Memoir Lesson Design by Eva Arce
What is a memoir? • A subcategory of an autobiography (part of a life story) • A personal narrative • A record of events based on the author’s recollection • A memory (From French mémoire) • A retrospective account of a memorable event • A composition about a personal experience that focuses on the relationship of the memory to the author.
Books For Example? • David Sedaris Me Talk Pretty One Day • Lance Armstrong It’s Not About the Bike • Joan Didion The Year of Magical Thinking • Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl • Frank McCourt Angela’s Ashes • Maya Angelou I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings • Barack Obama Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance • Stephen King On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft • Ernest Hemingway A Moveable Feast • Henry David Thoreau Walden
Essays for Example? • Brent Staples “Black Men in Public Spaces” • Joan Didion “On Keeping a Notebook” • David Quamman “The Same River Twice” • Adam Gopnik “Bumping into Mr. Ravioli” • David Sedaris “Me Talk Pretty One Day” • Judith Cofer “Myth of the Latin Woman…” • Saskia Verlaan “Perspectives on Fear” • Mark Twain “Two Ways of Seeing a River”
Activity 1 What Color is your Voice? • What is voice in writing? author’s tone or style; reflection of author’s personality • What is Synesthesia? Mixed sensations in which a stimulus in one sense elicits an experience in another (For example an unusual blending of senses such as to see color in music or sound, to taste a name, to touch a smell, to taste a smell, to sense a shape triggered by a taste, or to see color when feeling pain. ) • Identify the color of your voice. • Explain why this color reflects your voice. • Share your findings/recollections with your housemates
Activity 2 Conversation Starters • Develop a question that would stimulate a discussion of memories. • Share your answer with your housemates. • As a group, choose the best conversation starter and best answer(s) with the class.
Essential Questions • How are aspects of identity expressed in various situations? • How do language and culture influence identity? • How does one’s identity develop over time? • How do memoirs help us to make meaning of our lives? Consider assimilation, perseverance, and/or adversity, • How do writers use reflection to make sense of prior experience? • How does memoir enhance self reflection? • Why is someone compelled to write a memoir?
Common Core Lesson • http://amaesd.org/media/TWP/Grade%20Level%20Teaching%20Resources/11th/Required%20Units/Launching%20the%20Writers%20Notebook%20Memoir.pdf
Jodarski Lesson • http://www.d.umn.edu/~lmillerc/TeachingEnglishHomePage/TeachingUnits/MemoirUnit.htm • University of Minnesota Duluth • by Nicole Jodarski
Graphic Memoir Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (2000)
Vincent Van Gogh Self Portrait 1889 • Courtauld Institute Galleries • London, England
The Lovers in the Countryside (1844) Gustave Courbet Musée des Beaux-Arts Lyon, France
The Desperate Man (1843-45) Gustave Courbet Private Collection
The Wounded Man (1844-1854) Gustave Courbet Musée d’Orsay Paris, France
“Get Her Back” Robin Thicke • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bz_EqawkmTg • Reflections on his lost love
The Ballad of John and Yoko John Lennon and Yoko Ono • Context http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obEtgWkksU4&feature=kp • Song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gxx-dOHias8
“Live Like You Were Dying” Tim McGraw • Reflections about his father death • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9TShlMkQnc&feature=kp
“Piano Man” Billy Joel • Reflection on his career • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxEPV4kolz0&feature=kp
“Family Portrait” Pink and Scott Storch • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSjIz8oQuko&feature=kp • Reflections on family relationships and conflicts as seen through a child’s point of view
Your Memoir Prompt • Prompt: In pursuit of the Socratic Quest “Know thyself - gnothi seauton,” consider the philosopher’s famous line: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” • In a well developed essay, reflect on one aspect of your life.
Readings to Inform Your Memoir Writing • “Perspectives on Fear” by Saskia Verlaan • “Black Men in Public Spaces” by Brent Staples • From Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris • “Myth of the Latin Woman” by Judith Ortiz Cofer
Planning Your Memoir • Writer’s Journal Entry 1: After reading the selections, identify elements of an effective memoir. • Writer’s Journal Entry 2: List 10 vivid memories on which you would like to reflect. Consider the events in your life that have shaped who you are. • Writer’s Journal Entries 3, 4, and 5: Draft three memories with reflections. Consider how these events define you. How did you react in these situations and how were you affected by the events?What did you learn about yourself? about others? about humanity in general? What will you do with what you’ve learned?
Draft Your Memoir Be Prepared for Peer Editing • Heading: Student #, AP English III. Period, Date • Title • 500-700 words • Typed • Double spaced • 12 pt font
Object d’Art Your Visual Connection • Symbolic of your memoir • Not more than 5” in height, length or depth. • A ring or hook on the top (from which to tie a ribbon) • Your name on the bottom • Light enough to hang from the ceiling (think Christmas ornament)
Polish Essay and Submit Final Project Essay and Object d’Art Due Dates: A DAY : B DAY:
Optional Composition Grade • Graphic Memoir: Using graphics in the style of a comic book, frame one aspect of your life. • Musical Memoir: Using an original music composition or a musical score, explain how this musical selection reveals one aspect of your life. • Propose a creative memoir option: Get teacher’s approval before beginning this task.