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Memoirs of a Fifth Grader

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Keywords: Flip Video, Autobiographies, Video Diary
Subject(s): Video, Technology, Writing, Photography, Social Studies, English/Language Arts, Spelling, Grammar, Journalism
Grade 5
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: University School, Johnson City, TN
Planned By: Jill Janaitis
Original Author: Jill Janaitis, Johnson City
Memoirs of a Fifth Grader

Objectives: This unit will be made up of mini-lessons, writer’s workshop, and technology instruction and application
1. Students will write an autobiography comprised of four sections (Introduction, Looking Back, Today, and Looking Ahead)
2. Students will direct a video diary comprised of narration, live action video, interviews, and photography montages.

Duration: 2-3 Weeks

Materials: paper, biography timeline, graphic organizer, family photos (due by Day 6), flip camera, video editing program, ELMO (doc camera), SmartBoard, laptops (Microsoft Word)

Day 1 (Introduction)
Teacher will begin by introducing the vocabulary terms (memoir, autobiography) and explain the difference between biography and autobiography.
- Teacher will show “Writing an Autobiography (7:05)” from Discovery Streaming on SmartBoard.
- Students will be introduced to the four graphic organizers to help guide through the sections of autobiography. Attention will be given to the word ‘significance’ and how certain events change the course of lives forever.
- Students will complete graphic organizer for introduction
Day 2 (Guided Writing)
- Students will share yesterday’s graphic organizers under the ELMO display
- Teacher will model how to move from outline to fleshed out paragraph using a graphic organizer completed about his/her life.
- Students will take their introduction organizer and flesh out into three paragraphs
- A few students will share their highlight reel (best sentences)
Day 3-5
-Teacher will model how to develop a page from “Looking to the Past” organizer. Students will use this modeling to complete the past, present, and future pages. They will have three days to complete a rough draft, revise, and peer edit.
Day 6
Students will type their autobiographies in the computer lab in Microsoft Word.
Day 7
Teacher will show personal video diary (made from completed graphic organizers and autobiography).
Students will storyboard their video diary and turn autobiography into a “script”. They must plan whom they will interview (if anyone), what live action shots they want to shoot, music to be played, and/or what pictures they wish to incorporate into the diary.
Day 8-9
Teacher guided lesson on utilizing video editing program with Flip Camera. Students will be called up to SmartBoard to help teacher.
Students will begin to film their clips in teams of 2 or 3.
Day 10-12
Students will create autobiography videos in the computer lab
Day 13
Memoir Display! Students will introduce and then share video diary with classmates on SmartBoard.
Assessment: Students will be assessed according to a writing rubric as well as a video rubric.
At my school, it has been a fifteen year tradition for fifth graders to write autobiographies that will be re-shared at the Senior Luncheon (our school is K-12). In addition to the formal autobiography, I would love to integrate the Flip Cameras to add a multimedia aspect with a video diary component.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
This lesson spans writing, Social Studies, and technology standards
Parents Night to view Memoirs
Materials: Flip Video, Point and Shoot, Projector Screens, CDs and DVDs, Writing, Word Processor, Authoring and Publishing, Video Tools