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Writing a Life

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Table of Contents

Prologue: The Call to Write Memoir; 1. Why Teach Memoir? Reasons That Will Change Your Teaching and Your Life; 2. Week-by-Week Plans: A Map to Guide You Through a Genre Study in Memoir; 3. Reading to Write: Discussion Questions and Projects That Probe Memoirs for Craft Lessons. 4. Rafting Down Rivers of Memory: Getting Ideas Going in the Memoirist's Notebook; 5. Making Meaning of Memories: Selecting, Collecting, and Layering; 6. Shaping the Story: Possibilities for Structure; 7. Recognized Lives: Secrets for Conferring Successfully with Children Writing Memoir; 8. Revising a Text, Revising a Life: Five Sledgehammers and Nineteen Nails for Making a Memoir Even Better; 9. Answering Test Prompts by Drawing on Memoir Writing; Epilogue: Our Nation's Memoir; Why We Write; Recommended Literature.

About the Author

Heinemann congratulates Katherine Bomer for receiving the 2017 Outstanding Elementary Educator Award by NCTE. Katherine Bomer, author of The Journey Is Everything, Hidden Gems, and Starting with What Students Do Best, is one of the field's most gifted writers as well as one of its most gifted teachers of writing. In more than two decades of teaching and consulting, she has used her writers' eye to focus on how craft isn't just an instructional goal but an instructional tool that allows writers to grow well beyond the range of most publicly available assessments. An internationally-known consultant and frequent keynote speaker, Katherine began her consulting career with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. In addition to Writing a Life, she is the coauthor of the Heinemann title For a Better World (with Randy Bomer) and delivers on-site PD through Heinemann Professional Development Services. A published poet and essayist, Katherine is also coauthor (with Lucy Calkins) of A Writer's Shelf. She began over fifteen years ago as a professional developer with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. A classroom teacher for ten years, she now works with teachers in elementary and middle schools throughout the country. As a frequent speaker at conferences and institutes, she combines a teacher's practical advice, a writer's love of language, and a powerful plea for social justice.


"This depth of attention to a single genre is unprecedented in books on the teaching of writing. Until now, for this depth, teachers used books written for aspiring writers and translated them into sensible classroom practice. Katherine brings writing and teaching together exquisitely in this beautiful book. - Katie Wood Ray, Author of About the Authors Smart teachers will read this book. Smarter teachers will use it as a guide. The smartest ones will read it, use it, and then return to it for inspiration, reflection, and, ultimately, for hope. In Writing a Life, Bomer takes us beyond the craft of writing memoir to the purpose and passion of this genre. - Kylene Beers, Author of When Kids Can't Read - What Teachers Can Do Writing a Life has become my new "Best-book-in the-whole world." Like a best friend, this book understands what I need without my naming it, and responds in ways that are as deep and as pure as the human spirit. - Lucy Calkins, Author of Units of Study for Primary Writing"

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