This lesson is directly connected with the previous lesson. Today we start with independent work. Students should have their memoir with them for independent reading and practice. Students should do exactly what they practiced yesterday in pairs, independently. On the back of the worksheet (Finding Memoir Traits), there is a place for them to write their book title. I ask that the students only complete the first three boxes. The reason being, if there are misconceptions, I can clear them up for students the next day.
I move around the room as they are reading and finding traits, in order to help students who are having trouble locating meaningful examples. I will have all of the kids find four memoir examples, leaving two spaces blank on their sheet. I urge them to read a little, and then write, read a little, then write; this ensures a fluid and engaged process.
At the end of this section, I'll collect these responses and look them over before the next time we meet as a class. The next day, the memoir trait forms will be ready with feedback to clear up misconceptions. They will complete the final two traits the following day, along with my corrections.
At the beginning of the year, I usually don't give grades on class work until kids have had a chance to fix their mistakes. This ensures a smooth transition into the idea of grades. In our district, this is the first time kids are seeing letter grades.
Today, I introduce the Six Word Memoir Assignment. This is based off of the classic Ernest Hemingway challenge, who was asked to write a story in six words. This challenge is now given to the sixth graders. Can they write a memoir is six words? These should be catchy and fun. There are many sample videos that teachers have put together on YouTube. We watch a few two YouTube videos.
Word limitations force students to be creative. I urge them to play around with word order and language choice.
Some guidelines I go over:These mini-memoirs should be six words, fit on 5 x 8 index card that I supply, they must have images, which could be drawings, pictures, or photos, and names go on the back of cards.
To read more about this project, click here!
I start to draft a few of my own six word memoirs underneath the document camera. Then the kids start to draft their own. The environment in the room during the drafting time is relaxed and informal. Periodically, I ask students if they would like to bring their drafting notebooks underneath the document camera in order to share their ideas with the class. This purpose is twofold; it allows the other students in the class a voice in helping the reader choose their favorite. It also gives kids who may be having writer's block an opportunity to see other student's work, and ultimately helps them to begin writing creatively.
This assignment is really just a fun, creative project that will get students excited about the upcoming memoir unit. I assign these projects at the end of the first week of memoir instruction and have students finish them up over the weekend. They can decorate them in any way. I took this from a colleague of mine. She has also done seven word memoirs for her seventh graders which is a creative take on the assignment. The Six Word Memoirs finished products are displayed, and the kids like to guess which memoir belongs to which student, since all names are placed on the back.