Unit 3 Genre Assignment with Creator’s Statement

Unit 3 Project:  Creating in a New Genre — Putting Your Newly Gained Knowledge All Together and Convincing an Audience to Hear Your Message 

Now it’s time for some fun!  Think about what you want to teach your audience.  You can create in any genre that makes sense for communicating your message to your audience.  You have a lot of freedom for Unit 3 Genre Project; have fun with this!

  • Use your research to come up with your own message.  Think about the new knowledge you gained from your Unit 2 research.  Arrive at your own perspective.  Decide on a message. Your message will be informed by what comes out of your new-found knowledge from doing the research BUT it will be your own original messageYour message will be your own new thinking that has grown out of your research.  You cannot just cut and paste from the sources you found for your research.  
  • Integrate at least TWO references to from your RAB.
  • Identify and address the audience relevant to your project.
  • Choose a genre that you think will best reach that audience.

You will also write a one-page Creator’s Statement that explains your creative process.



What this assignment IS NOT:

It is NOT simply a copy and paste material from your RAB activity.  You cannot just give me the same material you did in your RAB.  You must take it to a new level. 


Project length: about 750 word minimum (3-4 pages) PLUS 250 word Creator’s Statement on the project. 

We will study and analyze mentor texts. These are called “mentor” because they are intended to teach. In the famous Greek epic poem Odysseus by Homer, the hero Odyseus leaves his home and family to fight in the Trojan War. While gone, he leaves his young son Telemachus in the charge of his friend Mentor to serve as his teacher and advisor. Also in the hero’s journey story, the mentor is the main character’s teacher.  So now you have learned a new vocabulary word!



  • Unit 2 asked you to research a topic, find research sources in different genres, and reflect upon your own ideas alongside those of secondary sources. In your project conclusion, you reflected on the important things you learned and what people should know about this topic. The next step is to bring your thoughts out of the classroom and into a wider community in the outside world.
  • In Unit 3, you will think on all that you have learned and decide on a message that comes out of your newly gained knowledge. You will decide on a target audience and choose a genre to communicate your message. Whatever you choose, it should be the genre that best reaches the audience you think needs to hear what you have discovered and learned.


  • How will you entreat people to engage with your work? Will they read an open letter or letter to the editor? Will they attend a speech or a TEDtalk?  Will they read a feature article in a magazine or an opinion editorial in a newspaper? Will they listen to a podcast?
  • The genre choice is yours, as long as it communicates your message appropriately and effectively, and you have considered how to best reach your target audience.
  • Notice that there is a story-telling element to all genres.  We learned how to tell a story in Unit One Educational Narrative.

Some Genres to consider:

  • Podcast
  • Brochure
  • Informational Poster
  • Video essay / Photo essay
  • Video Interview (must have at least 2 or 3 interviewees)
  • TikTok
  • Twitter thread/tweetstorm
  • Short fiction story
  • Poetry
  • Songs and/or song lyrics
  • Instagram story/page
  • Graphic novel or comic
  • Open Letter
  • Op-ed for a newspaper / website like NYTimes or Washington Post (WaPo)
  • Feature Article for a targeted magazine like People, PC Gamer, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated    OR for a targeted newspaper like NYT or WaPo
  • News Article for newspaper like NYTimes or WaPo)
  • Ted Talk / Speech
  • Animated video
  • or anything else you can think of and clear with me


Scroll down to explore some of the options.

I. Option to Write An Open Letter

Required length: 750 words minimum 3-4 pages DS (Double Spaced) minimum

An open letter is a letter that is intended to be read by a wide audience, or a letter intended for an individual, but that is nonetheless widely distributed intentionally.  Open letters usually take the form of a letter addressed to an individual or an organization but provided to the public through newspaper and other media, such as a letter to the editor.

