Sofia, Bulgaria

What is the meaning of where and when?

This essential question guided my English 9 students and me through our first unit. We read several short story memoirs and analyzed the authors’ choice of setting, character development, plot structure, stylistic devices and how all of them helped to develop themes.

As a final written assessment for the first unit students wrote their own personal narratives, their own memoirs.

Below are the CCSS assessment criteria for their final pieces, all of which was taught through analyzing other texts and focused writing mini-lessons:

  • W3A: Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation, establishing one or multiple point(s) of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters; create a smooth progression of experiences or events.
  • W3B: Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.
  • W3C: Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole.
  • W3D: Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.
  • W3E: Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative.
  • W6: Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically.
  • L1A: Use parallel structure.

Highlights of the Benefits of Writing Memoirs according to Alison Taylor

  • Identify your strengths. Looking at the past can remind us of how tough we must be, because, hey, we’re still here.
  • Overview of your accomplishments. Give yourself a hand; you’ve probably accomplished more than you think you have. And those accomplishments are more than just what you’ve owned or achieved, but who you’ve become.
  • Gratitude for what you have. Your life isn’t just hardships and challenges, it’s the luck you’ve found and the blessings you’ve received. And realizing that sometimes they are one and the same.
  • Beyond catharsis. Yes, getting it all out can be helpful, but careful editing after the catharsis can help you determine what is really most important for you to impart to others.
  • Motivation for the future. Looking back helps you realize what you still haven’t done and what priorities you have moving forward.
  • Keep your mind sharp. Organizing your life into a structure, looking for patterns, and finding the words to express yourself is great mental exercise.

Student Memoirs

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.