The mini essay, 6 word style, is a definite challenge for students in terms of understanding how to pick and choose words (diction) to make each word count. Of particular importance to the High School students when they begin essay applications, and must restrict themselves within a prescribed number of words, younger students too benefit from this form of word play; they may create a six word definition using words which a teacher supplies, or by first coming up with a series of words then deciding if the words relate to a topic. Initially six word style writing works best when done as a class then in mini “teams”. Each team may be given a particular word, a dictionary and a thesaurus, and a few sample six word “stories”. Ideally students begin by writing out way more than is needed for a particular blurb, then eliminate extraneous material until the focus is clear.
Here is an example: The essay in 6 words : Brainstorm, write it out, share, revise
– yes, I know we are encouraging students to use the internet and more and more online resources such as a mapped Thesaurus, however sometimes the tactile aspect of using books to look things up provides a different result. When students in the elementary to junior years are presented with the wonderfully visual texts that junior dictionaries have become, they almost immediately find themselves curious to learn more, distracted- a bit – but in a positive way, recognizing that these “old fashioned tools” may offer information in a “cool” way as well.
Six words about me: I love learning, and sharing results