Bypassing and Negating the ‘Single Story’ to Create True Community Through Memoir

Muriel (Meg) Shuman, Fifth Grade, Barringer Academic Center

Curriculum Unit (pdf)


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has coined the term “single story” to refer to people or groups who are relegated to one encompassing, preconceived story, usually erroneous, to describe their lives.[i]  This judgmental view is demeaning to individuals and detrimental to society.  This unit strives to use the writing of Memoirs and the sharing of these to tear down the single story mindset in our classroom and to create an understanding and informed, classroom community. We will use writing practices and exercises to reinforce the proper use of the writing process, along with the use of mentor text for modeling.   Our unit will include various tools and activities structured so as to enable connections between the students’ memories and their writing. The students will share their pieces throughout the creation process and will receive feedback from their peers which will also facilitate building community.   The final culmination of this unit will be an Authors’ Sharing Celebration that coincides with our quarterly student-led conferences.

[i]  Adichie, C.  “The Danger of a Single Story”.  October 7, 2009, Accessed September 18, 2018.