I’ve been coaching in several districts over the last two weeks, beginning conversations with teachers who are thinking deeply about what student-centered learning communities are and what they can do at the start of the school year to begin establishing them. We’re realizing that transformation can begin to happen in simple ways. For instance, consider the different approaches taken by each of the teachers below. Which leverages the collective expertise of the group and enables student-centered learning best?

A: This week in class, we’ve studied three different memoirs, learned about the writing process, and studied the criteria for effective idea development in writing. Now, use the graphic organizer and directions provided to draft a personal narrative of your own that includes effective idea development. This must be word-processed.

B: This week, we’ll be investigating online memoirs and defining our own purposes for composing one. Each of you will begin a blog of your own, and your memoirs will be published on your About pages. Let me show you some examples. Then, we can begin pre-writing using another technology tool that I really love.

C: This week, we’ll be investigating memoir writing and defining our own purposes for composing one. Using your background knowledge and all of the tools at your disposal, respond to the questions below.  You will use the conversations we have together to begin shaping your own ideas, which will be developed over time and improved upon as you conference with all of us and revise your thinking and work. Be be prepared to teach us about what you’ve learned and to use your knowledge and skills to coach others throughout the year.

“What is memoir? What is the purpose for writing one? What different forms can it take? How do we choose what to write, who our audience might be, and which tools might help us communicate what we want to say in the most effective way possible?”


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