Monday we took a break from Memoir because we got letters from our Pen Pals in France! I let the classes have the class period to read their letter and start to write back. The letters we got had photos and drawing included so I made it homework that the students would also draw or get a photo from home and add a caption. Monday's engagement in writing and creativity shown through words and pictures is strong evidence of how important authentic writing is. Because a student in France was going to read this letter and we had a letter asking us questions to respond to, my writers on Monday were so engaged and wrote long and strong and took time to spell correctly. Monday was a fun writing day!
Tuesday we took a break from Memoir writing because it was the last day of March and we were celebrating that I wrote every day in March as part of the TwoWritingTeacher's March Writing Challenge. More about that celebration is posted HERE.
Wednesday we got back to Memoir. I LOVE TCRWP!! The 5th grade Units for teaching writing workshop kit disk had a document that listed the checklist for narrative, essay and memoir in one grid across three columns! I took this and pasted the narrative and essay columns with skills listed to construction paper. I then cut up the memoir skills and placed them in an envelop. When classes arrived on Wed, I gave each table the construction poster and an envelop. Then took turns reading the skills for memoir writing and together decided where the skills went - under structure, development or conventions. I liked that all took see again how memoir is a combination of narrative and essay since the skill cards they were reading showed this. Then they spent the remainder of class rereading entries to see patterns across stories so they could pick their memoir idea and the storied they could tell as evidence of this idea. I love the MEMOIR CHECKLIST!!
Thursday, I modeled how I decided to write my lead. Since I honestly wasn't sure but I now had on my checklist what a lead is in memoir, I decided to look at the 6 mentor texts we had read. I typed up all 6 leads. During the mini-lesson, I read them and asked, did this author write a lead based on our checklist (I gave each student a checklist that just had the memoir skills on it)? Each time we could see how that author was stating an idea and was talking about their life and some were foreshadowing the story to come. Then I shared my lead and a plan of where I'd go next and my co-teacher's lead and a plan of where she'd go next.
Then I sent the writers off to write their lead and plan in their notebooks. Once it was there, they could go get a computer and start typing fast and furiously. As Thursday ended, most had their lead typed. Many had 2 paragraphs typed. All agreed to live with their memoir plan over the long weekend (no writing class on Friday due to half-day and no class on Monday as no school). On Tuesday, I plan to remind them of the process - writing a lead and then developing the stories as evidence for the idea. I plan to show them how I have drafted out my memoir. Then tell them to get busy typing!! That draft needs to get into the computer so the fun time of revision can occur!!
The plan is to revise next week - then have Spring Break - then have time to edit - then publish on Friday, April 24th. I got the idea to invite parents and grandparents and have them bring a memory with them, too. On the flier announcing the Memoir Publishing Party, I added:
Visitors are encouraged to complete this sentence to share:
“Looking back, I remember ___ and I realize now that _____.”
OR share a 6-word memoir (http://www.sixwordmemoirs.com/
I am loving this memoir unit!!