Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A Powerful Story Telling Strategy: Creating Six-Word Stories with Video

Think about a recent story you have told to family, friends, colleagues, or students. Now imagine telling that same story in six words.  The Six Word Story was born when Ernest Hemingway was challenged to write a single story in six words, which led to him creating the following story:  "For Sale: baby shoes, never worn."  That story has inspired many to write their own six word stories.  Don Goble (@dgoble2001) is now working to spread his own version of the six word story that takes it to a new level by coupling those six words with 6 video/images used to bring those words to life in less than 30 seconds.  A powerful and challenging way for students and educators to tell any story. As I sat listening to Don’s presentation last week at iPadPalooza Indiana (@iPadpaloozaIN) hosted by Noblesville School District I couldn’t help but think of all the possibilities and ways that teachers could use this in their classrooms.   

As educators, stories are one of the most powerful strategies we can use to connect and teach our students.  It is also a great way for students to show their learning and to tell their own stories.  No matter what subject students are studying, six word stories could be an effective way to challenge students to show their understanding of a concept.  I could see students in English class summarizing the theme of a novel or summarizing a single chapter.  Students showing a math or science concept while they could summarize a historical event.  But I think teachers and even administrators should take on this same challenge.  Teachers could tell a story about themselves or their classroom.  Administrators could tell the story or vision of their school or district.  The possibilities are endless.  

The key to success according to Goble is the planning.  He encourages students to go beyond their first idea before picking up their device and requires them to spend time planning out their story before turning on the camera.  One strategy he uses is to have students fill out a storyboard showing their shots and what would be happening in each scene.  This is one area I know I came up short when having my students create videos.  As I reflect on different video projects I have done with my students I know I didn’t guide them enough in the planning stages, and as a result, the videos often suffered in overall quality.  I encourage teachers to check out his informative iBook, which I have included below, and take on the challenge of writing their own six word stories.  Then find ways for your students to do the same.  I am looking forward to taking on the challenge myself.  So now the only question is, what will be your six word story?  

Written by Jeffrey Bernadt


  1. I'm honored you chose to write about this topic Jeffery. I'm very glad this idea resonated with you and hope other educators feel the same way. Please be sure to share your students' stories!

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