Multi-Genre Fiction Assignment

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Lesson Plan

Weaving the Multigenre Web


Grades9 – 12
Lesson Plan TypeUnit
Estimated TimeTen 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author




A multigenre paper is a collection of different types of writing. Collaborating in small groups, students read novels either as a whole class, in literature circles, with a partner, or individually. They complete reading journals and, if working in literature circles, literature circle discussion roles for each day of discussion. Groups then self evaluate each day's discussion. Using journals, discussion notes and interactive analysis activities, students divide their story into sections. Utilizing the multigenre approach, they analyze the literary elements in their novel. Finally, utilizing Web technology, students link their genres together in a hypertext presentation or multigenre Web.

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Literary Elements Map: This online tool can be used by students to create a character map, conflict map, resolution map, or setting map, for stories they are reading or writing.

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This lesson combines reading and writing in a collaborative, small-group learning experience endorsed by Harvey Daniels. It utilizes the multigenre paper method of Tom Romano to analyze a novel. Finally, technology is integrated into the lesson by arranging the multigenre report as a hypertext Website. Jeff Wilhelm and Paul Friedemann explain, "Designing hypermedia projects encourages students to name themselves as readers, writers, and learners, and supports them in the achievement of better reading, idea development, sense of audience, classifying, organizing, collaborating, representing understandings, revising, and articulating and applying critical standards about the quality of their work" (15). From cooperative learning to self-reflection, this lesson reinforces the literacies that students need for success in and out of school.

Further Reading

Daniels, Harvey and Marilyn Bizar. 1998. Methods That Matter. York, Maine: Stenhouse.


Webb, Patricia R. 2000. "Changing Writing/Changing Writers: The World Wide Web and Collaborative Inquiry in the Classroom." Weaving a Virtual Web Practical Approaches to New Information Technologies. Urbana, IL: NCTE.


Romano, Tom. 2000. Blending Genre, Altering Style: Writing Multigenre Papers. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.


Wilhelm, Jeffrey D., and Paul D. Friedemann, with Julie Erickson. 1988. Hyperlearning: Where Projects, Inquiry, and Technology Meet. York, ME: Stenhouse.

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Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).



Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.



Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.



Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.



Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.



Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).


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Resources & Preparation


  • 5 or more copies of several novels for students to choose from

  • Web-authoring software such as FrontPage, Dreamweaver, Netscape Composer, Microsoft Word, etc. or blog sites like LiveJournal, MySpace, Blogger, and Facebook.

  • Internet access for each group

  • Access to a Website on which to upload Web pages or a CD burner and blank CDs

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Grades   6 – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Inquiry & Analysis

Literary Elements Map

Students can map out the key literary elements of character, setting, conflict, and resolution as prewriting for their own fiction or as analysis of a text by another author in this secondary-level interactive.


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  • Obtain access to computers and other software.

  • Arrange for an LCD projector and computer to project PowerPoint presentations to the class. Alternately, you can show the PowerPoints to small groups of students, huddled around a single computer.

  • Make copies of handouts and rubric. You will need one copy of each for each student except for the Group Discussion Rubric, of which you'll need one copy for each group for each day of discussion.

  • Familiarize yourself with the basic commands of the word processor on the computer that you're using. Also, explore the basics of creating a Website or Web presentation.

  • Test the Literary Elements Map and the interactive Genre Selection Chart on your computers to familiarize yourself with the tools and ensure that you have the Flash plug-in installed. You can download the plug-in from the technical support page.

  • Explore the sample student multigenre Webs and choose ones which you'd like to show your students. You might make bookmarks on the computer browsers for the Websites available for students.

  • Review the Catcher in the Rye model chart, which is included for the teacher's reference. It can also be shared with students as an example if they are familiar with the novel.

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Instructional Plan


Students will

  • identify and analyze literary elements in a novel.

  • divide novels into sections according to plot structure (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution).

  • decide which genres work best for each section, divide genres among group members, and individually complete genres.

  • work collaboratively with group members to compose a Website.

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Reading and Discussion Sessions

  1. Begin by going over the elements of fiction with students, using the Elements of Fiction Information.

  2. If working in literature circles, have students form groups of five. (This lesson plan can also be done with a whole class novel, partner books, or individual novels. The directions that follow can be adapted if you prefer not to use literature circles.)

  3. Share the assembled books which are available for the project, and ask groups to choose a novel to read and discuss.

  4. Pass out the Literature Circles handout, Reading Journal Instructions handout, and Rubric for Group Discussion.

  5. Have groups discuss the novels using the elements of fiction, reading journals, and assigned literature circle roles.

  6. Have students use group discussion rubrics to record notes over their day’s discussion and to practice possible genres for their Webs.

  7. Have groups evaluate their class participation in groups each day.

  8. Have groups analyze their novel by completing the Literary Elements Map tool. Remind students to print out their completed maps.

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Web Building Sessions

  1. Distribute and explain the Multigenre Web assignment.

  2. Show the information on the Multigenre Web.

  3. Invite students to explore several of the sample student multigenre Webs.

  4. Hand out the Possible Genres handout. Discuss and expand the list according to students' observations and suggestions.

