Memoir: Evaluating personal narrative as a record of the past (1 of 2)

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SWBAT determine a central idea of a text by reading a memoir aloud and annotating in the margins.

Big Idea

What lessons have I learned that I want future generations to learn from?

Warm Up

5 minutes

Today's story and topic is one of my favorites.  I love moments when students get a glimpse at the importance of language and its purpose through history.  As students enter, they will retrieve their warm up sheet and write for five-six minutes answering this prompt (W.9-10.10):

Think about the stories your family tells.  Some of them are probably boring or annoying, some of them are funny.  Choose one or two and write down as much of the story as you can remember. 

When students finish, we will share out for three-four minutes.  I ask students to write and share this information because they need to be able to appreciate the personal story that we will read today (SL.9-10.1). As students share, I will stop a student who was particularly passionate and proud and remind the class that our family pride often emerges through storytelling.  


Mini Lesson

10 minutes

I will distribute copies of Alice Walker's Beauty: When the Other Dancer Is the Self.  I will tell students that this is a story that describes how Walker feels about herself before, during and after a traumatic incident.  Our job is to evaluate the cereal idea of the text (Rl.9-10.2) and analyze how the author's choices concerning how to structure the text create effects of tension and surprise (RL.9-10.5). I'll also explain at the end of the text, they will be answering text dependent questions. When I think about whether memoir fits under Reading Informational Text or Reading Literature, I see both.  While it is nonfiction memoir, it is also a narrative with a clear beginning, middle and end.   

I begin reading aloud and read the first three paragraphs.  At the end of those paragraphs, I pause and ask students to write a question in the margin.  This question can be part of a prediction, a question to clarify or a question about a character.  I ask students to write questions because it helps them focus on the text.  


Student Work Time

25 minutes

For the remainder of the class period, students jump in and read.  I periodically stop the students and ask them to write questions in the margins.  I refer them back to our two objectives and ask questions regarding those.  

This reading aloud in the high school classroom video explains how I read aloud in my classroom. 


5 minutes

To finish class, I ask students to turn in their text with annotations.  On the top of their text, I also ask them to staple an exit slip to the text where they answer:

What is the central idea of the text? How does the structure of the text help reveal the central idea?