Resources on open Letter

How to write a Letter (a walk thru)

Mentor Texts:

“We Need to Call Out Anti-Asian Racism For What It Is Racism, Period”

LWu Unit 3 Example Letter Diversity Inclusion Unit 3 Example by LWu


“Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King

“Letter From Birmingham Jail” (excerpts)

“Letter From Birmingham Jail” (entire)


Letter to City Council on Affordable Housing by Cindy Ashley, Orange County Activist

Pause Giant AI Experiments:  An Open Letter

Letter to My Son Ta-Nehisi Coates Between the World and Me

Letter to Governor Lee on the Slaughter of Our Children by Margaret Renkl (March 2023)

Open Letter to Hobbyists by Bill Gates (1976)

When I Left Spotify by Neil Young

For the Record, I am Not Pregnant. What I am is Fed Up by Jennifer Aniston

It’s Ok Not to Be OK by Naomi Osaka after the Tokyo Olympics

Open Letter by GLAAD (Gay Lesbain Alliance Against Defamation) accusing NYT of anti-trans bias

Video LetterMany Years After: City Tech’s Asian American Stories.  (an original City Tech production)

Six Open Letters That Changed The World

Famous Open Letters 


Guiding Points for Open Letter:

As the writer of this open letter:

  1. Identify yourself as a member of a particular community.

Identity:  How do you identify yourself in connection to the information you want to communicate?  Do not tell me you are African American or that you are a college student if this has nothing to do with the message of your letter.  In other words place yourself in connection to the community/ies you think needs to hear the message you discovered out of your research.

2.Then determine your audience.

Audience:  To whom will you address your letter?  Who might benefit from your research? Your audience will be a group that you think needs to hear your message.  Do you think your audience will be members of a particular group or community or organization?  Are you addressing a local community, say residents of a particular Brooklyn neighborhood, or a community/group on a larger scale–state, national (fellow Americans), or global?

*An open letter aims to be read be a wide swath of public;  however you should think in terms of your primary target audience.

3. The audience then determines the purpose. Will you persuade or inform or provide a solution?

Persuade or Inform or Provide a Solution (aka call to action). This part is your message; your message will be informed by what comes out of your new-found knowledge from doing the research BUT it will be your own original messageYour message will be your own new thinking that has grown out of your research.  You cannot just cut and paste from the sources you found for your research.

4.Give support for your thinking.

Support:  Give background or context (historical or political or social).

Support:  Refer to at least TWO of your sources and include a hyperlink to that source.

5.Include visuals.

Visual:  Include pictures or artifacts that can provide a visual connection to your letter (has a connection to your message or could be a symbol of your message).

6. Give your letter a TITLE.


II. Option to write an Op-Ed (an editorial, 750 words 3-4 pages DS minimum)

Mentor Texts:

Resources on Op-Ed

How do you know it’s an op-ed?  Opinion Editorial

How to Write An Op-Ed: How to write an Op-Ed (A Walk Thru)

Writing An Effective Op-Ed (Duke Univ) Writing an Effective Op-Ed  (good and clear)

How to Write an editorial, lesson from the NYT:  How to write an editorial from the NYT (video)

How to Write an Op-Ed from Duke University:  How to Write an Op-Ed from Duke University

How to Write an Op-Ed from Learning AgencyHow to Write an Op-Ed from Learning Agency

How to Write an Op-Ed from Harvard U:  How to Write an Op-Ed from Harvard U


III.   Option to write a Feature Article  (750 words 3-4 pages DS minimum)  

A feature article is an article written to give more depth to topical events, people or issues.  Written by an expert or a journalist, these texts provide background information on a  newsworthy topic as well as the writer’s personal slant or experience.

How to Write a Captivating Feature Article: 5 Tips

How to Write an Amazing Feature Article in 5 Steps

How to Write a Feature Article:  Feature+article+structure

Mentor Text:  In NYT “Love and Black Lives,” Annie Correal finds a photo album on the street, and a sense of human connection and intellectual curiosity lead her to tell the story of a Brooklyn block, the lives of several families, and United States history. Her initial, private thought process results in a New York Times article that chronicles her journey to follow the research about the people of Crown Heights neighborhood.

Mentor Text NYT Feature Article:  Why are More American Teens Than Ever Suffering From Severe Anxiety ?

