The Six Word Story

May 12, 2009
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In an attempt to upgrade the students’ experience with documentaries, I decided to use the Six Word Story concept and have the students summarize the 50-minute documentary in six words or less.
They struggled with the first try, but we had some great insights. They tried, and most of them gave it their all. Examples coming soon.

Old Lesson Plan:

  • Watch video
  • Take notes
  • Discuss

Upgraded Lesson Plan:

  • Watch video
  • Write down single words that describe what you see
  • After video, circle the most important words (6 or 7 words)
  • Create a Six Word Summary of the documentary

Students were challenged to use insight and judgment in order to write an extremely concise summary. Ideas like symbolism, drawing on common experiences, and evaluating information were explored.
In their lifetime, these kids will see more data than all of humankind combined since the first human being spoke to the second one. Even if the exercise seems extreme at the onset, it really is a standard and necessary tool for this generation. Imagine researching every single resource on the Web, and then confining that down to a ten page paper. Could you do it? Is it any different than 50 minutes of documentary compressed to six words?

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