Thursday, March 11, 2010
Earlier this week, we did some warm-up verbal story telling as a pre-writing exercise. This afternoon, we put pencil to paper to begin our memoirs.
What is a memoir? I began by writing the word “Memoir” on the chalkboard and asked children what other words came to mind. “Memory” and “remember” were soon mentioned. Memoir comes from the Latin word “memoria”, and is an evolution of the autobiography. Memoir deals with a specific period of your life, rather than your life story.
Today, I read Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox. In the story, a little boy gathers some items in a basket to show his very elderly friend in “the old person’s home” who has memory loss. As his old friend pulls out each item from the basket, it conjures up a specific memory from her life.
Then I showed the kids my basket. As I pulled out each item, I remembered something from earlier years. I told about the time I was angry and sad when my friends threw a beloved teddy bear out the window, a first grade memory of an art project, my first (horrible) job, and some wedding day memories.
After that, it was workshop time. Each child told me what they wanted to write about, and then they started their rough drafts. As children go through the whole process, I will be conferencing and assisting them to bring their memoirs to life. I am so excited to read these stories as they develop!