Writing a life: teaching memoir to sharpen insight, shape meaning-- and triumph over tests

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Heinemann, Aug 30, 2005 - Biography & Autobiography - 209 pages
3 Reviews

Memoir is more than writing down memories; it's a powerful motivator for children to write and revise. Working with familiar material, students explore their lives, learn new and sophisticated elements of craft, and engage deeply with content to uncover personal and universal meaning. By teaching with memoir, you can help students exceed official standards for writing, both in class work and on tests, while also giving them a tool for making sense of their place in the world.

In "Writing a Life," Katherine Bomer presents classroom-tested strategies for tapping memoir's power, including ways to help kids generate ideas to write about, elaborate on and make meaning from their memories, and learn craft from published memoirs. She describes dozens of ideas for minilessons, teacher - student conferences, peer conferences, writing activities, prompts, and revision strategies. She then crosses the literacy spectrum to show how studying mentor memoirs can enrich students' reading by building strong reading-writing connections. In addition, Bomer presents a curricular unit that prepares students for writing tests by systematically and explicitly helping them transfer the content and skills they develop in writing memoir to the demands of standardized assessments.

Every student has a story to share. With "Writing a Life," you'll have the inspiration, the strategies, and the materials you need to help them write it beautifully.

What people are saying - Write a review

Review: Writing a Life: Teaching Memoir to Sharpen Insight, Shape Meaning--and Triumph Over Tests

User Review  - Shannon - Goodreads

This book was incredibly helpful. My students' memoirs are far more insightful and go beyond the "one story" memoir. Their writing has improved as well, I think they have gained a deeper sense of the ... Read full review

Review: Writing a Life: Teaching Memoir to Sharpen Insight, Shape Meaning--and Triumph Over Tests

User Review  - Sarah Broas - Goodreads

LOVE LOVE LOVE Katherine Bomer and her work. This book is well written and finely crafted. Not 100% sure that all the strategies can be used with older kids, but worth the read ;) Read full review

Contents

A Map to Guide You Through a Genre Study in Memoir
26
Discussion Questions and Projects That Probe Published
39
Selecting Collecting and Layering
85
Possibilities for Structure
110
Secrets for Conferring Successfully with Children
139
Five Sledgehammers and Nineteen Nails
159
Answering Test Prompts by Drawing on Best Memoir Writing
175
Our Nation s Memoir Why We Write
191
Copyright

About the author (2005)

Katherine Bomer, author of Hidden Gems and Starting with What Students Do Best, is one of the field's most gifted writers as well as one of its most gifted teachers of writing. In more than two decades of teaching and consulting, she has used her writers' eye to focus on how craft isn't just an instructional goal but an instructional tool that allows writers to go grow well beyond the range of most publically available assessments. An internationally known consultant and frequent keynote speaker, Katherine began her consulting career with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. In addition to Writing a Life, she is the coauthor of the Heinemann title For a Better World (with Randy Bomer) and delivers on-site PD through Heinemann Professional Development Services. A published poet and essayist, Katherine is also coauthor (with Lucy Calkins) of A Writer's Shelf. She began over fifteen years ago as a professional developer with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. A classroom teacher for ten years, she now works with teachers in elementary and middle schools throughout the country. As a frequent speaker at conferences and institutes, she combines a teacher's practical advice, a writer's love of language, and a powerful plea for social justice. EC0111