Sunday, March 29, 2015

March 29 - Still enjoying Memoir Unit

On Monday, the students shared their posters. When not sharing, the students took notes. They thought more about: What is memoir? What could memoir be? What is memoir NOT? and we charted this information.

Through this inquiry process, the 5th graders understand that memoir is both personal narrative and essay based on their past and the ideas related to that past memory or memories. They know it could include other genres like poetry, but doesn't have to. They know it is NOT fiction.

We then spent time on Tue-Thur generating MORE stories and ideas in our notebook after I shared and my co-partner shared the stories we have written (many from our Slice of Life work during the March Writing Challenge by TwoWritingTeachers!) As my co-teacher and I reflected Friday morning, we felt that they could use some guidance to get more into their notebook before having them choose and begin to draft. We realized that many were drafting long stories each day and not generating LOTS of story/idea to get more into the notebook in order to interpret for patterns and possible memoir drafts.

So, I decided to spend the whole class guiding the groups through QUICK WRITES.

1.Think of a person you spend time with and a memory you have spending time with that person.
I showed these sentence stems and told them to write:
Once I was with _____. I remember ____. I felt ____.

After about 4 minutes, I told them to draw a line.
2. Now think of a place you spend time. It can be a place in the neighborhood, a place you get to by car, train or airport. I showed these sentence stems and told them to write:
Once I went to _____. I remember _____. I felt____.

After 4 minutes, I told them to draw a line.
3. Now think about your life of 10-11 years. Most of those years has been spent in school.
Think JUST about Pre-K or K and your memories from that time.
Once I was in Pre-K / K at _____. I remember ____. I felt ______.

After 4 minutes, I told them to draw a line.
4. Now think about 1st, 2nd, 3rd grade....

After 4 minutes, a line was drawn.
5. Now think about 4th grade. Today at our school, the 4th grade is celebrating Heritage Day.
Maybe think about how you celebrated that last year OR any 4th grade memory.
Once in 4th grade _____. I remember ______. I felt _____.

6. After 4 minutes, 5th grade memory.

After 4 minutes, think about something you do outside of school.
7. Think about doing something outside of school that was challenging or made you feel shy.
Once I _____. I remember feeling challenged / shy when ______.

NOW you have 7 Quick writes! Let's try one more entry.
8. Think of an idea you have. Something you really believe and feel passionately about.
I feel that schools should teach writing as a class because it is such an important skill.
Those 3rd graders during Jamboree on Tuesday believe cancer needs to be cured. So much so that they are raising money for cancer research and they are raising awareness by shaving their own heads. What do you believe. If you need an IDEA, look at the chart we made during our Essay Unit about topics we have ideas about.

Pick an idea. Write: I believe that _______.
Now keep writing about your idea. As you write, I will say some elaboration prompts. Use the prompts to grow your idea.
In other words _____.  An example ______. I realize ______. To add on _____. Some people think ___ (the opposite of your idea) but I think _____. In conclusion ____.

We had 5 minutes to reflect before the end of class.
What do you think of your writing work today?
"This is the most I've ever written in a day."
"I see that sometimes, I wrote about a similar idea as I wrote stories."
"It was fast which was hard, but it got me to write lots."

I am grateful for my co-teacher who suggested this idea to guide all to write more FAST.

Next week - we PICK a topic to write our memoir about and draft it and begin revising it.
We also need a checklist to guide us. At the TCRWP Sat Reunion, I got some ideas for using checklists. I can't wait to try it out during this memoir unit!!

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