Tuesdays with Morrie Unit Plan

Instructor: Shanna Fox

Shanna has been an educator for 20 years and earned her Master of Education degree in 2017. She enjoys using her experience to provide engaging resources for other teachers.

''Tuesdays with Morrie'' is a memoir of conversations between two men in different phases of life. This high school unit plan will help you guide students through the genre, literary devices, sage advice, and universal themes featured in this book.

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Reading the chronicles of a dying man may seem like a morbid endeavor in your high school classroom. However, this unit plan will help you break down the book into bite-size chunks that students can use to learn important life lessons and analyze universal literary themes. Beginning with an exploration of the author, Mitch Albom, and his subject, Morrie Schwartz, you'll be able to provide students with the necessary context to understand the book.

In addition, it's essential that students understand the memoir genre, and exploring aphorisms and metaphors can add a deeper level of understanding of the book's content. Journaling activities help you guide students through analysis of the wisdom Morrie shares throughout the book. Finally, activities, project ideas, and extensions provide students an opportunity to synthesize their learning.

Mitch Albom

Mitch Albom was a college student first, then a sports journalist, and at the time of this book, the author of a revealing memoir packed with wisdom and life lessons. Exploring more about this author's life and work can provide a helpful lens for viewing the book's content.

Morrie Schwartz

Providing biographical details and a timeline of Morrie Schwartz's life can help students place the events and experiences mentioned in the novel in an appropriate framework. You may want to provide students with a timeline graphic organizer onto which they can record details as they learn more throughout the book.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

An understanding of the illness that will ultimately take Morrie's life can help students further understand the premise of the book. Consider having students conduct independent research about the illness itself, potential treatments, and awareness campaigns.


Providing a foundational understanding of the genre of memoir is important, although this memoir is somewhat unique. It is Mitch's memoir, but at its core, it is the story of Morrie's life. Explore the genre using this Memoir Lesson Plan. Then, engage students in a discussion of how this work qualifies it as a memoir and the characteristics that make it unique among other memoir pieces.

Consider providing students an opportunity to gain first-hand experience in writing a memoir of their own by using the Six Word Memoir Lesson Plan. Giving students a chance to try their hand at summing up a part of themselves in a short statement can help frame their thinking. In addition, this exercise can serve as a good comparison tool to the bite-size wisdom Morrie shares throughout the book.

Journaling and Quotables

One method of reading and responding to this memoir is to have students keep a journal. Consider asking them to identify a snippet of conversation, a poignant phrase, or a memorable gem of wisdom to write about in their journals. You can encourage students to not only record the wording in their journals but to write their own experiences in relation to the message. In addition, you can provide students a forum to share their thoughts with partners or teams.

Aphorisms and Metaphors

Tuesdays with Morrie is filled with meaningful, manageable chunks of wisdom in the form of aphorisms. Use the Aphorism Lesson Plan to orient your students to this literary devices. Consider providing students with time to explore aphorisms outside of the memoir. Having students keep a record of aphorisms as they read can serve as a good tracking tool to keep them engaged, as well.

Metaphors are also incorporated throughout the memoir, and it's important for students to understand and be able to analyze this type of figurative language. To introduce the concept, consider implementing the Metaphors in Music Lyrics Lesson Plan. After students can identify and decipher a metaphor's meaning, you can pair them and send them on a text scavenger hunt to search for examples of metaphors in the book.

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