How to Write a Memoir

Teaching Your Students to Write About Meaningful Moments

Know how to write a memoir with your class? With the words, "Kids, today we'll look at how to write your memoirs", you'll help your students express very special times.

Unlike an autobiography, a memoir brings individual moments into sharper focus and richer detail. A memoir captures specific memories from one's life and, through the written word, recounts the personal impact of those moments. Memoirs are snapshots in language of unique moments and circumstances.

Visit this page for more background and ideas about how to write a memoir. In this article, however, we'll be tying memoir into multiple intelligence lesson plans. As your kids write about those special moments of life, they'll be practicing the paragraph format and combining paragraphs into personal essays. First, though, let's look at possible presentation ideas to accompany those memoirs! These suggestions are based upon the nine multiple intelligences. I'm sure you'll think of many more!

How to Write a Memoir with Multiple Intelligence Conections

  • Verbal-Linguistic: write a poem to accompany the memoir
  • Spatial: create a visual illustration of the memoir and frame it within a clock-face cut-out, conveying it as a special moment
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic: write a skit based upon the memoir and dramatize it for the class
  • Logical-Mathematical: graph an autobiographical timeline of your life and note the memoir experience with extra-special images
  • Musical:
  • select a song to play that matches the theme of your memoir
  • Interpersonal: create a photo montage of the important persons mentioned in the memoir
  • Intrapersonal: create a painting that illustrates how this moment in time changed you
  • Naturalist: if the experience took place in a natural setting, bring in souvenirs of that time and place: polished river stones, dried leaves or flowers, etc.
  • Existential: create an illustration of how this experience has changed your thoughts about life
Now that we've brainstormed possible presentation projects that tie into our students' natural ways of being smart, let's develop their written memoirs through the stages of the writing process.

How to Write a Memoir Using a Cluster Map

Pre-writing:
  • Step 1: Taking a single sheet of paper, have students make a tri-fold. Each panel will include specific details about the experience itself. Label each panel with the following: what happened, why is it special, and how it changed you. The written details of each panel will make a separate paragraph.
Rough Draft:
  • Step 2: Demonstrate to students how to write individual paragraphs based upon the individual panels of their cluster maps. This is a great time for mini-lessons on varied sentence structure and rich, sensory details. Don't forget to emphasize those stepping stones of good writing: transitional words and phrases! They help each paragraph flow easily into the next, creating a smooth essay.
Revision:
  • Step 3: Encourage kids to read over their work, with an eye for any possible changes. Reading drafts aloud to each other will help spot weaknesses in the writing. Revise as needed.
Editing:
  • Step 4: Evaluate the essays as follows and make any corrections:
  • Does each paragraph contain a topic sentence, supporting sentences, and a conclusion?
  • Does each essay provide enough rich, convincing details that convey the importance of the time written about?
  • Are grammar, punctuation, and spelling correct?
Publishing:
  • Step 5: Enjoy class presentations of the memoirs and their accompanying projects! Again, more more information on how to write a memoir, visit this page for additional ideas. Perhaps learning how to write a memoir has made your kids feel adventurous! Should they want to try writing on a grander scale, click here for how to write an autobiography and here for autobiographical project ideas.

Enjoy writing about life's special moments!

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