What Do Hybrid Cars, Windows, and Pearl Necklaces Have to Do with Memoir?

Kate and I were creating charts after school this afternoon for tomorrow’s big memoir drafting lesson. (Though I previewed it for my kids today.)

Calkins & Chiarella’s Book makes reference to three kinds of structures for memoir:

1. Hybrid texts which combine exposition and narrative. (I likened this to a hybrid car and drew a pretty awful one on tomorrow’s chart.)
2. Narratives that serve as a window into someone’s life. (Can you picture the window I drew on the chart? Fortunately, it looked better than the Prius!)
3. Quite a few small moment stories that revolve around a central theme just like beads that rest on a string. (Hence the pearl necklace that I drew on the chart.)

However, I took my chart a step further, suggesting two – three mentor texts each student could refer back to for each memoir. I suggested one published and one – two of my former students’ memoirs as mentors for each one of these structures. As far as the published mentor texts go, I suggested “Eleven” by Sandra Cisneros for the hybrid structure, What You Know First by Patricia MacLachlan for the window structure, and When I Was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant for the pearl necklace structure.