Mentor Text The Guardian:  Schools are Killing Curiosity

Mentor Text NYT Regional Feature Article: NYC Comic Book Destination

Mentor Text Feature Article with Survey:   Global Survey Shows Young People Are Anxious Yet Hopeful (US News and World Report)

Mentor Text Feature Article with Survey:  Are Australians Socially Inclusive?  5 Things We Learned After Surveying 11K People for Half a Decade

Mentor Text: Ralph Yarl shooter was ‘scared to death,’ a pattern in shootings of Black men – The Washington Post

Mentor TextCovid-19 Took a Unique Toll on Undocumented Immigrants (feature article with photos)


IV.Option to give a TedTalk (5 minutes minimum) with Visuals 

You must turn in a written transcript with your TedTalk.

You must also create an outline and powerpoint (words and pictures) to submit with your video of Tedtalk or speech.

Resources on TedTalk

How to Write  Ted Talk in 7 Steps

Here are two TedTalks about Making a TedTalk:

  1. How to Tedx: How to Give a Great TedX Talk This short (less than 4 min) talk offers tips (such as):
  • Provide the listener with a core idea
  • Explain why you are the right person for this talk
  • Think about three main points and stories that might go with them
  • Try to shape your talk as a call to action

2. June Cohen: What Makes a Great TedTalk  (14:00 min) This video goes into more depth with examples and tips such as:

  • offer something new. This might be an interesting topic or a fresh angle on a familiar topic. Think local. Your personal perspective is often what makes an idea fresh
  • What can make your idea “stick”? What is urgent about your story?
  • Tell a story. Don’t just relay facts.
  • Start with a hook. (But avoid lame jokes.)
  • Practice! This goes for all writing, of course. Read out loud, always.

How to create a TedTalk — Ted Talk Template

How to Create a TedTalk Outline from Scratch

How to Make a Video TED talk

Official TEDtalk organization gives professional tips (you can still get ideas)

EASY way to create a TEDtalk using Zoom :   How to Record a Video Presentation using Zoom


Mentor Texts:

“The Danger of a Single Story” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


The Danger of a Single Story (transcript) by Chimamanda Ngozi

“Connected but Alone” by Sherry Turkle


Matt Cutts, “Try something new for 30 days.”


Richard St. John, “8 secrets of success.”


Kathleen Kolbert:  The End of Roe Vs. Wade:   What comes next for Reproductive Freedom?

Kathryn Kolbert: The end of Roe v. Wade — and what comes next for reproductive freedom | TED Talk

Megan Phelps Roper:  I grew up in the Westboro Baptist Church.  Here’s why I left

Quan Zhou: De todos los sitios y a la vez de ninguno 

Tim Urban: Inside the Mind of a Modern Procrastinator



V.Option to create a video essay (3-5 minutes minimum)

You must also turn in a written transcript of your video essay.

How to Make a Video Essay:  GOOD ONE (step by step for beginners by Jesse Sussman)

How to Create a Video EssayJBlaine-Poster-Multimodal-genres-Unit-3

MENTOR TEXTS: 10 Video Essays That Will Get You Addicted to Video Essays

Mentor TextMany Years After: City Tech’s Asian American Stories.  (an original City Tech production)

Mentor Text:  “Corona Virus Racism Infected My High School” by Katherine Oung (an op-doc)


Mentor Text: “A Conversation about Racism” (an Op-Doc)


Mentor Text I am not a virus:  Chinese Italian man protests corona virus-related prejudice

Mentor Text:  How Covid Changed Education (video feature report — This is long but you can get ideas)

WATCH LIVE: DISRUPTED — How COVID Changed Education — a PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs Special

Mentor Text:  Don’t Be A Bystander: 6 Tips for Responding to Racist Attacks  Don’t Be A Bystander

Mentor Text:  Young Playwrights Use Theatre to Fight Gun Violence(PBS Newshour video feature report)

Mentor TextHow to Make your Tiktok Into a Wes Anderson Film

Mentor Text:  #1 Way to Strengthen your Mind is to Exercise your Body (Wendy Suzuki neuroscientist)

Mentor TextThe Satirical Resurgence of Reefer Madness (by Yhara Zayd)

Mentor Text:  Woke Brands (by hbomberguy)

Mentor Text:Plagiarism and You(tube) by hbomberguy

Mentor Text:  Bloodborne A World without Hope by Shinigamieater

Mentor Text:  How much it really costs to buy a 1E house in Italy (CNBC make it)

Mentor TextDemocracy by Margaret Atwood (animated video essay —  informative — notice use of captions)



VI.  Option to create an Interview (5-8 minutes)

You must also turn in a written transcript of your interview.


