This writing unit teaches students how to compose engaging memoirs by learning from a mentor text. The mentor text I chose was The Other Side of the Sky by Farah Ahmedi (published by Simon & Schuster, 2005). However, you could use any memoir you’d like. My experience was extremely positive as I found that even reluctant writers were interested in writing their own memoir and it was a great way to cover the narrative writing standards. I also appreciated the exposure this gave students to another type of nonfiction genre. The unit was designed for ninth grade students but could easily be adapted for older or younger grade levels.
This unit incorporates the narrative writing standards from the common core. Language and informational text standards could easily be added according to your students' needs. You will find lesson plans, handouts, and assessments in this unit.
Basic Unit Outline:
Day 1: What is a memoir?
Day 2: Rough Draft of Memoir
Day 3: Rough Draft Part 2
Day 4: Engage the Reader
Day 5: Engage the Reader Assessment/Creating a Smooth Progression of Events Using Transitions
Day 6: Creating a Smooth Progression of Events Using Transitions
Day 7: Transitions Assessment
Day 8: Sensory Details
Day 9: Dialogue
Day 10: Word Choice
Day 11: Sensory Details, Dialogue, & Word Choice Assessment/Revise Memoirs
Day 12: Conclusion and Reflection
Day 13: Conclusion and Reflection Assessment/Self-Assessment
Day 14: Review and Self-Assessment
Days 15-16: Type/Revise
Day 17: Edit
Day 18: Peer Edit
Day 19: Final Revision and Editing/Print Memoirs
Day 20: Memoir Celebration