Multigenre research projects using the newspaper genres

  • Education
  • Sunday, 05 Jul 2020

MULTIGENRE writing has become one of the most productive approaches teachers can use to help students write creative, informational research reports.

With the great changes in society, research is still essential, but not necessarily in the traditional format expressed above. Few people today will need to write their research in a formal essay with footnotes and an extensive bibliography.

Instead, people today are asked to publish their research in a manner that other people can easily digest. Readers want graphic application formats that speak to the type of information that needs to be communicated.

When given a choice, most students will opt for a multigenre paper because they feel that it is less difficult. What students don’t realise is that more critical thinking is involved in this process than the traditional paper.

For example, if a student or the class were producing a multigenre newspaper for Min Fong Ho’s The Clay Marble, the newspaper published might include (but is not limited to) these genres: hard news articles, display ads for fashions and/or products from that time period, obituaries for those that die in the story, letters to the editor regarding a possible trial and an editorial cartoon depicting the fall of the Khmer Rouge.

Additional components could be included. Students could use desktop publishing skills to design the report in actual newspaper format with columns and images just like the front page of the newspaper.

The written content could also be produced as a multigenre web page or website.

With multigenre research, students must come up with an application format that they themselves create for use with their information. Students must also make extensive use of technology and have a solid knowledge base in different writing formats.

Over the coming weeks, The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education programme presents this guide to help teachers steer their students and succeed in that effort.

Creating a multigenre comic stripA comic strip takes the essence of a particular subject and makes us laugh at the matter. Through a series of illustrations and blurbs, the reader should be able to find humour, or gain a new insight from the particular situation.

What an essay does through words, a comic strip does through visuals.

Characteristics/Rubric base• An incident, an issue, and event that is fairly universal.

• Provide a series of four, five or six illustrations that takes the reader from the beginning of the happening through to a conclusion.• Illustrations should include the setting, one or more characters, and some sort of problem, conflict, or fairly commonplace situation.

• Characters in the comic should reveal their feelings through their facial expressions, body language, and word blurbs.

• To make the reader laugh, the comic strip should have exaggerations, the unexpected, a play on words, common elements that most people would know, and/or shock value.

• Mental as well as physical activities can be the focus of the comic strip.

• The comic should make the reader laugh, think more deeply about, or question what they have just seen and learnt in the comic strip.

Curriculum linksThere is no subject area where you would be unable to use comic relief. To get a point across regarding an issue,

a plot line, a procedure, a happening, or whatever else, comics can be used to make a strong point in a simple way. The characters in the comic can come from the newspaper, the text, real life, television and/or movies.

The words and actions of these characters are then manipulated through visualisations and blurbs to make strong statements.Newspaper connectionUsing the rubric, examine comic strips in today’s Star Lifestyle section. Which elements of the rubric were used in the comic strips? Which comic did you enjoy or feel entertained by? Why? Now design and write your own comic strip on a topic of your choice. Students may work in pairs with one student being the illustrator while the other student writes text.

Creating a multigenre classified advertisementClassified ads are important to the public in that they announce items for sale, jobs that are available or wanted, available services, and anything else that someone might be looking to acquire.

Since there are usually no visuals, the reader must be attracted through a strong use of words. These ads are short and to the point because the longer the message, the greater the cost.

Characteristics/Rubrics base• Brief request for job opportunities or jobs wanted, services being offered, and/or items to be purchased or sold.

• Use of a few well-chosen words.

• Description of job, product or service.

• Qualifications or requirements that link to the job, service, or item.

• Cost factor (may be optional).

• Contact information.

Curriculum linksAny area of the curriculum can make use of a classified advertisement format. Students just need to think about the content and jobs, services and items that might need to be purchased or acquired.

The students would then link these characters/personalities with an item and write an allied classified ad. It does not matter whether or not the characters are fictional or non-fictional.

For example, if the students were studying explorers, they might want to develop an advertisement looking for crewmembers that would accompany them on a particular voyage.

Newspaper connectionUsing the rubric, examine classified ads in a copy of The Star newspaper. Which elements of the rubric were used in the ads? Which ads did you think made the job, product or service being sold sound interesting? Why? Which ads did you think were not effective? Why?

Now write a classified ad fora job, product or service you are interested in. Next week: Creating a multigenre hard news article and a multigenre advice column.Since 1997, Star-NiE has been making a difference in the English language classrooms nationwide, with an emphasis on aiding teaching-learning activities with the use of authentic newspaper materials. Published on Wednesdays, The Star’s NiE pullout is available only through school subscriptions of The Star.

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