Memoir Lane

Ralph Fletcher, Katie Wood Ray, Lucy Calkins. My heroes! My mentors! These experts in the field of teaching writing have guided and inspired me over the years.  I have had the pleasure of meeting all of them and attending their workshops. My sister and I even flew from Ft. Lauderdale to New York a few years back just to attend a Ralph Fletcher seminar. We had the privilege of sitting with him one on one to share our experience and to drill him with tons of questions.  His research and strategies are the basis of my classroom writing program. 
Currently I am teaching memoir writing to my students. I feel that the kids learn best from the experts...real we get engrossed in reading a great deal of memoir writing. Two authors in particular that we examine closely are Cynthia Rylant and Patricia Polacco. We began our unit with reading some of their books and then comparing how they tell their stories.  I asked "what do you notice" and charted their responses. The next step in our unit is to make lists of special/important people, places, and objects. I create lists and write stories along with my kids...very powerful! Writing with your students is a MUST in the writer's workshop.  I have created some planning sheets that that I find helpful with this unit. My students use them for preplanning and then we staple them in their writer's notebooks. I like to be able to collect their planning sheets sometimes and the sheet keeps them more organized for preplanning. There are times we plan right in the notebooks. 

Here is my memoir preplanning pack. I have included planning sheets, cover sheets for a class book, a list of mentor text from various authors, and a list of guiding question to use when reading aloud.

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Who are your mentor authors??

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