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A Suggestion for Units on Writing Narratives/Memoirs
Teaching students to write about their own memories? Here's a mentor text suggestion:

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Here's a thoughtful idea from a fellow teacher:

Memoirs about Faraway Schools

This review/activity was generously shared with us by Nevada teacher Gaylene Williams during an
NNWP-sponsored inservice class

on narrative and memoir.

There are many marvelous "mentor texts" that can be used when teaching a unit on narrative or memoir. The review of the book, Home to Medicine Mountain by Chiori Santiago, and the activity on this page were written by a Nevada teacher during an in-service class for teachers sponsored by the Northern Nevada Writing Project.

Are you a fan of WritingFix? Use this link to purchase Home to Medicine Mountain from and WritingFix will receive a small donation to help us continue posting free-to-use resources.

Washoe County teachers, click here to search for this title at the county library.

A Review of this Book & an Activity Suggestion:

In the picture book Home to Medicine Mountain, author Chiori Santiago shares the true story of two young boys sent away to attend an Indian boarding school and the journey they make to come home. The book has wonderful illustrations created by the daughter of one of the true-life characters. The book also does a great job of presenting the relationship between two brothers. Home to Medicine Mountain portrays the boarding school experience as it was experienced by this family. This book shows the importance of a story passed down orally through generations and how stories can eventually be recorded in written form.

The school that I teach at is predominantly Native American, and my students have family members who have gone to boarding schools; in fact, the school mentioned in the book, Sherman Indian School, still operates today and is a school that they can choose to attend for high school. After sharing this picture book with my students, I have thems brainstorm a list of questions focusing on educational experiences and memories that they could use in an interview of a family member who attended a boarding school (or a family member who has gone away to school somewhere). Students then interview this person. Finally, I would ask my students to write a narrative about someone else's experience, showcasing the memories of the person they interviewed.

Looking for complete writing lessons based on picture books? Have you seen WritingFix's Picture Books as Mentor Texts Collection?

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