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

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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, bot 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, teacherstudent 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.


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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, bot 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, teacherstudent 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.

30 review for Writing a Life: Teaching Memoir to Sharpen Insight, Shape Meaning--And Triumph Over Tests

  1. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    I was at the Rose Spicola Conference a Texas Woman's University this weekend and Kathrine Bomer was the keynote speaker. After her talk, I had to pick up this book. Don't let the subtitle throw you. When I saw "Teaching Memoir" I though it was her writing a memoir about teacher. It is actually a book about teaching kids to write their own memoirs. Kathrine Bomer is a big fan of writing workshop, where students have the opportunity to write about what they want to write and then revise and publish I was at the Rose Spicola Conference a Texas Woman's University this weekend and Kathrine Bomer was the keynote speaker. After her talk, I had to pick up this book. Don't let the subtitle throw you. When I saw "Teaching Memoir" I though it was her writing a memoir about teacher. It is actually a book about teaching kids to write their own memoirs. Kathrine Bomer is a big fan of writing workshop, where students have the opportunity to write about what they want to write and then revise and publish their pieces. In her experience, teachers that do this have students who write well on their standardized tests as compared with teachers who teach writing only to write on the test. Writing workshop creates motivation for students to want to write because students are given choices. Writing memoirs is really about writing about yourself. Kids always want to tell you about their experiences. This way, they get to write and expand them. Memoirs differ from autobiographies in that they are generally only a small snapshot of an event in the person's life. Bomer includes different ways to have students brainstorm ideas for writing memoirs, appropriate published memoirs for classroom use and tips for conferencing with students on revising and publishing the memoir.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Trina

    "Every time we know someone's life story, we become rich with perspectives that we wouldn't have had without this offering. We learn about different places, time periods, and cultures. We find out that we are not alone in our grief, our anger, our intense feelings of love and we learn how to see beneath the skin of people who might have felt "other" to us before." (pg. 27) I could deeply relate to this quote and will hold on to it for a long time. Katherine Bomer eloquently articulated exactly w "Every time we know someone's life story, we become rich with perspectives that we wouldn't have had without this offering. We learn about different places, time periods, and cultures. We find out that we are not alone in our grief, our anger, our intense feelings of love and we learn how to see beneath the skin of people who might have felt "other" to us before." (pg. 27) I could deeply relate to this quote and will hold on to it for a long time. Katherine Bomer eloquently articulated exactly why I love reading and why I write. Writing a Life is the third professional book that I have read by Katherine Bomer. I adore her. I get caught up in her writing voice. As when I read her other titles, I not only learned more about teaching writers, but I also learned better how to cultivate my own writing life. This is definitely a professional book that I will return to.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    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 writing process through many of the activities and ideas that I presented to them from this book. Thank you! 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 writing process through many of the activities and ideas that I presented to them from this book. Thank you!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Belinda

    Great book. It is a must read for all classroom teachers. This book has practical ways to get students to write with meaning. It is a must have.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Excellent book to inspire a memoir reading/writing unit with my middle school class.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tracy Nomensen

    The only thing better than this book for memoir writing is taking a class from Katherine Bomer herself. Katherine inspires us as writers to be bold, take risks and tell our stories.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    Really great, especially if you are already familiar with fundamentals of writing workshops. Has good ideas for the idea generating process.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Broas

    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 ;)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

  10. 4 out of 5

    Holland

  11. 4 out of 5

    Christy

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rebekah O'Dell

  14. 5 out of 5

    Darcy Nickel

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kayla Pinckley

  16. 5 out of 5

    D. Brown

  17. 5 out of 5

    Karen Hartman

  18. 4 out of 5

    amandalee

  19. 4 out of 5

    Noël Ingram

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kris

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

  22. 4 out of 5

    Angelica

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ann Marie Corgill

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

  25. 4 out of 5

    Heathcliff Lopez

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kiran Chaudhuri

  27. 4 out of 5

    Christy

  28. 5 out of 5

    Trinity. Cristin

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

  30. 4 out of 5

    Magdalena Vega

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