Implementing Multi-Genre Research Projects with Technology – NVWP Summer Institute – Day 13 pt. 1

Our final week! We are bummed.

Our first presentation is Diane Myers.

Multi-Genre Research Projects

Multigenre Cover

She gets us moving with a Four Corners activity: how has research changed over the years for you professionally or personally?

We move to a corner of the room corresponding to our grade level.

Team middle school

Our middle-school group talks about the challenges of research in the 21st century. As teachers we often struggle with how to handle research in a way that honors both the analog world (books, libraries) and the digital world (databases, boolean searches).

We then share out whole group. Some of us mention that the nature of the research project matters greatly. Since a research paper has so many components within it (indexing, searching, skimming, bibliographies, citations, MLA/APA style, etc.) that the actual research/learning often gets lost. Is this source reliable? Is this article credible? My neighbor mentions how important it can be to give the students the information that they need to help them research vs. making them do every single part. Many of us have great relationships with librarians.

Diane is going to talk to us about the final step of the research project. The communication of information. When we think about what we want our children to learn, the communication of information is pretty important. She sends us to Padlet. (A free app/website) Padlet is a great place to share information with a larger audience. Sort of like a Google document only more visual. Everyone has their own space and students can’t mess with each other’s typing.

Here is Our NVWP Padlet and a pic of our thoughts on ‘What does research writing look like in your classroom?’

Our padlet

All you do is double-click anywhere and start typing in your box. And in each box you get to insert links, images, videos, etc. Diane uses Padlet for many things including homework. In the following pic students did their homework, took a picture of it with their iPad, then posted it on a Padlet Diane set up.

HW Padlet

OK. So, what is a multi-genre paper?
It arises from research, experience, and imagination.
Composed of many genres and subgenres, each piece is self-contained, making a point of its own, yet connected by a theme or topic and sometimes by language, images, and content.
It is not an uninterrupted, expository monologue nor a seemless narrative nor a collection of poems
May contain many voices, not just the author’s.

How is a multi-genre paper different?

How is a MG diff

What are multi-genre artifacts?
Print Media: profile, news article, loetter to the editor, editorial
Visuals with Words: posters, ads, geeting cards, word clouds, emblem, timeline
Visual Display: art work, map, collage, artifacts for time capsule
Informational: quiz, recipes, menus, how to, charts, biographies, encyclopedia entry
Narrative: story, memory, eyewitness account, narrative poem or ballad
Poetry: found poem, bio poem, haiku, free verse, song lyrics
Performance: podcast, public service announcement, dance, puppet show, video, speech

How exciting is this list of possible products, right? When we think about keeping education relevant to the 21st century (which can be a tricky phrase if used as a Trojan Horse to sneak in useless corporate software into schools), the isolation of the lone research project comes to mind as an aging artifact. With so many options, kids have no choice but to find something that’s both challenging and engaging (with our help, of course!)

Diane takes a minute to tell us about Tom Romano. Most credit his book Blending Genre, Altering Style with kicking off the multi-genre project. There are tons of resources online about this, as well.

When it came time for students to share their multi-genre research projects, she had each student make their own QR code that linked to their Padlet.


So, students had an empathy unit where they investigated topics such as post-traumatic stress disorder, dyslexia, ADHD, biploar, etc. They then created research notes using Easybib, a free program that helps students organize research, create notes, paraphrase, create bibliographies, etc. Then they export it to Google! When I think about the power of technology in the class, I think about how it renders obsolete many of the small tasks we adults associate with classroom tedium. Bibliographies, where the comma goes, etc. As superintendent Josh Starr said, if you can Google it, why teach it?


She then has them fill out a graphic organizer in Google Docs. She uses Google Classroom to do pretty much everything. “Here’s the assignment, here’s the rubric, here’s where you turn it in.”

Here’s what a student example looks like:

Multigenre table of contents

Each hyperlink in the table of contents takes you to the particular assignment which is in Google Docs or Google Slides. At this point the collective jaws of the room are on the floor.

Diane then brings us to the big daddy of classroom tools: This site has all sorts of amazing ways to let kids take advantage of technology in a controllable format. SMS generators to make student made text message conversations look authentic, Fakebook pages, video game screens, etc. You must check out this site.

Now we get to try! DIane passes out a fact sheet she’s made for the sake of this presentation with information about mental health conditions. Then, she gives us our multi-genre artifacts. My partner and I had to create a recipe for Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Here is our product:

Our MGR Poem

Diane tells us you can differentiate by having some of the genre artifact planning pages have sentence starters. We share out. THEY ARE AMAZING. Advice letters about kids with ADHD. I Am poems about Autism. Absolutely fantastic work, Diane!

One comment

  1. Pingback: Writing Resources from the Northern Virginia Writing Project | Mr. Anderson Reads & Writes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s