A multigenre project is a collection of writing pieces in different text forms, each presenting a different perspective on the same topic or theme.
Some considerations before beginning:
What are the learning goals for this project? Is the main objective to create a clear and cohesive multigenre package, using several pieces of writing in different formats? Or are there individual criteria for each writing piece? Are students expected to follow a writing process or just submit the final pieces? Do you want the pieces printed into a booklet, displayed on a board, or presented in multimedia form? Establishing these goals will guide your teaching and your assessment.
How will I evaluate the project? A grade on a year-end project is pretty meaningless to the students’ overall report cards, but they need some sort of indication that their work was read and (e)valued. But you don’t need to spend a lot of time grading and crafting sage comments on the project. Be sure to comment and offer feedback as students are working and throughout the process.
What writing requirements will I establish? The amount of time you have to spend on this project will impact its requirements. For a short timeline (2-3 weeks), I would recommend a short informational research piece and a persuasive piece, neither more than 1-2 pages long. In addition, students should be required to write at least 3 pieces representing different text forms, such as poems, letters, procedures, biographical sketches or comic strips.
To support independent learning, you might consider…
– Brainstorming possible topic lists, perhaps linking to content areas, but ultimately allowing students to choose their own topics.
– Creating an anchor chart of different text forms to choose from. (Click here for a suggested list.)
– Having students submit a Project Proposal to ensure that they have an overall plan and run less risk of becoming floundered in mid-stream (to mix fishing metaphors)
– Requiring students to submit first drafts of foundational writing pieces for feedback before publishing.
– Establishing Due Dates for each section of the project.
– Planning a celebration at the end, to share with one another and/or with other classes.
You can read more about Multigenre Projects and see several examples in Lori’s book The Write Genre, available from Stenhouse (US) or Pembroke (CA).