Lincoln Center Project: Memoir Writing

Lesson Plan on The Glass Menagerie

Objectives: Students will be able to respond critically to the play, The Glass Menagerie, by identifying a specific moment, line or object (motif )  through which they create a personal memoir, or a narrative that uses an object or imagery as motif.


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

Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation and its significance, establishing one or multiple point(s) of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters; create a smooth progression of experiences or events.

Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.

Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative.


Content: Students with various writing abilities can select a technique or idea from the menu provided to write a narrative. Each student draws materials from his/her personal experiences for the writing task. Students’ topic is of personal interests and choice. Pair share and class discussion will also provide further assistance to students’ understanding of using narrative techniques to describe a memory.

Grouping rationale: Students will be grouped based on their strengths and weaknesses as a reader and writer to complete the task.

Do Now: Close your eyes and refresh your memory about the play, The Glass Menagerie. Is there anything that stands out to you, repeatedly? A sound, image, word or phrase, an object, a line etc.? Pick out one moment or imagery or object (motif) and describe it: How is it represented? How is it connected to the character or theme of the play? Is there any other significance for the playwright to include it in the play? Why does it stand out to you? Write about 7-8 minutes.

Teaching Points:

According to Miller and Paola, in their book Tell it Slant, “The memories that can have the most emotional impact for the writer are those who don’t really understand, the images that rise up before us quite without our volition…These are the ‘river teeth’, or the moments of being, the ones that suck your breath away.”

  1. What repository of memory do you hold in your heart rather than your head?
  2. What are the pictures that rise to the surface without bidding?
  3. Take these as your cue. Pick you pen. This is where you begin.

Metaphorical memory:

Think back on that early morning of yours, the one that came to mind instantly. Illuminate the details, shine a spot on them until they begin to yield a sense of truth revealed. Where is your body in this memory? What kind of language does it speak? What metaphor does it offer for you to puzzle out in writing?

Muscle memory:

The body, memory, and mind exist in sublime interdependence, each part wholly twined with the others. These memories will have resonance precisely because they have not been forced into being by a mind insistent on fixed meanings. It is the body’s story and so one that resonates with a sense of an inadvertent truth revealed. Sometimes, what matters to us most is what has mattered to the body. Memory may pretend to live in the cerebral cortex, but it requires real muscle to animate it again for the page.

The five senses of memory

By paying attention to the sensory gateways of the body, you also begin to write in a way that naturally embodies experience, making it tactile for the reader. Readers tend to care deeply only about those things they feel in the body at a visceral level. And so as a writer, consider your vocation as that of a translator: one who renders the abstract into the concrete. We experience the world through our senses. WE MUST TANSLATE THAT EXPEIENCE INTO LANGUAGE OF THE SENSES AS WELL.

  • Smell: “Smell is a potent wizard that transports us thousands of miles and all the years we have lived,” wrote Hellen Keller.
    • What are the smells you remember that even in memory makes you stop a moment and breathe deeply or make your heart beat more vigorously, your palms ache for what’s been lost? Write these down. Write as quickly as you can, seeing how one smell leads to another. What kind of images, memories, or stories might arise from this sensory trigger?
  • Taste: Food is one of the most social gifts we have. The bond between mother and child forms over the feeding of that child. When you sit down to unburden yourself to a friend, you often do so over a meal prepared together in the kitchen. In his famous essay “Afternoon of an American Boy,” B. White  vividly remembers that taste of cinnamon toast in conjunction with the first stumbling overtures of a boyhood crush.
    • What are the tastes that carry the most emotion for you? The tastes that, even in memory, make you stop a moment and run your tong over your lips? Write them down as quickly as you can. Which scenes, memories, associations come to the surface?
  • Hearing: Sounds often make up a subliminal backdrop to our lives, and even the faintest echo can tug back moments from the past in their entirety. Music is not so subtle but rather acts as a blaring soundtrack to our emotional lives. We often orchestrate our memories around the music that accompanies those pivotal eras of our lives. When you have the soundtrack down, the rest of life seems to fall into place.
  • Touch: We are constantly aware of our bodies, of how they feel as they move through the world. Without these senses, we become lost, disoriented in space and time. And the people who have affected us the most are the ones who have touched us in some way, who have reached beyond this barrier of skin and made contact with our small, isolated selves. Think about the people in your life who have touched you deeply. What was the quality of their physical touch on your body? How did they touch the objects around them? Why do you think touch lingers in memory?
  • Sight: How do you see the world? How do you see yourself? Even linguistically, our sense of sight seems so tied up in our perceptions, stance, opinions, personalities, and knowledge of the world. To see something often means to finally understand, to be enlightened, to have our vision cleared. What we choose to see-and not to see- often says more about us than anything else. When we “look back” in memory, we “see” those memories. Our minds have cataloged an inexhaustible storehouse of visual images. Now the trick is for you to render these images in writing. Pay attention to the smaller details. Close your eyes to see the images more clearly. Trace the shape of your favorite thing or the outline of a beloved’s face. Turn up the light in the living room. Go out walking under a full moon. Look at some photos and videos you have taken. Not only do these photos and films act as triggers for your memory but they can prompt you to delve more deeply below the surface.

