I Can't Keep My Own Secrets

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One life. Six words. What's yours?

True tales of love, loss, good friends, and bad hair days filled Not Quite What I Was Planning, the New York Times bestselling first book in the Six-Word Memoir series—and an international phenomenon. Some of the most compelling were by teens, so now SMITH Magazine has compiled a book written entirely by these bold, brash truth-tellers. From cancer to creativity, prom dates to promiscuity, and breaking hearts to breaking laws, the memoirs in this collection reveal that often the youngest writers have the most fascinating stories to tell.

Met online; love before first sight.

Hair's pink to piss you off.

I fulfilled my awkwardness quota today.

I'm seventeen, engaged, and not pregnant.

My mom had my boyfriend deported.

Late for school every single day.

According to Facebook, we broke up.

Curriculet Details
47 Questions
89 Annotations
1 Quiz

Designed for students in 9th and 10th grade, this free digital curriculum contains annotations explaining historical references, popular culture allusions and word choice. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension, such as videos about theme and alliteration. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions related to the subjects of vocabulary, figurative language, and theme. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

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This is the story of six….

A memoir is a type of literary non-fiction. It focuses primarily on a person's life story, memories, and significant experiences. Many memoirs retell the lives of famous people who have risen above tragic moments or dysfunctional relationships. 
Ernest Hemingway was an American author known for his compact writing style. He was both a novelist and short story writer. Some of his best known works are The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms. 
One of the interesting "spin-offs" is this website: http://www.sixwordstories.net (This annotation contains a link)
PostSecret is a website that compiles secrets which have been created compiled or drawn on mailed postcards, that cover a variety of personal topics.  (This annotation contains a link)

