What Makes a Great Memoir?

This was the question I asked my students when we started our memoir unit earlier this month.  I’ve learned a lot about teaching writing in the last few years, but the most important lesson I’ve internalized is to flood the room with quality mentor texts for any unit of study.  So, we read.  We read published memoirs, notebook entries, memoirs from past students, childrens’ memoirs, adult’s memoirs.  We read as many memoirs as we could find.  This is the list of qualities that my students came up with and we’ve been using it to guide revisions, peer conferences, and lessons to help us write amazing memoirs.

I’ve cleaned it up a bit, as I do with many charts.  The initial one was a mess of ideas and this represents the synthesize version of those ideas.  How do you help your students decide what to work towards when teaching writing?  Please leave a comment below.

Qualities of a Stupendous Memoir

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