Making Memoirs Memorable



Studying memoirs can be very interesting to children (and to teachers).  They can connect our lives to the past through the mentor texts that we share, provide an opportunity for story telling and sharing, and help our students take notice of the small moments in time that might otherwise be overlooked.  As we are constantly bombarded with texting, tweeting, and multi-tasking, I see the value in slowing things down to observe and reflect on why these small moments have value.  We can capture that memory and help our students preserve them for the future.

As I got ready to write this post, I began by searching for materials, book ideas, and information on the best way to approach teaching memoirs.  It is not one of the Virginia standards for my grades, but I am excited to weave them into my instruction through other standards.  Of course, the first book that popped into my mind is Patricia Polacco's The Keeping Quilt.  It is the story of Patricia's family immigrating to the United States and their family traditions.  Other books by Polacco could certainly be included as memoirs too. Thank You Mr. Falker is a memoir of Patricia learning to read and her memories of Mr. Falker, the teacher who helped make that happen. Thundercake shares Patricia's memory of how she learned to cope with storms, and My Rotten Red-headed Older Brother is about she and her brother, Ritchie's, many bets on who could be the best at something.

For planning options, check out this table below. I have linked some titles to units I have created if readers are interested.

The Paperboy
Dave Pilkey
E PIL
Mem Fox
E FOX
Patricia Polacco
E POL
Patricia Polacco
E POL
Patricia Polacco
E POL
Patricia Polacco
E POL
Patricia Polacco
E POL
Cynthia Rylant
E RYL
Cynthia Rylant
E RYL
Boy: Tales of Childhood
Roald Dahl
823 DAH
Marshfield Dreams
Ralph Fletcher
921 FLE
Big Mama’s
Donald Crews
921 CRE
26 Fairmount Avenue
Tomie DePaola
921 DEP
The Art Lesson
Tomie DePaola
E DEP
Fly Away Home
Eve Bunting
E BUN
The Memory String
Eve Bunting
E BUN
Jane Yolen
E YOL
Freedom Summer
Deborah Wiles
E WIL
Grandfather’s Journey
Allen Say
E SAY
The Hello Goodbye Window
Norton Juster
E JUS
Patricia MacLachlan
E MAC
Mirandy and Brother Wind
Patricia McKissack
E MCK
Roxaboxen
Alice McLerran
E MCL
Tar Beach
Faith Ringgold
E RIN
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree
An Appalachian Story
Gloria Houston
Holiday
E HOU
Miss Rumphius
Barbara Cooney
E COO 

One that did not make this list that I thought fit the bill was Memoirs of a Goldfish. Here's a glimpse of the book and what Amazon had to say about it.
Day One I swam around my bowl. Day Two I swam around my bowl. Twice. And so it goes in this tell-all tale from a goldfish. With his bowl to himself and his simple routine, Goldfish loves his life..until one day... When assorted intruders including a hyperactive bubbler, a grime-eating snail, a pair of amorous guppies, and a really crabby crab invade his personal space and bowl, Goldfish is put out, to say the least. He wants none of it, preferring his former peace and quiet and solitude. But time away from his new companions gives him a chance to rethink the pros and cons of a solitary life. And discover what he's been missing. Devin Scillian is an award-winning author and Emmy award-winning broadcast journalist. He has written more than 10 books with Sleeping Bear Press, including the bestselling A is for America: An American Alphabet and Brewster the Rooster. Devin lives in Michigan and anchors the news for WDIV-TV in Detroit. Early in his career Tim Bowers worked for Hallmark Cards, helping to launch the Shoebox Greetings card line. He has illustrated more than 25 children's books, garnering such awards as the Chicago Public Library's "Best of the Best" list.
Here is a cute freebie from The Organized Chaos of Instruction on Teachers Pay Teachers. You can access the file below.

Memoirs of a Goldfish-Reading Response
Here's the Youtube clip if you don't have this title at your school .

I hope these materials and ideas help you as you teach memoirs and write memoirs with your students.  I am looking forward to sharing some of these myself. Have a great week and come back soon.
For other mentor text ideas, click below.

6 comments

  1. Love this post! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so glad. I found your blog, and I was already following it. :-) Thanks for visiting.

      Delete
  2. What a great list of mentor texts for teaching memoirs! I am familiar with many of them, but some are definitely ones I need to check out. Thank you for putting this list together!
    I just Love Memoirs of a Goldfish. It is my favorite way to introduce this genre to my students.

    Have a great week!
    Mary
    Fit to be Fourth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am glad you dropped by, and I am so glad you got a few new titles to add to your memoir list. Thanks for commenting.

      Delete
  3. Great write-up! Writing is a talent, and it must not be wasted. As with everything that we had been entrusted, we should

    let it grow and share it with the world.> self

    development plan

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great write-up! Writing is a talent, and it must not be wasted. As with everything that we had been entrusted, we should let it grow and share it with the world.> life long learner

    ReplyDelete

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