Hey friends! I’ve got a picture-heavy post for you today, so grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and settle in.
So, for years… basically since I started my career, I’ve been teaching personal narrative writing to my middle schoolers. Recently, my district started to tweak a few things in our curriculum and so for this year, we replaced that unit with memoir.
I had to do some research to find out the difference between the two and I found this is a pretty murky area. But here is a decent explanation:
Anyway, when I taught personal narrative, I usually did make the kids reflect on their feelings/lessons learned from the experience, event, person, place they wrote about. So, for me, there wasn’t much of a difference. But, I decided to take this an opportunity to shake up my old plans and work in some new stuff. I have just over five weeks (27 lessons) sketched out.
What I hope to do is basically give you a run down of the Memoir Unit that I’m teaching. This is only what I’ve done up until February 7th!! I have a basic overview of all five weeks of the unit mapped out, but I won’t have more specific lessons until I teach them. This is because I may have to change things up in my overall plan due to student needs. Therefore, you need to stay tuned for the next several days of lessons!!
Objective: SWBAT collect important memories from their lives and identify the emotion that each on evokes.
I showed the movie “Inside Out” and then we created a list in our notebooks of different memories that evoke the five emotions portrayed in the movie. You can borrow my images below. Just right-click on each one and copy & paste them into a document or slide show to print. Please note: I cannot sell or share with you ANY materials that feature the pictures of the “movie stars” from this film. Those images are trademarked and unless you have explicit permission (which Disney does not often give out) you are not allowed to use them!! If you’ve bought TpT materials that feature Disney characters, please know you are purchasing an illegal product. You will see that I altered the following images for my students to include the “Inside Out” characters. I found those images through a Google search and just placed them on top of the memory circles. You can easily do the same if you wish.
Objective: SWBAT identify characteristics of memoir.
Define memoir and discuss. Share the picture book, The Other Side, by Jacqueline Woodson and discuss why this book is considered a memoir. Give students a chance to look at all the examples of memoir we have in our classroom library. Please note: Prior to teaching this unit, I pulled lots of memoir examples from our classroom library and put them in special “Memoir” bins. We will refer to these often to guide our own writing.
Objective: SWBAT recognize how places from our younger years inspire memoir writing.
Show students the maps from the front of Fletcher’s Marshfield Dreams and Spinelli’s Knots in My Yo-Yo String. Share with students the student memoir model from the Narrative Writing Unit (Vol. 2), “The House of Four Leaf Clovers,” showing them how one former 7th graders wrote a memoir about a special place from her childhood. Have students create their own maps of their neighborhoods. Be sure to create your own version so students can see your model.
Objective: SWBAT recognize how memoir writers use descriptive language and sensory details to create a sense of place.
Read the first chapter in Marshfield Dreams, “Marshfield,” and have students highlight the words and phrases that help the reader visualize the places Fletcher talks about. Have students practice “Writing Like Ralph” and create their own piece about a place important from their maps they created yesterday. Please note: I have worked a lot this year with explicitly teaching my kids how to use mentor texts to influence their writing. I always start with this lesson. You also want to be sure to create your own draft to share with students. While they are writing, I draft on a Google Doc projected onto the big screen and then share my draft with students when finished.
Okay! So that’s pretty much what I’ve been doing the last two weeks. Stay tuned for an update to see how the rest of the unit is coming along 🙂
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