Begin Reading

Perhaps the "born in the wrong decade" notion is widespread?  (This annotation contains a link)
What material possession do you own in multiples? What sparked you to purchase more than one of the same thing? 
Obituaries are a way of summarizing a deceased person's accomplishments, jobs, and family connections. For what would most people like to be remembered? Write five to seven sentences expressing your point of view on this issue. 
If you had to categorize the entries on this page by theme, what themes would you choose? 
Hopeline is a national effort to promote suicide prevention. Their website offers some useful resources.  (This annotation contains a link)
The notion of the reliable versus unreliable narrator is interesting when considering first-person narratives. Determining whether or not a writer is telling the truth can be complicated. 
What are your top four fears? 
People also say, "The best things in life are free."  (This annotation contains an image)
Blowing bubbles, for this writer, might indicate a desire to hold on to the more carefree activities of childhood. What are some "childish pursuits" that provide you with happiness? 
The idea of "creative license" corresponds to the idea that a person can take charge of his or her own ideas, placing the responsibility of the product solely on the creator. 
Nada y pues nada means "nothing and well nothing". 
How is the final entry on this page (I'm deaf, but she can't hear) a paradox -- a statement that at first seems contradictory but upon further thought holds true? 
Bulimia is an eating disorder characterized by periods of overeating and purging. Getting help with an eating disorder is important to a person's physical and emotional health.  (This annotation contains a link)
What are the pros and cons of Wikipedia? In other words, is having quick access to information both a blessing and a curse? Explain. 
What's a choice that you have made that you later regretted? 
Has the selfie craze gone too far? Why or why not? Explain.  (This annotation contains a link)
The original axiom is "Variety is the spice of life." 
Myspace is a social media platform that preceded Facebook. It was well known for launching musical careers as many users posted songs for others to discover. 
Which two entries on this page use alliteration, or repetition of the initial sound of a word? 
Use the define feature to discover the meaning of reciprocated. What word below is the best replacement for this sentence? 
It is important to know the signs and symptoms of depression as it impacts about 10 percent of teenagers.  (This annotation contains a link)
One Tree Hill was a TV series which chronicled the lives of fictional high school students. It aired from 2003 - 2012 on the WB network. 
It is widely thought that hippie grew out of the word hipster. The hippie movement was a countercultural experiment that began in the early 1960s. 
Texas Pete is a hot sauce.  (This annotation contains an image)
"Straight and narrow" has an interesting juxtaposition to "straight to hell." Do you find this statement ironic? Why or why not? 
What is hypnotism?  (This annotation contains a video)
Hogwarts is the name of the school that Harry Potter attends in the popular book series.  (This annotation contains an image)
Play-doh, sidewalk chalk, cotton candy, or even chlorine from a pool are some of the smells of childhood. What are other smells associated with childhood? Record some vivid memories from your younger days. 
What is a wallflower? 
How should people be defined -- by their talents? by their character? by their intelligence? Write three to five sentences in order to share your opinion. 
Use the Define feature to discover the meaning of angst. What word below is the best antonym, or word opposite in meaning? 
David Bowie is a British singer and songwriter who is well known for his eccentric costumes and hairstyles.  (This annotation contains an image)
Hebrew School is a structured religious education program for Jewish children. When preparing for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, which marks the passage at age 12 in to adult status in the Jewish faith, boys and girls learn to read prayers and Bible passages in Hebrew. 
To what does statistic refer? What are some of the statistics which are unique and specific to tweens and teens in 2014? 
Insanity can be defined literally (a mental health condition) or more broadly (chaos and disorder). Write three to five sentences on how you understand and evaluate this statement. 
If you're a high school student, how would you define this statement? What factors exist that make many high schools very similar? Evaluate why. 
PHK is the aiport code for Phoenix, AZ and PDX is the airport code for Portland, OR. 
These authors are all major figures in the span of classic literature. Kurt Vonnegut is a unique author to consider. He wrote Breakfast of Champions and Slaughterhouse-Five. This video brings to life one of his letters.  (This annotation contains a link)
Does the clothing store, Wet Seal, represent the current generation? If so, why? If not, why not?  (This annotation contains a link)
"Roots are shallow, wings are broken" seems symbolic. What do you think each represents? 
Here is a photo of a septum ring.  (This annotation contains an image)
In many of the Southern states, children are taught to respond "Yes, sir" or "No, ma'am". This blog article gives a perspective on the issue.  (This annotation contains a link)
Learn more about autism on this link.  (This annotation contains a link)
Speed Racer was an animated show that aired in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  (This annotation contains a video)
For the current generation, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan define one's first hand knowledge of loss as the Korean and Vietnam wars did for other recent generations. Comment on any first hand experience with current military or veterans of this conflict. 
This organization takes pride in helping returning soldiers and their families.  (This annotation contains a link)
This six word story sounds similar to Mean Tweets.  (This annotation contains a video)
This site gives some interesting facts, figures, and perspectives on teen pregnancy.  (This annotation contains a link)
What word would be the best replacement for exonerated? 
Bipolar disorder is frequently misunderstood.  (This annotation contains a video)
Do you feel pressured to achieve certain scores on standardized test? Why or why not? 
This video gives a version of the novel in under ten minutes. Watch it and consider your own reaction.  (This annotation contains a video)
Scientific American unravels how the brain becomes addicted to gambling.  (This annotation contains a link)
Who is your hero? Write six to eight sentences which describe your chosen person and his or her role in your life. 
Watching something grow from a seed in to an actual plant or tree is fascinating.  
Usually, the figure of speech is "not my cup of tea". 
Explusion is being asked to leave a school. Students are expelled for a wide variety of reasons that usually involve breaking school policies or local laws. 
Two of the entries (on this page and the previous page) mention "the future". Teens spend a lot of time considering what they would like to do when they get older. 
The Japanese believe that folding a certain number of paper cranes will bring luck.  (This annotation contains an image)
Peter Pan is a young boy who wants to stay a child forever.  (This annotation contains an image)
David Sedaris is an American writer known for his dry humor and apt social commentary.  (This annotation contains a link)
