Unit 4

Memoir: Guidebook 2.0 Unit


Grade 7


Unit Length and Description:


38 Instructional Days


Students read various memoirs and texts about a writer’s craft to understand the importance of memoirs and “coming of age” literature. Students express their understanding by exploring their own voice and style as a writer, observing the firsthand connection between reading and writing, as they write their own memoir.



Reading Literature:

2. Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.

3. Analyze how particular elements of a story or drama interact (e.g., how setting shapes the characters or plot).

6. Analyze how an author develops and contrasts the points of view of different characters or narrators in a text.


Reading Informational Text:

2. Determine two or more central ideas in a text and analyze their development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.

4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.

5. Analyze the structure an author uses to organize a text, including how the major sections contribute to the whole and to the development of the ideas.

8. Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient to support the claims.



1. Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

a. Introduce claim(s), acknowledge alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.

b. Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, using accurate, credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.

c. Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), reasons, and evidence.

d. Establish and maintain a formal style.

e. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.


3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.

a. Engage and orient the reader by establishing a context and point of view and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically.

b. Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, and description, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.

c. Use a variety of transition words, phrases, and clauses to convey sequence and signal shifts from one time frame or setting to another.

d. Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to capture the action and convey experiences and events.

e. Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on the narrated experiences or events.


Speaking and Listening:

1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

a)   Come to discussions prepared, having read or researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.

b)   Follow rules for collegial discussions, track progress toward specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed.

c)    Pose questions that elicit elaboration and respond to others’ questions and comments with relevant observations and ideas that bring the discussion back on topic as needed.

d)   Acknowledge new information expressed by others and, when warranted, modify their own views.



5. Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

b. Use the relationship between particular words (e.g., synonym/antonym, analogy) to better understand each of the words.

c. Distinguish among the connotations (associations) of words with similar denotations (definitions) (e.g., refined, respectful, polite, diplomatic, condescending).


Enduring Understandings:


·         Students understand the importance of memoirs and “coming of age” literature.


·         Students understand by exploring their own voice and style as a writer.

Essential Questions:


·         Does the memoir you read support and/or contradict Zinsser’s advice for writing a memoir in “How to Write a Memoir”?


·         How have you learned about your own voice and style in writing?