Student Independent Practice

From the exercises above, select a motif that can BEST represent your memory. Write a narrative that either incorporates or evolves around the motif to reveal a part of your past that sheds light on you or your relationship with people you care about in your life. The narrative should be between 500-700 words in lengths.

Exit Slip: Share the “river teeth” of your memory.

Homework Assignment: Complete the personal narrative and turn it in on Monday.

AP Workshop

AP English Literature and AP English Language


April 1, 2017


April 22, 2017


April 29, 2017

AP Environmental Science and AP Biology


April 1, 2017


April 22, 2017


April 29, 2017

AP Calculus, AP Statistics and AP United States History


April 1, 2017


April 22, 2017


April 29, 2017

Essay Contest

The Association of Justices of the Supreme Court of the State of New York and the New York Law Journal have partnered with the New York City Dept. of Education to sponsor the Sixteenth annual essay contest for 10th, 11th and 12th grade high school students.  Ten students will win the opportunity to intern for one week with a Justice of the Supreme Court and earn a $100.00 gift card.  A maximum of ten entries from each school will be considered. One of the winning essays will be published in the New York Law Journal, a legal periodical published by the ALM.  
The Law Day theme for 2017, is “The 14th Amendment:  Transforming American Democracy.”
The 2017 theme provides the opportunity to explore the many ways that the Fourteenth Amendment has reshaped American law and society.  Ratified during Reconstruction a century and a half ago, the Fourteenth Amendment serves as the cornerstone of landmark civil rights legislation, the foundation for numerous court decisions protecting fundamental rights, and a  inspiration for all those who advocate for equal justice under law.
Students should write a 500 word essay presenting a compelling discussion on the topic with special focus on the importance and impact of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The following websites may assist your students in their research – other resources may be used.  All sources should be credited.
Law Day Topic
General Legal Resources
 1.  New York State Courts Legal Research Portal
2.   Free Online Law Review/Journal Articles
3.   New York Law Journal
4.   The United States Constitution with Commentary
1 New York State Consolidated Laws
2.   Law Library of Congress
3.   New York Courts Law Libraries
 Case Law 
1.   New York State Court Case Law
2.   Federal Court Case Law

AP Workshop in your Borough

AP English Literature and AP English Language
April 1, 2017
April 22, 2017
April 29, 2017
AP Environmental Science and AP Biology
April 1, 2017
April 22, 2017
April 29, 2017
AP Calculus, AP Statistics and AP United States History
April 1, 2017
April 22, 2017
April 29, 2017

Grammar Workshop


Objectives: Students will use the edit their essays after the grammar lesson. Students will also use the rubric to help them finalize the essay.

Aim: How do I vary sentence structure in my writing?


Do Now:

Click the Workshop Link to review some grammar rules.

Mini Lesson:

1. Writing sentences with  various structure

Please click the link to see the workshop contents-

2. Using transitions

Independent Practice

Select a specific area you feel you need support with, go to that page directly.