Aspergers is a syndrome on the autistic spectrum. People with aspergers are generally intelligent but often lack the ability to read social cues.  (This annotation contains a link)
Use the Define feature to discover the meaning of solace. What word below is the best replacement in this context? 
What are four things that are hard to understand in your life? 
What are three phrases that you could use to label your various identities? 
Edward Cullen is one of the main characters in the Twilight trilogy. 
Dyslexia is often first noted when a student is struggling to learn to read.  (This annotation contains a link)
This page has two entries that present an inspiration: a singer inspired by her grandmother and an actress inspired to do something different than her cheerleader sisters. 
If you had to select only three adjectives about yourself, what would you choose? Why do these words fit you best? 
Down Syndrome is also called Trisomy 21. Educate yourself about Down Syndrome by visiting this website.  (This annotation contains a link)
What is something  -- either a new skill or a unique talent -- that you have learned to do on your own, without direct instruction? 
"True Colors" is also the name of a hit song by Cyndi Lauper. The song speaks to the idea of being a unique individual.  (This annotation contains a video)
This is a good moment within this work to pause and consider some of the main messages or life lessons. These themes of what it means to grow up and discover one's interests and abilities are wide ranging.  (This annotation contains a video)
Guilt, in response to memories of abuse, is not uncommon. Victims often ally themselves with the abuser and blame themselves for the continued abuse. 
Do you know the story of how your name was chosen? If so, record it here. 
Asperger's is a syndrome on the autistic spectrum which is marked by difficulty with social interaction and sometimes involves repetitive behaviors. People with Aspergers are generally of above average intelligence. 
Since this text is written in first person point of view, it's interesting to keep in mind how perspective influences our response to the work.  (This annotation contains a video)
Technicolor is a color motion picture process known for its vibrant display. The logo gives you an idea of the intended visual effect. (This annotation contains an image)
Who has saved your life? How? Why? 
Make a connection between the image on the top of the page and one of the statements on the page. Write three to five sentences to explain your choice and examine your interpretation. 
Punctuation choices play special roles in the four stories on this page. Explain how one of the statements would be different if constructed in a slightly different way. 
What does the phrase "walking on eggshells" mean?  
To which statement on this page do you relate with most? Explain in two to four sentences. 
Yale, a member of the Ivy League, has a less than 10% acceptance rate.  (This annotation contains a link)
The "little blue box" has become a symbol of romance and status.  (This annotation contains a link)
Oreo is a casual (and offensive to some) way to reference a person who is both black and white in terms of ethnicity. 
What word would best replace nonconformist in this sentence? 
Do you have a unique physical feature that defines you? If so, explain. 
T. S. Eliot wrote, "To make an end is to make a beginning, the end is where we start from." 
Winged sandals have connections to Greek mythology, specifically to Hermes, the messenger god.  (This annotation contains an image)
Everyone has something to contribute. If life is thought of as a poem, what will your verse be? (This annotation contains a video)
How are cheer captains and valedictorians usually stereotyped? 
What is a burn book?  (This annotation contains a link)
What unit(s) of measurement do you use to evaluate your life? 
OCD stands for obsessive-compulsive disorder.  (This annotation contains a link)
Identify statements on this page which rely on irony. 
Skeletons in the closet is an interesting idiom.  (This annotation contains a link)
Insulin is an injectable drug used by diabetics to balance their blood sugar levels. 
True Hollywood Story is a daily fixture on the E! Entertainment Network.  (This annotation contains a link)
What was your childhood fantasy? Describe it in six words. 
TBA is an abbreviation for To Be Announced. 
Do you think it is important to learn from your mistakes? Evaluate if this is a practice you apply in your own life in four to six sentences. 
What word is the best replacement for deported in this context? 
Read about the impact of technology on our brains.  (This annotation contains a link)
The occult is often used to describe supernatural powers or dark magic. There are some commons symbols associated with the occult.  (This annotation contains an image)
FanFic is short for fan fiction. Writers of FanFic uses the characters, settings, and styles of other writers as a starting point for their own stories.  (This annotation contains a link)
What is it like to attend boarding school?  (This annotation contains a link)
Androgyny is characterized by an equal expression of male and female traits.  (This annotation contains a link)
Scrubs was a TV series that ran from 2001 - 2010. It used a unique filming method with multiple narrators.  (This annotation contains a link)
Usually, it's a love triangle -- or relationship issue involving three people. 
Prince Charming is the stock, stereotypical hero who rushes in to save the day by making the princess fall madly in love.  (This annotation contains an image)
A series on A&E shed light on hoarding, a serious issue for those impacted by this disorder.  (This annotation contains a link)
Hannah Montana is the show that launched the career of Miley Cyrus.  (This annotation contains a link)
It is a fact that Harvard will cover the full financial need of poor students who have been accepted.  (This annotation contains a link)
Ellen is well known for welcoming "everyday people" as guests on her popular daytime show.  (This annotation contains a link)
Swedish Fish are a popular gummy candy.  (This annotation contains an image)
A pallindrome is a word that is spelled the same forward and backward. 
Hurricane Katrina impacted New Orleans and other southern cities in late August and early September 2005. 
Holden Caulfield is the main character in J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. 
The Bell Jar is a semi-autobiographical novel by Sylvia Plath.  (This annotation contains a link)
A filibuster is a technique used in the United State Senate to prolong a debate.  
What six words define your daily schedule? 
Silver spandex is indeed a bold fashion choice.  (This annotation contains an image)
What is the best antonym, or word opposite in meaning, for frivolity? 
Mr. Darcy is the iconic love interest in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.  (This annotation contains a link)
Guitar Hero is a rock band game that pits players against challenging songs.  (This annotation contains a link)
If you could have one superpower, which would you choose? Why? 
Most Mormons marry people of their own faith because of their unique views on marriage.  (This annotation contains a link)
Why do you think this writer juxtaposes humble and legendary? 
"All I know is I don't" appears to be a paradox. Explain how it is actually true. 
The use of parallel structure here is quite effective. Repeating stepped makes a very dramatic impact for each line. 
An Etch A Sketch is a toy with a screen and two knobs. The knobs are twisted to drag a stylus across the screen to draw an image. This screen is clearly done by a professional artist as most images on this toy are far more basic.  (This annotation contains an image)