Engaging Writers with Multigenre Research Projects: A Teachers Guide
Engaging Writers with Multigenre Research Projects by Nancy Mack offers preservice and inservice educators a method for using meaningful writing to connect students’ life experiences with school. Through interviews with family, friends, and community members, writers discover rich stories that become the foundation for their projects. The information gained from the interviews is supplemented and juxtaposed with academic research into related social issues. Students then communicate their multifaceted knowledge about their topics through carefully selected genres. Building the report from real-life genres both invites students to use their individual strengths with graphics, media, music, and art and challenges them to master unfamiliar genres that afford opportunities to document, represent, and complicate the lives of real people. Thus, a scrapbook project about a seaman who lost his life in the Pacific during WWII includes letters to his sister about his life aboard the USS St. Lo as well as a webpage about a Japanese monument that extols the religious motives of Kamikaze pilots, one of whom took this sailor's life. In another project, an incident of racism is dramatized in a play about the day that a young Hispanic boy is denied entrance into a dinner where his lighter-skinned father awaits. The play contrasts the perspective of a fearful, bigoted owner who had previously been reading a newspaper article about Jackie Robinson breaking the color line in baseball with the viewpoints of his wife and several bystanders. The event in the play is further complicated in other genres as the victimized boy becomes an adult whose angry daughter writes a journal entry about being forbidden to have Black friends while her father rationalizes in an inner monologue that he must protect his family from being rejected by the white town's people. This project ends with a eulogy that explains that this same father later changed his beliefs in order to accept new family members from other races. These multigenre research projects contain layers of facts, stories, and analysis, incorporating contradictory viewpoints and complex social forces that complicate topics that otherwise might have been previously reported as one-dimensional information.
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English Language, Report Writing, Rhetoric, Academic Writing, Study and Teaching
Arts and Humanities | English Language and Literature | Rhetoric and Composition
Mack , N. (2015). Engaging Writers with Multigenre Research Projects: A Teachers Guide. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.