Jennifer Mayberry, a Family and Consumer Sciences teacher at Skowhegan Area High School in Skowhegan, Maine, has introduced Six-Word Memoirs to — wait for it! — all six of her classes. Mayberry initially discovered Six-Word Memoirs in an English methods course at Endicott College and began employing the activity in her classes because of the accessibility of the form.
According to English teacher Mary Lochtefeld, great writing has the exact right number of words. When she introduced Six-Word Memoirs to her classes at Ansonia Local Schools in Ansonia, Ohio, the exact right number was six. Lochtefeld discovered Six-Word Memoirs during a graduate class at Miami University she took over the past summer and decided to introduce it to her own classroom this fall. “The form seems easy at first and then when kids realize that they have to be really choosy about the words it becomes a little bit more difficult and really allows me to see if they understand the content,” says Lochtefeld.
[caption id="attachment_27833" align="aligncenter" width="350"] "Bottle it up until it pops." — Taylor Ingram[/caption] 2023 marks the seventh year since Professor John Ferry started teaching Six-Word Memoirs in his “Image and Form” class at the Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) in Kansas City, Missouri. Ferry first discovered Six-Word Memoirs in 2016 after listening to an NPR segment, and rushed to implement the idea in his art classes.
It was the day after Valentine’s Day that I walked into my upper division Short Fiction class at UC Berkeley to find a stranger seated beside my professor. He introduced himself as Larry Smith, a close collaborator of my professor Melanie Abrams, and asked if anyone in the room had heard of Six-Word Memoirs, the short-f0rm storytelling website he started.