Writing Matters' "Characteristics of a Memoir"
  • Describes a memory
  • Really happened; it is non-fiction
  • Written in the first person
  • Tells about a particular happening
  • Is clearly about something that was important to the author
  • Shows the lessons the author learned from the experience
  • Makes you feel that you were there
  • Is about a topic I am willing to share with readers
  • Is very specific, not about a broad topic

· It focuses and reflects on the relationship between the writer and a particular
person, place, animal, or object.
· It explains the significance of the relationship.
· It leaves the reader with one impression of the subject of the memoir.
· It is limited to a particular phase, time period, place, or recurring behavior in order to develop the focus fully.
· It makes the subject of the memoir come alive.
· It maintains a first person point of view.

"Cormorant in My Bathtub" by Brooke Rogers, 7th Grade Student. She attends Charles Wright Academy in Tacoma, Washington.
Essential Questions.
How do encounters with nature make us feel human?
How do encounters with nature change us?
How can encounters with nature bring us closer to other people?

You might want to use excerpts from these memoirs. Essential Questions and Word Work are included.

How do encounters with nature change us?
How can a mountain know more than a man?
Do humans have the right to kill animals?

Essential Question. How do encounters with nature keep us human?
Enduring Understanding. Humans need wildness to feel human.

Would anyone like some per session to develop a mini-unit on an excerpt(s) from Thoreau's Walden?
Walden, by Henry David Thoreau. 1910 edition. Google Books: . Originally published 1854

Literacy Maps: Unit Titles, Essential Questions, Enduring Understandings, Word Work, Resources

6th Grade
Unit Title. Being Me, Being Green: Who and where am I in the world/green world?
Essential Questions
• What is my place as a reader, writer, listener, and speaker in the green world?
• What experiences are unique to me in the green world?
Enduring Understandings
• Everything has a place in the world.
Word Work memory, remember, memoir, remembrance, dialogue

7th Grade
Unit Title. Stop and Smell the Roses: Who and what inspires me in my world / green world?
Essential Questions
• How can reading, writing, listening, and speaking help me to reflect on the world around me?
• How do encounters with nature connect us to the past and future, our ancestors and descendents?
• How can I express my appreciation of what I have and my place in the world?
Enduring Understandings
• ‘For every thing there is a season’ Ecclesiastes
• “Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect. “- Chief Seattle, 1855
Word Work inspiration, memory, memoir, remembrance, reminisce, moment in time, slice of life, heritage, contribution, influence, family ties, appreciation, expression

8th Grade
Unit Title. Extreme Experiences: Defining our existence through encounters with nature
Essential Questions
• How have encounters with nature defined the lives of individuals and societies?
• How do reading, writing, listening, and speaking shape my encounters with nature?
Enduring Understandings
• Value life experiences
• People learn from positive and negative encounters with nature.
• A natural disaster is not a failure of nature, but a birth of a new phase.
• Humans must adapt to natural forces.
Word Work impact, encounter, natural disasters, extremes, Sense of Place, vignette, significance, moments, memory, memento, Slice of Life, memoir, significance, epiphany, Identity, sensory, natural cycles