Spotlight On Strategies: Change It Up! Six Word Stories

Welcome to a special SOS Top Ten series called Change It Up. For years you’ve told us the best part of the SOS is their adaptability for use across grade levels and content areas.

In this series, we take tried and true Spotlight on Strategies (CDN Version) instructional ideas and share ways to adjust or adapt for your classroom.

We’d love to know what your favorite adaptations are; visit the DEN Online Community to share more ideas!

Change It Up:

Strategy: Six Word Story (CDN Version)

Big idea: By writing a summary with a limited number of words, students must focus on the important ideas and become thoughtful in their word choice. The purpose of this strategy is for students to discern the most important ideas and summarize information for any topic by studying an image, video, or article.

In any subject…

… encourage students to close-read a primary source image by summing up what they’ve learned from the image in a Six Word Story.

…use Six Word Stories to help students capture the most important parts they’ve found in a piece of multimodal text. Clare Devine made this suggestion in the DEN Community:

“Depending on the grade level, I like to begin with just having kids write a Six Word Story that describes what they just read or viewed [in a media selection]. That’s exactly six words (not five, not seven). Then, I ask for a Six Word Story main idea. Next, I require Six Word Story detail. After we do this, I pair kids, each having a detail. They have to come up with a sentence (not necessarily six words) that is a main idea that covers both Six Word Story details.  This is a great blended strategy for Language Arts and whatever the content is (Science, Social Studies, etc.)”

…ask students to reflect on what they’ve learned using a Six Word Story, but increase the expectation by asking them to write from a specific perspective or point of view. Jeannie Runyon and Brittany Myrick shared how they do this in SOS Story.

…try mashing up (combining) Six Word Story with SOS Four To One (CDN Version). This gives students a chance to combine visuals and text to convey a powerful message!

In professional development sessions…

…use Six Word Story to gain a sense of the participants’ prior knowledge about a topic. This will help you differentiate for the adult learners in the room.

As a contest or challenge…

… encourage students to participate in a Six Word Story challenge from the Six Word Memoirs project. The organization has support materials, teaching ideas, and other resources for you!



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