  5. Hand out Genre Selection Charts, or demonstrate the interactive chart, showing students how to add items to the chart as well as how to print and save their work:

    • On the first screen, type your name and the title of the book your group has chosen.

    • Click Next to move to the chart screen and enter your information.

    • Enter the details on the sections of the novel, the events covered in the sections, and the literary elements and matching genres that you've chosen.

    • Demonstrate that writing is not limited to the size of the box shown on screen. Answers will scroll.

    • When you’ve finished writing your responses, click Finish at the top of the screen.

    • In the next window, click Print. Your answers will be displayed in a Web browser window.

    • To print answers, choose the Print command from the File menu. To save your answers, choose the Save As... command from the File menu. Students can open the file later in a Web editor or a word processor that imports HTML (such as Microsoft Word or AppleWorks). Because saved files are HTML, students can link their planning sheets to their Webs as appropriate, if desired.

    • Show students that the instructions for using the tool are available by clicking Instructions at the top of the screen.
  6. Hand out the Baby Steps handout and provide any instructions students need to use your Web-authoring software.

  7. Have students complete the first four steps on the Baby Steps handout as a group.

  8. Groups should write an “index” page as a link to the sections of their Web.

  9. Have students write their individual genres.

  10. Have students work in their groups to select links and construct the multigenre Webs on their group Websites.

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Related Resources


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Unit

Having My Say: A Multigenre Autobiography Project

Students compose a multigenre paper, modeled after the Delany sister's autobiography, Having Our Say, that includes the autobiographical narrative essay as well as an informational nonfiction piece.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Building Vocabulary: Making Multigenre Glossaries Based on Student Inquiry

Students choose unfamiliar words from their reading and create a multigenre, multimodal glossary of terms.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Reading and Analyzing Multigenre Texts

Students develop a definition of multigenre texts by exploring multigenre picture books. They brainstorm what it takes to read these texts successfully and discuss strategies needed to comprehend the texts.


Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Using Snowflake Bentley as a Framing Text for Multigenre Writing

Using Snowflake Bentley as a model, students create a working definition of multigenre text and then use that definition to create their own multigenre piece about winter or another theme.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Unit

Designing Museum Exhibits for The Grapes of Wrath: A Multigenre Project

Using The Grapes of Wrath as a backdrop, students conduct research on issues that the novel addresses, publishing their findings in a multigenre museum exhibit.


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Grades   6 – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Inquiry & Analysis

Literary Elements Map

Students can map out the key literary elements of character, setting, conflict, and resolution as prewriting for their own fiction or as analysis of a text by another author in this secondary-level interactive.


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Grades   9 – 12  |  Calendar Activity  |  December 2

David Macaulay was born in 1946.

Students use the Multigenre Mapper interactive to explore Macaulay's use of multiple genres by composing original multigenre texts.


Grades   3 – 8  |  Calendar Activity  |  August 1

The prototype for the World Wide Web was created in 1990.

Students look at pictures from the past using the WayBack Machine and brainstorm a few websites to explore to think about how they have changed over the years.


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My juniors don’t know it (unless they read this blog, in which case, hi students! Surprise!), but they are going to begin a multigenre research project in a couple of weeks.

I first learned about multigenre research papers from Buffy Hamilton—I had heard of multigenre research papers before I attended Buffy’s session at the annual GCTE conference, but I hadn’t learned about them. In that session, she recommended Tom Romano’s book Blending Genre, Altering Style, which is still the gold standard for multigenre research writing. I walked out of the session very excited to try this kind of writing with my students, but I needed some time to figure out how to do it and what I wanted it to look like.

Buffy exemplifies what is best about Web 2.0 in her willingness not only to share her presentations, but also her materials with teachers who might not have been fortunate enough to attend her presentation (and, of course, those who were). Here is a link to her wiki page with her presentation and materials. I adapted the materials, and in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license under which Buffy shared her materials, you can download mine under the same license. Note: These files are PDF’s. If you just want to print, click the link and click Print. If you want to save the files, right click and save the link (save link as, save target as). You should be able to download them that way. If not, let me know.

The twist on the assignment for me, and the main way I changed Buffy’s materials, is that I want my students to share their projects using a Google Site. Our school has Google Apps, and I think using Google Sites will be a good way for students to learn a little bit about online publishing but still maintain control over who sees their work—Google Sites can be shared only with others on the network.

You can create multigenre research projects on anything, but I want my students to research a British author. Because I think a model is essential in undertaking an assignment like this one, I created a model for the assignment. Here is my Jane Austen multigenre research project. My angle is that in the last fifteen years or so, we’ve seen Jane Austen’s impact on pop culture grow, well, I don’t want to say exponentially because it might not be quite that profound, but you get the idea. Math folks? Exponentially or not? Anyway, I attribute a lot of this growth to the 1996 BBC film of Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth (congratulations, Colin Firth!) and Jennifer Ehle.

Feel free to download and adapt the materials I shared, though original portions of the Jane Austen project are copyrighted by me (portions of the work owned by others are cited on the Works Cited page). You can share the project with your students, but please do not duplicate it on your own website.

photo credit: Tim Riley 澳大利亚

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