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Blurring Genre: Exploring Fiction and Nonfiction with Diary of a Worm
|Grades||6 – 8|
|Lesson Plan Type||Standard Lesson|
|Estimated Time||Five 50-minute Sessions|
This lesson provides an introduction to the use of factual information in creative writing. Students first examine texts to identify how a published author incorporates facts in fiction writing by reading and questioning the books Diary of a Worm, Diary of a Spider, and Diary of a Fly (Cronin). After conducting inquiry on their own to gather facts on a topic decided upon by the class, students use their facts to write several diary entries collaboratively, entries which will contribute to a class book modeled on the mentor texts. Finally, students peer review each other’s work, and revise and edit their own writing before using the Multigenre Mapper interactive to publish their work.
Multigenre Mapper: Students can use this online tool to create original multigenre, multimodal diary entries in genres of their choice.
In the book Strategic Writing, Deborah Dean asserts the importance of inquiry to all effective writing (24). But inquiry doesn't apply only to research papers; it can provide the crucial details in engaging and entertaining fiction as well. Furthermore, using mentor texts helps students see possibilities for their own writing (60-61). Using mentor texts in the classroom helps students understand that what they read can help them as writers and can provide them with possibilities for writing-both in content and in genre.
In Genre Theory: Thinking, Writing, and Being, Dean explains how students develop sensitivity to how texts work differently when they are exposed to and work with a variety of genres. This increased sensitivity is important to students as they grow as writers. Finally, collaborative writing can "move students toward more thoughtful, sophisticated writing habits" (Dale 68). By working together on interpreting others' texts and writing their own, students develop as both writers and readers.
Dale, Helen. Collaborative Research on Collaborative Writing. English Journal 83.1 (January 1994): 66-70.
Dean, Deborah. Strategic Writing: The Writing Process and Beyond in the Secondary English Classroom. Urbana, IL: NCTE 2006.
Dean, Deborah. Genre Theory: Teaching, Writing, and Being. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 2008.