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Lesson Plans

When I Was Little: A Memoir of a Kindergartener

Grade: 4-5
The student will write a four-page memoir using their voice with illustrations or photos.

Alphabetical Autobiographies: Lesson Plan for Writing Autobiographies and Memoirs
Grade: K-12
Each of the twenty six letters must be used in sequence to create the autobiography. The autobiography can be one page, twenty six paragraphs or twenty six pages depending upon the size of the project and the age of the student. The letters are used to inspire memories to add to the autobiography.

Teaching Students to Write a Memoir
Grade: 2-6
Teaching students to write effective memoirs gives them an opportunity to build on their own memories as they learn to paint pictures with words. Using the writing process as a framework, teachers can guide students to create effective personal writing. By teaching mini-lessons, modeling, and analyzing examples, they can lead students to include thought shots and snapshots that will warm the hearts of their readers.

All About Me
Grade: 3
This unit is an interactive approach to learning about ourselves, our heritage, and the interviewing process. Writing processes and conventions are addressed as detailed in the Core Knowledge Sequence. This unit allows teachers to look at each student’s individual strengths, accomplishments, dreams, and lets each student discover his own uniqueness.

Teaching Students to Read and Write a Memoir
Grade: 4-8
This unit combines a group of lessons designed to teach students the skills and strategies involved in writing a memoir and reading a variety of literary works. The unit was designed for middle school students, but lessons can easily be adapted for use with younger or older students.

A Moment Like This: Memoir
Grade: 4-8
Students will focus on the traits of word choice and idea development. Students will use the lesson's graphic organizer to brainstorm sensory details and pre-plan the words they will use in their writing. The graphic organizer will also help students focus on how they specifically felt and what they thought in the particular moment.

Memoir: The Stuff of Our Lives
Grade: 4
In this unit, students will explore the genre of memoir. They will see that writers write about the ordinary happenings of their lives and that their own lives are packed with meaningful experiences and memories that can form the basis of their own writing. Students will be encouraged to reflect upon the significance of remembered events and to keep a notebook of their thoughts and feelings.

Living to Tell the Tale
Grade: 4-6
Students read an excerpt from the memoir by Gabriel García Márquez, work with vocabulary words, and write a brief autobiographical piece.

Teacher Center: Memoir
Grade: 4-6
To move my students into writing memoirs, we began a genre study where we would focus on reading to understand how to write. The genre study would last over several lessons.

Picturing the Past
Grade: 5-8
Students will:

  1. Examine and discuss the meaningful photographs of class members.
  2. Learn about why it is difficult to throw away photographs or memorabilia by reading and discussing the article “Out of a Packing Box, Not Stuff, but Souls.
  3. Participate in a writing and editing workshop to create personal memory stories.
  4. Rewrite drafts of their memory stories.

Outlining and Planning
Grade: 6-8
After selecting a topic, developing ideas and details comes next for students. To help in this process, students create an outline or plan for a memoir. Memoir outlining and planning makes the writing process easier.

Memories Matter: The Giver and Descriptive Writing Memoirs
Grade: 6-8
In this lesson that tightly integrates personal writing, research, and thematic response to literature, students discuss the importance of having a recorded history of humanity. As they explore this topic, they gain a deeper understanding of the horror of Jonas’s dystopian society in Lois Lowry’s The Giver. This understanding generates a keen interest in and context for the descriptive writing of students’ own history. Students gather ideas from several sources, including their own memories, interviews, and photographs, and then write their own descriptive memoirs.

When I Was Young in Brooklyn
Grade: 6-12
Students will be able to identify various techniques used in memoirs. Reflect on similarities and differences between two authors. Use the Internet to read about authors. Improve descriptive writing skills. Work cooperatively with a "revision and editing" partner. Draft, revise and produce a finished memoir using various software and technology tools.

Alphabetical Autobiography
Grade: 7-12
Students write a 26-page alphabetical autobiography, in the format of an elementary school alphabet book. "A is for Alabama. I was born in Alabama, and . . . " Encourage writing and expression on "real" topics of interest; hone editing, grammar, and writing skills. Students will be able to write vivid descriptions of events/places/people of importance. Students will be able to edit their own/others' work.

All the World’s a Stage
Grade: 9-12
In this lesson, students will analyze the effective story-telling or literary techniques used by playwright George Stevens, Jr. in his historical play “Thurgood”. They will then write their own scenes depicting a critical event in a significant person’s life for performance or publication.

A Life Lived Well
Grade: 9-12
Students will: 

  1. Brainstorm descriptive words and phrases that describe themselves.
  2. Learn about the life and career of a New York Times journalist by reading and discussing the article “R.W. Apple, a Times Journalist in Full, Dies at 71.”
  3. Write found poems based on the words and phrases found in the obituary.
  4. Write autobiographical obituaries that imagine their own lives and future accomplishments.

Family Memoir: Getting Acquainted With Generations Before Us
Grade: 9-12
After reading a short memoir and reviewing the genre, students choose how to create a memoir of a family member who is at least a generation older. Students first select a family member to interview, and then craft a set of interview. Students create written memoirs, focusing on one or two unifying themes, and can be presented as a photographic collage, a series of panels telling a story, a painting, a video, a musical composition, a sculpture, or another creative way. Students accompany their work with an artist’s journal, explaining why they have chosen the particular method of presentation and analyzing their own successes and shortcomings.

Unearthing Family Memories
Grade: 9-12
Students will write memoirs unearthing their family roots.

A Differentiated Instruction Lesson Plan Aimed at Understanding of the Creative Nonfiction Subgenre: Memoir
Grade: 9-12
Objectives: At the end of this class, students will be able to describe the components of their chosen task; present their topic utilizing creativity and originality; and be able to recognize creative nonfiction criteria in the subgenre of memoir.

Life Writing Unit Plans
Grade: 11
Objectives: At the end of this unit, students will be able to distinguish elements of life writing; discuss and exploreof fictional elements as they overlap with life writing; discover the meanings of truth and the ways memories are shaped; comprehend how the writer deliberately chooses detail, images, memory for purpose particularly in One Writer’s Beginnings; out of class read an autobiography or memoir as a member of a group who will present the work to the class explaining the features of life writing in the work; compare an actual event with a remembered or reinterpreted way of seeing it (for use with “Where Is The Voice Coming From?” and brainstorm, write, revise, peer edit, and re-write a personal life writing (narrative) essay.

How to Write Your Memoir
All ages
Everyone has a story to tell: their own. This is where writing a memoir comes into play. A memoir is simply writing that depicts a small part of a person's life. 

All ages
This is aan online journal column that explores the author's own writing in memoir pieces, reviews other writers' memoirs, examines the meaning of memoir as a genre and advice on how to write your own memoir.

How to Write a Memoir
All ages
You don't have to be famous, or in your sixties, to write a memoir. With these memoir writing ideas, anyone can do it. You can even begin young and keep writing as the days go by. Just follow these tips on how to write a memoir, and give yourself the recognition and importance you deserve!

Writing Memoir and Personal Story: How to write about yourself without boring your audience.
All ages
Here is instruction on how to write a memoir and how to write a personal story - learning the art and craft of writing about yourself without boring your audience.

Create a Memoir Be Me
All ages
The MBM Album is a "Create Your Own" Memoir Book. You do the work, but this website lays out the plan. Of course nothing is set in stone. Your memoir is a very personal project, so it's expected that you'll want to add your own personal touch.