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6 Word Digital Memoirs

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Keywords: book, memoir, video, youtube, autobiography, photography, documentary, illustration
Subject(s): Art, Video, Technology, Writing, Reading, Photography, English/Language Arts
Grades 6 through 12
School: Campbell Co High School, Alexandria, KY
Planned By: Brian Harmon
Original Author: Brian Harmon, Alexandria
Learning Objectives:
Students will:
• Learn about 6 word memoirs.
• Summarize popular fairy tales and stories using only 6 words.
• Apply the 6 word memoir process to their own lives and write their own life story in 6 words.
• Create an artwork video or blurb book illustrating through digital photography their own 6 word memoir.

Book: Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure by Rachel Fershleiser and Larry Smith (ISBN# 0061374059)
Fairy tale worksheets
Example videos
Digital cameras
PC or Laptop
Movie Maker program or Microsoft Photo Story 3

Lesson Outline (This lesson will span over several days. The steps are listed below in order. Feel free to break them up as your class time dictates.)

1. Discuss the idea of 6 word memoirs by reading Hemingway’s 6 word story --- “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”
2. Discuss how simplicity and minimal words can sometimes have the most impact.
3. Read several examples aloud from Not Quite What I Was Planning.
4. Show the memoir book promo video clip -- http://vimeo.com/335019
5. Hand out a worksheet with several well known fairy tales and characters listed (Cinderella, Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer, Humpty Dumpty, etc.) and have students tell each character’s story using only 6 words.
6. Have students write their own personal story in only 6 words. Peer edit until each student is happy with their memoir.
7. Show the memoir book promo video clip again (http://vimeo.com/335019) being sure to focus on how each image illustrates each memoir.
8. Using digital cameras, have the students shoot at least 12 images that illustrate their personal 6 word memoir.
9. Working in small groups, have students peer critique and edit down the 12 images to the strongest 6 images.
10. Using movie maker, have each student combine their images and 6 word memoir text to create a short clip like the example video.
11. Merge all of the clips together to form one class video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USzLQx-EEUw and have students post them to YouTube or a similar site.
12. Images can also be combined with text and then be submitted to Blurb.com. Blurb is a self publishing website. The memoirs and images can be combined on this site and then printed into an actual hardback book. See an example here – http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/590272


6 Word Memoirs at Smith magazine -- http://www.smithmag.net/
Not Quite What I Was Planning book promo video clip -- http://vimeo.com/335019
Finished video example -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USzLQx-EEUw
Finished Blurb book example -- http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/590272
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
This project easily combines English composition and art.
Have students submit their memoirs to Smith Magazine to be included in the next published book.
Materials: Digital Cameras, Point and Shoot, Yearbook, Digital SLR, Projectors, Art Tools, Video Tools, CDs and DVDs, Hard Drives, Printers, Camera Bags, Flash/USB Drives, Tripods, Batteries, Memory Cards, Cables, Power, Keyboards, Ports and Hubs, LCD Monitors, Mice, English/Language Arts, Writing, Web Page, Music, Internet Services, Integrating Technology