Mashup: Painful Poetry, Cliffhanger Prose, Six Word Memoirs and Existential Questions

I want to begin with a quote from Susan Turley today that I loved, “You should never do a project to please me- always to please yourself, but I’ll just tell you some things I like.”

Her students are getting ready to start their first Thematic Studies projects where they will incorporate non-fiction, analysis of The Lord of the Flies, and public speaking skills.  The brainstorming brought about a lot of really interesting questions to explore for the projects.


If you can’t read them, these are some of my favorites:

  • What elements can deteriorate one’s sense of humanity?
  • What makes an individual able to rise above the social constructs others cannot?
  • What role does ritual play in society?
  • How does society create false realities?

Here are some six word memoirs written by Mandy Fetty’s students.

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This is the official six word memoir website  and here is the teen version.  This NPR story has a gallery of visual six word memoirs on the left which could be used as a visual for students.  You can also order the books if you like your sources in hard copy.

Tim Starkey’s ninth grade class read a story without an ending that got a man’s house burned down and his children kidnapped called “The Lady or the Tiger?” by Frank Stockton.  I also found this video on Youtube of someone reading the story, just in case you don’t have the gripping narrative skills he demonstrated for his students.

In Leslie Harris’ class, students read a compelling poem called My Papa’s Waltz by Theodore Roethke and then analyzed the poem to see whether it was about an abusive father or a loving dance.  I heard many students having genuine debate on the issue and citing evidence to support the claims they made.

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