Chapter 8 in Daniels, Harvey, Steven Zemelman, and Nancy Steineke. Content-area Writing: Every Teacher’s Guide. Portmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2007. Print.
- Instead of one long research paper, students compose several shorter pieces focused on a single topic
- Recommended related reading:
- Alternative to research paper
- Practice research skills
- Develop many layers of understanding
- Play by play
- Getting started
- Use preliminary research to help students pick a topic that genuinely interests them
- Inspire and inform students by showing them models
- Scaffold research processes
- how to select valid sources
- how to gather notes on researched information
- Working the room
- Have students choose from a LARGE menu of writing genres, Putz has them pick 7.
- Possible genres
- Check out the book , too many to list here. Plus the book has some pretty compelling examples of student work.
- Would be neat if someone would take a large genre list and classify it by the 6 facets of understanding . Then you could require students to pick 1 genre form each facet. If such a chart exists or if you create one, please share.
- Facilitate mini-lessons and distribute thinking sheets and show models that go with each genre
- Allow students to select appropriate tools (apps, paper, fonts, etc) to represent their chosen genres
- Require students to connect all 7 pieces into a coherent whole – logically sequence them and create transitions between them.
- Students select a package to hold writing pieces that goes with topic. (Note: These remind me of items from a McSweeney’s subscription)
- Leverage the work
- Individual students form teams and create a piece of reader’s theater than incorporates excerpts from all their pieces.
- Self – assessments on the work –
- How did you choose your genres?
- What did you learn?
- How did you connect your pieces into a cohesive whole?
- Are you happy with your topic choice? why?
- Complicated project calendar
- Need to prep resources for many writing genres
- Could have students gather 3 examples from a new genre and find common features and use those for criteria to create writing piece
- Could limit menu of genres to ones you already have prepped resources for
- Getting started
Multi-genre products actively engage students to explore multiple types of understanding by having them write in multiple genres. Each genre has different thinking and writing demands. This type of project could be good for advanced PBL teachers and advanced students who need a different type of project to break up the monotony of commonly assigned products. This can be used to explore and appreciate BIG IDEAS that have lots of layers.
- Conduct more research than is in this article – see related reading above and the source book
- Gather resources (mini-lessons, models, thinking sheets) for all the genres in the menu students will be allowed to pick from
- Design resources to help students choose their topics:
- Design an essential question that aligns to targeted standards and that students can unpack to choose a topic that interests them
- If course standards permit, design a preliminary research / topic selection activity that will allow students to choose topic that interests them
- Design project calendar that has:
- Adequate research time (near start of project)
- Milestone deadlines for genre types (middle of project)
- Milestone deadlines for coherent whole (end of project)
- Milestone deadlines for team product – reading theater piece (end of project)
Early Implementation Steps
- Facilitate project using resources designed above
- Provide A LOT of in class work time and in class feedback – see these articles for ideas – Critique / Feedback lessons and Writing Workshops
- Facilitate self reflections and self assessments that help students become aware of how their writing and understanding are developing throughout the project and to help students set and achieve academic goals
Advanced Implementation Steps
- Use 6 facets of understanding to create a genre menu that enables students to select one genre per facet of understanding.