” (Taran Takahashi)

“I live clean and surf mean.” (Kamuela Spencer-Herring)

“All my scars are my stories.” (Ryan Hooley)

“Roping wild cattle is a battle.” (Levi Higa)

In Gee’s words: “At the heart of every memoir is a memory.” The memory of that faithful Wednesday afternoon is ingrained in her heart, filled with fondness for those skillful, hesitant young writers in Leesa Roberson’s eighth grade class. Gee also challenged the students to continue writing and rewriting. Quoting Victoria Kneubuhl, the famous Honolulu playwright and author, she says “Learn to love rewriting, because rewriting is where you can turn lead into gold.”

What if you spent just seven minutes each day, writing or rewriting? What amazing work might you produce? Just like these eighth graders, you’ll never know until you try it. Sounds like a perfect resolution for the New Year!

However you write—keep on Sixing!


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