Instead of producing a single, large report, a multigenre project requires students to separate the information into multiple, smaller products in various genres. Students collect facts/information as they would for a traditional report. Then, they must choose which information to present in each format. No information can be repeated within each student’s project. This requires students to evaluate how to present specific facts; students must determine a best fit.
Charlene Crouch at Selma Elementary (Selma, IN) integrated a variety of writing genres within her students’ research projects on U.S. states. (Download a fifth grade student example on Colorado.) Requiring specific types of information and facts, students had to present the required data within a variety of genres.
- A title page
- A table of contents
- A forward letter (in friendly letter format) that introduces the state researched and a little background on why the student chose it
- A 250-word expository article or essay on the state including capital city, state bird, flower, population, climate, popular landmarks, historical events, or important people related to the state, etc.
- A poem (of any form, including acrostic, free verse, rhyming, concrete, etc.)
- A photo collage including highlighted places, scenes, objects, and landmarks (minimum of five photos; all must include captions written in sentences)
- A hand-drawn state map identifying the capital city, three additional places/cities to visit, and major rivers/waterways
- Any two additional genres that provide additional information specific and unique to the state. Possibilities include:
- A hand-drawn license plate, with a detailed explanation for the design
- An additional poem about the state
- A timeline of important events related to state
- A bumper sticker design that relates to the state, including a detailed explanation
- A travel brochure that highlights annual festivals or events within the state (including explanations of each event, who would attend, why the event is being held, what/who the event honors, etc.)
- A journal entry from a famous person from the state (written in first person)
When Mandy Keele, Southside Elementary (Columbus, IN) learned about the multigenre research project during the 2011 Smekens Literacy Retreat, she wanted to try it with her fourth graders. Her students selected topics of interest and collected information about their subjects, taking notes and organizing facts. Check out a couple student samples.
For more information, read Multigenre Research Project: Everything You Need to Get Started by Melinda Putz.