The Recipe for Multigenre Writing

1 c. courage (of the teacher variety)

3 tbsp. encouragement

Pinch of creativity

11 willing biology students

Bake at 70° F for 15-20 minutes, and voila! 
Multigenre writing is in full effect!

After two weeks of, what I felt like, pretty darn stellar lessons (if I do say so myself…), I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to design yet another successful lesson around multigenre writing. I have said it before, but I am so genuinely thankful for a group of students this semester that are willing and eager, and roll with whatever crazy idea I throw at them week to week. But all that glitters is NOT gold, and I did feel just a bit less excited about the products as a whole this week. I also had some students who completely blew off this task, which is super not like them. Still investigating that… (Was it a full moon?)

However, I can’t fail to mention that, while a couple did kind of slack off, the majority produced, yet again, some really awesome work. I love that my students are really getting the hang of these. This is an Honors course, so of course I expect a certain quality of work. However, what you may be surprised to learn, is that Honors students are sometimes the most resistant in creative work. A lot of these students share the characteristic of really needing strict guidelines and rubrics (they have to have that A, and have to know what is expected to get it!). They are uncomfortable with no length requirements, no content requirements, and “Just be creative!” So to give them minimal guidelines, and only optional suggestions or “things to consider,” I’ve been really impressed by their lack of resistance and their willingness and ability to really just go with it!  Some really neat thought went into these. One student, when considering her “baking temperature,” asked “What temperature do cells function best at?” To which I responded, “Well what temperature does your body need to be at?” “Ohhhhhh!”

We are studying Protein Synthesis, the process that makes proteins from DNA through transcription and translation. So at this point in the implementation of my multigenre goal, I am thinking, what’s best for this topic? So with making protein I think, oh yes, recipes! To increase creativity and thinking, I am trying to give minimal, yet meaningful instructions. The instructions I gave are below:

Hello Chef! Today you will be writing a recipe for making protein! It is a delicacy in this part of the world and you are especially known for your dish!

Consider the format of a recipe. What things are typical in a recipe (ingredients, instructions, cook time and temperature, etc)? Also consider what you have learned about Protein Synthesis (locations, processes, products, etc). Be creative and have fun!

My favorite scrumptious product is below!

For our homemade Protein Bars you will need:

-Amino acids of any kind (keratin for hair, etc.)

-Polypeptides

-nucleotides

– a nucleus

-ribosomes

-DNA

-mRNA

-tRNA

In order to make the Protein bars, you’ll need to purchase our book, DNA recipes for dummies. This first step is written under the section called TRANSCRIPTION. You will begin with mixing the RNA molecules in the nucleus bowl, keep in mind to follow the directions written in the DNA template. Once you stir this up well you will have a single strand ribonucleic acid or an RNA. You will now pour this mRNA in the Ribosome mixer and leave it there to be mixed and read. This second step is labeled as TRANSLATION. Use your tRNA-spoon and dip it into the ribosome mixer and allow it to read the codons in the mRNA. If you used the Keratin earlier mentioned, the codon will code for a keratin amino acid group. Place these acids in the oven at about 98 degrees Fahrenheit. These acids will create a polypeptide which will chain up and create a protein! Now you have your protein bars! Eat up!

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2 thoughts on “The Recipe for Multigenre Writing

  1. bethabuchholz says:

    Your observation that “honors students are sometimes the most resistant in creative work” certainly rings true with my own experiences at the college level. It’s as if we teach children in K-12 (or maybe 6-12) that creativity isn’t valued in the world–at least not the world of school. Part of this I know is related to growing up with standardized test after standardized test.

    I notice that you’re being thoughtful each week about what genre make sense in relation to the article and/or science content. This is really at the heart of learning to do multigenre work well–understanding what genre makes sense with what you want to communicate! After a few more weeks, I wonder what would happen if you invited students into the decision-making process.

    Like

  2. Michelle Todd says:

    I agree that our honors students are usually the students that resist trying creative elements in their work. I think that sometimes they see the creativity as a waste of time in “getting the real work done.” They want to plug in what they know has worked in the past and want a nice clean answer at the end. You have done a good job this semester with challenging these learners in your classroom.

    I do think this week has been a little different for some learners at the elementary level as well. Our schedule has been altered many days this week. I don’t know if you have had that at the high school but maybe we Can blame the full moon. 🙂

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