Notes-on-How-to-Do-Interview-2-1 (1)

Tips on how to do a video on-the-street interview

Video Interview Mentor Text:  Asian Women Share Fear of Harassment (CNN  video news interview)

Collected Interview Mentor Text Reflections / Interviews with Sports Industry:  When the Coronavirus Shut Down Sports:  When The Clock Stopped

Mentor Text (written):  NYT Interview with Laurence Fishbourne on Autobiogrpahy of MX  and Theatre of the Mind

Mentor Text:  How Social Media Platforms Impact Kids and Teens

Mentor TextReflections on Love and Family (From Story Corps on NPR)

Mentor TextOn the Day Their Concentration Camp Was Liberated (from Story Corps on NPR) A Jewish mother and her daughter speak about her parents who met in a concentration camp


VII. Option to create a photo essay (3-4 pages, 750 words minimum)

How to Create a Photo Essay: Step by Step Guide with Examples, Masterclass

How to Create a Photo EssayStep by Step Guide with Examples, 500px

How to Create a Photo Essay: JBlaine-Poster-Multimodal-genres-Unit-3

Mentor Text: Time Magazine:  “I will not Stand Silent. 10 Asian Americans Reflect on Racism During the Pandemic and the Need for Equality”

Mentor Text:  “How One NYC Teen Navigated the Pandemic and Make It To Her Senior Year” by NYT writers Eliza Shapiro and Gabriela Bhaskar is an interactive essay with photos.

Mentor Text: Exploring Asian American Identity and Where We Are Really From 

Mentor TextGordon Parks’s Harlem Family Revisited

Mentor TextsThe Guardian Picture Essay

Mentor Text The Unexpected Beauty of Co-vid Hair (New Yorker Magazine)

Mentor Text:  Timeline:  A Year That Changed the NBA

Mentor TextIt’s Not Enough: Living on $100 in NY in the Pandemic

Mentor Text:30 Photo Essays with Examples to Explore

Mentor Text: The Haunting Cycle of Opportunity and Destruction in the American West (an op-ed photo essay from LA Times)


VIII.Option to create a podcast (5 minutes)

You must also turn in a written transcript of your podcast.

Podcast Types: 

  • Informational
  • Personal
  • Interview
  • Conversational
  • Roundtable Panel Discussion
  • Fictional/Theatre

ALSO — Video-Podcast:  A video podcast is simply a podcast with a video element. The video element could be as simple or as complex as you like, but it often consists of a single static image or a video recording of the podcast hosts and guests.

Resources on podcast and Video-podcast

Notes-on-How-to-Do-Interview (2)

Notes-on-How-to-Do-Interview-2-1 (1)

Effective questions


How to create a podcast, lessons from the NYT:

Free sound effects for pod casts: http://soundbible.com/free-sound-effects-1.html

How to Create a Podcast: JBlaine-Poster-Multimodal-genres-Unit-3

How to Write a Podcast Script (with templates)

Radio script (like podcast script)

How to Create a Video-Podcast (with resources)The PodCast Host

4 Ways to Create a Video-Podcast

8 Podcasts Formats For Your Show (excellent information with mentor text examples)

Podcast Planning Sheet

Elements of Effective Storytelling Handout

Podcast Listening Activity Sheet

NPR | Starting Your Podcast: A Guide For Students

Tools for Podcasting

Example Transcript for Podcast

Podcast with Transcript: Dark Thoughts (NPR)

Mentor Texts

Video podcast:  #1 Way to Strengthen your Mind is to Exercise your Body

The Story of Roe vs Wade:  Who was Jane Roe and how abortion became the most polictically divisive issue of our time (NTY The Daily informatonal podcast)

The Confirmation Hearing of Ketanji Brown Jackson (NYT The Daily informational podcast)

Modern Love: The Podcast R We D8ting (personal essay turned into a podcast)

How to Discipline Misbehaving Kids: Interview with Teachers: Is This Working? This American LIfe Podcast

Mentor Texts: Five-minute Podcasts by student winners

Narrative Interview with 90-year old holocaust survivor by student Lilla Shroff

Interview by Brooklyn Tech students:  Juuling at Brooklyn Tech High School

Listen to student Cece Benz’s first-person narrative podcast, “A Day in the Life of an Anxious High Schooler.”

