A 6 Word Story and A 4 Slide Sales Pitch

I heard an amazing graphic designer say something about loving restrictions because they force creativity (a great podcast from SXSW). That’s something we ought to use, as well as do, in teaching.

So let’s start by restricting the students . . .

6 Word Stories
This is a great way to get students focused on story elements and on clear, concise language. They’d also be great writing prompts. This link is to Say It Better where I found the post and this one is to a much larger list of 6 word stories at Wired. Some of the examples have non-school safe language so you probably won’t want to send students right there.

My favorites-

With bloody hands, I say good-bye.
– Frank Miller

Machine. Unexpectedly, I’d invented a time
– Alan Moore

This assignment forces a lot of deep processing and creativity. You could also use it as an option for your vocabulary work with bonuses for good “stories” with more than one vocab word in them (used correctly of course). You might want to expand the word limit but make things hard for your students. Difficult and creative is the opposite of boring.

4 Slide Sales Pitch
It’s similar in idea to dy/dan’s four slide sales pitch.

how well you can sell yourself in four (4) picture-only slides. No audio, no video, no hyperlinks, no multimedia miscellany. Just pictures and text. Make us want you.

This is another great way to get students (and teachers) thinking about economy in how they present information. This is really higher level thinking and I like the combination of visuals and words that the presentation option allows.

There are lots of ways to use this and focus it on content as well. A four slide bio of Ghengis Khan. A four slide summary of whatever. Then you can embed the slide shows or stories in WordPress blog posts with the star ratings plugin and let your kids vote on their favorites- instant interaction, real world audience and content review, mix in some comments and you could even get peer editing going on.

You could even combine the two and come up with a four picture 6 word story (or go crazy and give them 10 words). Maybe one week you pick the pictures and the next week the student who “wins” the contest picks them.

Comments on this post

  1. Dan Meyer said on September 25, 2007 at 9:03 pm

    Awesome extensions …

  2. Eric P said on October 3, 2007 at 4:37 am

    Someone famous once said, “I would have said less, if I had had more time.” I think the idea of restricting content will elevate conciseness and message conveyance. Please report back on progress.

  3. Tom Woodward said on October 3, 2007 at 6:14 am


    My dad always uses the T.S. Elliot “If I had more time, I’d have written a shorter letter” quote. There’s something to that for sure. Brevity while maintaining message clarity is really difficult.

    It looks like I’ll be joining you at UR. I accepted the academic technology consultant position. I look forward to meeting you in person at some point.


Trackbacks and Pingbacks on this post

  1. dy/dan » Blog Archive » The New Hotness: Bionic Teaching said on September 26, 2007 at 8:33 am

    […] more often than not. ¶ You know that feeling? Like you’ve come home? ¶ Be sure to check their slick classroom integration of our Four Slide Sales […]

  2. Restricting DS106 « Bionic Teaching said on December 17, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    […] 6 word stories […]