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Using Snowflake Bentley as a Framing Text for Multigenre Writing
|Grades||3 – 5|
|Lesson Plan Type||Standard Lesson|
|Estimated Time||Six 50-minute sessions|
Snowflake Bentley, a Caldecott Medal-winning book about Wilson Bentley, is an example of a multigenre picture book. Along with the biographical text are large, colorful woodcuts and sidebars describing Bentley's experiments with microphotography and other biographical data. In this lesson, students examine and sort multiple texts about snow, discuss the multiple genres represented in the Snowflake Bentley text, and develop a working definition of the term multigenre. Using that definition, they then work in pairs or small groups to create their own multigenre piece about winter using the Multigenre Mapper interactive and related resources for guidance.
- Multigenre Mapper: Students can use this interactive tool to create original multigenre, multimodal works using both drawings and written texts and naming genres for each section.
- Multigenre texts: This booklist provides many choices for students to select books of interest they can analyze for multiple genre representation.
These days, when students read and write, often it is not only in one genre. Instead, the types and kinds of reading and writing intertwine and blend together. Their work becomes multigenre. Tom Romano describes how multigenre texts work: "Multigenre allows us to 'meld fact, interpretation, and imagination,' into a series of self-contained pieces called crots that appear in forms that include poetry, prose, drama, and exposition" (109). In this lesson, students will be melding together folklore, fiction, nonfiction, and art to discuss the cross-curricular topic of weather. Teaching multigenre in the classroom is a natural way to incorporate reading, writing, and research into the content areas and other disciplines.
Romano, Tom. 1995. Writing with Passion: Life Stories, Multiple Genres. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook.
Grierson, Sirpa T. et al. "Exploring the Past through Multigenre Writing." Language Arts 80.1 (September 2002): 51-59.