Thursday, February 10, 2011

Multigenre Research: Student Reflections and a Teacher's Thoughts

The long, cold wenter seems a fitting metaphor for the challenges students and I faced navigating the multigenre research project, which I began assigning seniors last year.  Tom Romano created the multigenre research project, which in my class is a hybrid traditional/creative assignment. This year we began the project January 3, 2011 and today students (most) handed in their completed projects.

The way I have students approach research has evolved through the years, and the multigenre project is the latest incarnation of that evolution.

In his reflection, one student wrote about the six-page handout in exasperation. One student who wrote about abusive relationships referenced her abusive "ex-boyfriend." That's the best reflection I read since through her project she found her way out of the abuse.

 Some other student reflections follow:
  • I feel like this project has helped widen my writing skills and made me think a little bit harder on what contents I am adding to my paper.
  • Most projects tell me exactly what to do and how to do them. I felt like I had more control over the type of work I cose and the grade I will receive. I feel like this project was a real eye-opener on what real work is and how much time it truly takes to do a good job on it.
  • One thing I found really helpful was the note cards. Collecting data that I found relevant to my topic and recording them on the note cards really saved me time when it came down to the final deadline.
  • The other genres also got me thinking more about the topic and gave me more ideas for my paper.
  • This project has really been fun for me, because if [sic] gave me and [sic] opportunity to research about a job that I could discover and learn about.
  • I also learned that this project is extremely difficult. My computer seems to think so too considering it crashed on me three times in one night while compiling tghe final paperwork....
  • This little stack of papers is my pride and joy right now, and it's about to be fine-tooth picked combed by Mrs. Funk here, or already has.
  • When I first heard about this thing that my teacher was calling a multi genre research project...I thought that she was crazy to give us such and [sic] immense project.
  • Another thing I enjoyed about this particular project was the different genres that we did such as the Toondoos, Glogster, Prezi, or even looking on the and having the opportunities be endless.
  • If I had to do something differently I would do a lot differently....Hopefully learning from my mistakes will make me a better writer and a better student.
  • When I first looked at the project and all we had to do, I thought I would never be able to do it. It looked to [sic] big and hard for my brain to comprehend.
  • Things such as the poster are the things that I do best on; I am able to show my creativity.
Among the most enjoyable part of the project is the student presentations of two of their genres, including a love letter to a snowboard and a snowboarding video showcasing our local ski area, Pebble Creek. For students who shun traditional essays and who have creative talents not ofen evident in more traditional English classes, the multigenre research project offers the best of both worlds.


  1. It sounds like your students were challenged in a positive way and have learned a lot through this assignment. Sometimes you learn more with eyes wide shut. I would love to see your assignment handout for this!

  2. What I always find interesting is how students become empowered and energized after completing a task that challenges them. Maybe we can't expect students to just jump on board at first - challenge does mean work - but the sense of accomplishment, pride at having learned and produced something special is so rewarding to all of us - teachers and students.