In the podcast “Sexism at Lillian Osborne,” student Kaia Janmohamed used cultural references and quotes from reporters, politicians and activists.  Note that this is a huge topic, but she narrowed her exploration of sexism to experiences at her own school.

Informational podcast with expert (using interview clips):  “With the Opioid Crisis, Don’t Stop at Narcan” by student Kristina Vakhman

My Incarcerated Family” (interview) by student Samantha Zazueta

Here is a podcast that uses fiction and theatre: “Alexa, the Start of the Robot Revolution” by students Silas Bartol and Mila Barnes-Bukher.  If you like creative writing, this is an excellent example.

Conversation/Interview/Personal Narrative by student reporter WNYC (8-min): Seeking An End to Cycles of Domestic Abuse

More Mentor Texts

The Witchtrials of JKRowling

Why There’s No Such Thing as a Good Billionaire (host/comedian Adam Conover Video-Podcast). Funny and smart.  Also — Notice how he cites his sources.

The Semi-Conductor Shortage (still) (Planet Money, The Indicator, NPR)

Memories of Grandmother Sylvia and Legacy of Slavery — 2 min listen — beautiful story of reading and freedom (Storycorps on NPR)

Mentor TextReflections on Love and Family (mother and son conversation on Story Corps on NPR 3-min listen)

Mentor TextOn the Day Their Concentration Camp Was Liberated (Story Corps on NPR 3-min conversation) A Jewish mother and her daughter speak about her parents who met in a concentration camp

Mentor TextThe Book Review:  The Pulitzer Winners (interview with Hua Hsu “Stay True”)

Mentor Text: The Ezra Klein Show: Being Animal Could Help Us Be Better Humans (interview with Melanie Challenger, environmental philosopher)

Mentor Text Video-PodcastAppalachian Horror and Strange Stories (very long in its entirety but you can study the intro / tone / structure)


IX:  Option to Write a News Article (750 words 3-4 pages DS minimum).  Remember your Source 1 was a News Article, so you are familiar with News Article.

A news article is written to inform and educate readers on current affairs/events. They are used to provide readers with information they need/want to know about the world around them. News articles are written on a wide range of topics to reach the large target audiences of newspapers. Articles can range from current national and international affairs to sports and celebrity news.

How to Write a News Article from University of Hull (UK):  How to Structure a News Article

Mentor Text NYT News Article:  One Year in a Pandemic


X.  Option to write a Poem AND

  • Create a Visual Poem     OR
  • Perform a Poem

How to Write an Emulation Poem

Tips on Reciting a PoemPoetry Out Loud

Create a Visual PoemCreative Educator

How to Make A Visual POem (a video how-to)

Mentor Texts: 

A Viral Poem for a Virus Time by Kitty O’Meara (lots of ideas here!)

Broken English: Three Ways to Speak English by Jamila Lyiscott (spoken word performance)

Unlearning My Name by Mohamed Hassan (spoken word / visual poem)

Interview with NYC Youth Poet Laureate Stephanie Pacheco

Amanda Gorman, The Hill We Climb

Amanda Gorman reads her Inaugural Poem, The Hill We Climb



XI.  Option to create an Informational Poster

How to make an Informational Poster:  How to make a Research Poster (NYU)

Mentor Text:  Bystander Intevention Quick Guide to Reporting Hate Crime


Canva  AND    What is Canva?  (video introduction)

  • https://www.canva.com/ is a mostly free (especially if you upload your own images) design program that does everything from posters and banners to storyboards and comic strips. A real go-to tool for a lot of people


XIII.  Interactive Graphic Text

Mentor Text:  The NYC Subway Map as You’ve Never Seen It Before


XIV.  Comic Strip / Graphic Narrative

Mentor Text: Science Comics (Harvard Lab for AI)


XIV:  Newsletter

Medical Newsletter Templates (paywall!)

