6 Word Stories for Learning Content

6wordI’ve noticed that since I’ve begun learning from my online PLN, I like to tweak my own learning and adapt it to the classroom. Well, come to think of it, that ‘s probably the whole point of #etmooc & PLNs. In this case, I decided to try using 6 word stories for kids learning content in social studies. We’re just beginning to learn about Ancient Greece in my grade 7 social studies class. The kids are really keen to start on inquiry projects, and when I asked them about their project ideas, most either chose the Olympics or the Greek gods — not that there’s anything wrong with that — but I thought that they ought to broaden some of their background knowledge before deciding on a topic.

We actually have a pretty decent textbook, so I had the kids get into groups to read and interpret short pieces of text on various topics on ancient Greece. In their respective groups, I asked them to communicate what they’d read in only 6 words, reminding them to use different parts of speech, (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs) that link together. The conversations that ensued were vigorous, animated, and clearly engaged the students in higher level thinking. We learned that it’s more difficult to communicate with so few words, but at the same time, the task forced us to unearth the essence or essentials of the information being read. Once they’d made their decisions, the words, along with a header for the topic they were learning about, were written (with a bit of aesthetic embellshment) on a long strip of paper. Each group then shared their 6 word stories with the rest of the class and explained to the others why those words were chosen.

Thumbs up, all around, when asked about how they enjoyed the activity. It was a great way to bring the material to life and grapple with some of the ideas. A nice switch from note-taking! Here some samplings:

Topic: Structure of the Greek City State
6 word story: Bustling Agora Dominated Acropolis Built Jobs

Topic: Being a Woman in Ancient Greece
6 word story: Rights Limited Responsibility Permission Death Sparta

Topic: Sports in Ancient Greece
6 word story: Athletic Males Compete God Honouring Olympics

Topic: Growing Up in Ancient Greece
6 word story: Baby Responsibilities Mandatory Service Citizenship

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