College Fairs

College Fairs

Exploring Issues through OpEd

Explore the Issues: Editorials & Columns In order to become a “global citizen,” you must actually become aware of local, national and global issues. Your task will be to explore topics via opinion pieces. Within each topic you must identify an issue of interest and find a column or editorial. You have been provided a list of columnists, publications and categories from which to choose. This is not an exhaustive list.

Please ask if you search all of the options below and are still struggling. Please type your précis paragraph and attached the annotated column.

Label the topic and issue you’ve chosen at the top of your précis paragraph.

Example: Sports–Doping

Possible Columnists or Opinion Pages

  • David Ignatius, The Washington Post
  • George F. Will, The Washington Post
  • Charles Krauthammer, The Washington Post
  • David Brooks, The New York Times
  • Maureen Dowd, The New York Times
  • Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post
  • Frank Deford, Sports Illustrated, NPR
  • Gene Weingarten, The Washington Post
  • Dave Barry, The Miami Hearld
  • Paul Krugman, The New York Times
  • Robert J. Samuelson, The Washington Post
  • The Boston Globe Opinion Page
  • Wired Magazine Opinion Page
  • The Week’s Opinion Page

Possible Topic Categories

• Issues of War (PTSD, Government Funding, Medal of Honor)

• Education (SAT scores, college applications, class sizes)

• Popular Culture (TV programming)

• Science and Technology (Apple vs. Samsung, )

• Politics and Partisanship (Presidential election, political gaffes, fact checking)

• Sports (Lance Armstrong, Doping,

• Science & Environment

Column #1-Annotations & Précis:__________________

Column #2-Annotations & Précis:__________________

Column #3-Annotations & Précis __________________


For each column, annotate directly on the column over the following:

  • Speaker-Remember it is not enough to simply name the speaker. What can you say about the speaker based on the evidence, the writing style, the topic etc.? What does the speaker value?
  • Occasion– Be certain to discuss and record both the larger occasion, that is, those issues or ideas that must have made the speaker think about this incident, as well as the immediate occasion, whatever made the author decided to focus on it in their writing.
  • Audience-To whom is this writing directed? It is not enough to say: “Anyone who reads it.” You will want to identify a certain audience by describing some of its characteristics. Be specific. The audience will rarely be “working adults.” Consider party affiliation, societal values, religious beliefs, etc.
  • Purpose- The purpose could be purely a personal one (i.e. to assuage guilt, to boast, etc.), but it also could be direct towards the audience, in which case you will have to decide what the message is and how the author wants this audience to respond.
  • Subject-What is the topic of the author’s writing. You should be able to identify this easily based on the writing’s focus.
  • Tone- Try to choose a description of the tone that fits the piece as a whole. You must also include specific words or phrases from the text and explain how they support your statement. Instead of using vague generalities like, “realistic” and “happy,” consider specific adjectives like, “pragmatic” and “complacent.”

Précis Paragraph

After you have completed these annotations, construct a précis paragraph for each editorial.

  • 1. The first sentence includes the name of the writer (usually including a descriptive phrase); the work’s genre, title, and date of publication; a rhetorically accurate verb (“asserts,” “argues,” “implies,” “posits,” etc., but not “writes” or “states”); and a that clause containing the major assertion (thesis statement) of the work.
  • 2. The second sentence provides an explanation of how the writer develops and/or supports the thesis, usually in chronological order.
  • 3. The third sentence includes a statement of the writer’s apparent purpose followed by an in order to phrase. It should assess what the writer wanted the audience to do or to feel as a result of reading the work.
  • 4. The fourth sentence describes the intended audience and/or the relationship the writer establishes with the audience. This sentence should consider how the language  of the work excludes or appeals to certain audiences. It may also report the writer’s tone.

Sample Précis

In 2005’s “Cheating is a National Problem,” the editorial staff of USA Today implies that the epidemic of cheating among students directly correlates to those examples set on a national level by business executives. Corrupt business practices are specifically highlighted via statistics from the Pew Research Center. USA Today’s piece suggests that cheating is a reflection of widespread deceitfulness in order to convince the audience that dishonesty is something learned in a larger setting than just the classroom. The audience consists of Americans worried about the moral decline of this country; the tone towards “cheaters” is one of warning and disdain.