Canva graphic design for newsletter

Mentor Text:  NIH News in Health

Mentor Text:  Harvard Health Newsletter 



Explaining the rationale behind our actions and decisions is an important kind of reflective writing because it shows you and me how you researched, and thought about your conclusions.

Composers of all sorts often write a Creator’s Statement for their audience that explains their inspirations, intentions, and choices in their creative and critical processes. This helps the reader understand the process that led to the final product by providing insight into what the author set out to do, how they did it, and what they might do to further improve the piece.

A successful Creator’s Statement reflects your understanding of your chosen  written genre and audience (why you chose this method and who you chose to write to).

Your Creator’s Statement FOR YOUR PODCAST (Fall 2023 class) should address the following:

  • INTENTION :  What was your intention for this project?
  • Creation Process:  What was your process for creating this podcast? What software programs did you use and what was that learning process like?
  • Provide context. Give background on your composition, such as how you became interested in the topic, what were your inspirations?
  • Discuss your specific rhetorical situation and related choices:  What audience did you choose for your podcast?  Why did you choose this audience?  What is the purpose of your podcast?
  • Explain your choice of podcast as genre and how you worked within its conventions.  Explain how the podcast as a genre allowed you to communicate your ideas.  What elements of the podcast worked to your advantage in communicating your ideas?
  • Reflect on how it went.  Look back at your podcast and evaluate the extent of your achievement. Also note what you would have done differently or better. Are you proud and pleased with what you’ve written? Do you think you have been convincing and clear enough for your intended audience to understand your message and be influenced by your ideas?

*Note: This should be a clear document (one-page) that reflects on and justifies the writing choices you’ve made. Do not just merely answer each question in list form.

Your Creator’s Statement should address the following:

  • INTENTION :  What was your intention for this project?
  • Creation Process:  What was your process for writing or creating this letter, op-ed, podcast, comic, visual poem (whatever genre)?
  • Provide context. It’s useful to give background on your composition, such as how you became interested in the topic, what were your inspirations, or, if you’ve created a series of stories, how the pieces all fit together.
  • Discuss your specific rhetorical situation and related choices: In other words: answer the question “why?” Why did you decide to write in the genre you did? Why did you choose the audience you did? Why did you decide to talk about this particular aspect of your research? What is the purpose of your piece?
  • Explain your choice of genre and how you worked within its conventions. Maybe you created an opinion essay (op-ed).  An accompanying statement—in which you explain why you found the opinion essay to be the best way to communicate your ideas —would go a long way toward helping your readers get the most out of your work.
  • Reflect on how it went.  Use this as an opportunity to look back at your composition and evaluate the extent of your achievement as well as note what you would have done differently or better. Are you proud and pleased with what you’ve written? Do you think you have been convincing and clear enough for your intended audience to get what you’re saying and really be influenced by your ideas?

*Note: This should be a clear, detailed document that reflects on and justifies the writing choices you’ve made. Do not just merely answer each question in list form.

Grading Criteria for the Genre Project with Creator’s Statement:

  • Follows the conventions and formatting of your chosen multimodal genre
  • Integrates the research from your RAB (at least TWO references)
  • Uses quotes and/or refers to specific data or facts from your research
  • Uses tone, language, grammar and sentence structure appropriate for this genre
  • Carefully proofread
  • Submitted on time
  • Follows the WRITING PROCESS: Open Lab HWs submitted on time and comments used to write the Final Draft.
  • Worked with Writing Tutor

Helpful Resources:

Helpful resources for Unit 3   sound, podcasts, graphics, and video resources — lists of programs you can use to create your Unit 3 Project

Different Genres and Resources:   some-genres-Unit-3

The NYT has an entire list of “Mentor Texts” that help you write articles like a sports article and a personal health column. It’s quite useful.  It can be found here: https://www.nytimes.com/column/learning-mentor-texts


Here are tips on how to write a Letter To The Editor from the Letters Editor of the NYT:

The Letters Editor and The Reader:  Our Compact (NYT)


The New York Times on Letters from How the Young Deal With The Corona Virus



The New York Times on writing a Letter to the Editor:

What Would You Write in a Letter To The Editor?


The New York Times on writing an editorial:

How to write an editorial from the NYT (video)


The New York Times on creating a podcast: