Today’s Workshop, in my classroom, was spent immersing my students in the memoir genre (or is it genre of memoir… both sound funny to me!). The kids realized that most memoirs are a combination of exposition and narrative. (I compared memoir to a hybrid car. That definitely helped!)
After my kids listened to four of my former students’ memoirs, I asked them “What are the big things you learned about writing memoir?” Here are their answers, in their words:
They are truthful. They talk about their feelings. They are brave to express their feelings. Memoirs are emotional. You can write a sad story. You can write about something you like. They’re all about an issue or a problem. They all have deep thinking in them. They have to be truthful. They are very deep. They’re about something a lot of kids go through. You should have a lot of feeling in a memoir. Write about something important. Don’t be afraid to write about something emotional. Memoirs make you wonder. Don’t be afraid to put your emotions into it. Make it deep. Some of them are about people. You can write about something special. You have to be brave to write memoir. Many of them were about something you might not want to talk about.
I agree with some of what they wrote, but not all. However, I think overall response from most kids was that memoir has to be TRUTHFUL and EMOTIONAL.
I am a literacy consultant who has spent over a decade working with teachers to improve the teaching of writing in their classrooms. While I work with teachers and students in grade K-6, I'm a former fourth and fifth-grade teacher so I have a passion for working with upper elementary students.
I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).