Thursday, April 23, 2009

some ideas for the next unit

the next unit will be writing a memoir, as per the end of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. so, what shall we do? i mean, we have to do something interesting, right? it can't just be a plain old thing, right? right.

so, they'll be writing a memoir. i think what i'm going to do is have it done incrementally (well, you have to!) i think what i've got going will try and last me until the second week of june is this:

1. introduce what a memoir is by way of quick lecture and activity...possibly spending a day or two on it, showing the different possibilities of memoir, having them explore them and maybe figure out what a memoir is all about, and why people would want to write a memoir in the first place.

2. an intense grammar unit that will go along with their actual memoir writing...i'll be using The Power of Grammar by mary ehrenworth and vicki's a wonderful book and is incredibly helpful in planning an "inquiry-based" approach to teaching grammar--so not just doing direct instruction, rather having the kids figure out the Why Use Grammar question themselves (with proper modeling, etc).

3. write a memoir--this will be in tandem with the grammar instruction, because the writing itself will fuel the grammar practice and revision. i think this will take a good two weeks to do, and if it takes longer than i'm not so worried about it. i'll plan two weeks for it and leave room. anyways, this'll funnel into the other part of my whole plan, which is...

4. wrapping it up. in their exploration of different forms of memoir, i'm going to introduce them to comic book/graphic novel style memoir; storycorps (check out, it's really pretty awesome); comic book diaries; traditional memoir/memoir in verse; and i had another idea, but i forget what it was. so, the idea is that they'd take their memoir and wrap it up into a different format, finally: either a story, a comic book diary/graphic novel, or a traditional memoir (in that case, it'd be more of a refining process than anything else...i might wann' work the kinks out of that).


...and Enide said...

Could you have them read passages from The Autobiography of Frederick Douglas?

Suddenly, Springfield said...

oh yeah, definitely! any other suggestions for texts?