Unit 3 Genre Assignment

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.
  • Identify and address the audience relevant to your project.
  • Choose a genre that you think will best reach that audience.
  • Write a one-page Reflection/Artist 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 Reflection/Artist 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 Oddyseus 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 about the pandemic and how lives are changing, 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 informational letter or letter to the editor? Will they listen to a speech or a TEDtalk?  Will they read a magazine article or newspaper editorial? Will they listen to a podcast with a written transcript?
  • 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
  • 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
  • Letter to a targeted audience
  • 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

I. Option to Write A Letter

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

Resources on 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 Birminham 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


As the writer of this 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?

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

Persuade or Inform or Provide a Solution. 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.

3.Give support for your thinking.

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

4.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).

5. 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 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 give a TedTalk (5 minutes minimum) with Visuals

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

Resources on TedTalk

How to create a TedTalk — Ted Talk Template

How to Create a TedTalk Outline from Scratch


Mentor Texts:

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


“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


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

You must also create a script or an outline to submit with your video essay.

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

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:  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)


V.  Option to create an Interview

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


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

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

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. As we will discuss in class, a photo essay turned out to be the appropriate genre for telling her story.

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 TextGordon Parks’s Harlem Family Revisited

Mentor Texts:  30 Photo Essays To Get Inspired

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


VII.Option to create a podcast (5 minutes min)

You must also create a script, an organized list of talking points, issues you will address to submit with your podcast.

Podcast Types: 

  • Informational
  • Personal
  • Expert Interview
  • Roundtable Panel Discussion

Resources on podcast

How to create a podcast, lesson from the NYT:


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

Mentor Texts

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)






VIII.   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 Feature Article:  Feature+article+structure

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

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


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 make a VIsual Poem:  How to Make A Visual POem (a video how-to)

Mentor Texts: 

A Viral Poem for a Virus Time by Kitty O’Meara

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


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




Once you’ve written your new genre text, you’ll also write a Reflection Statement to go along with it, something that tells me

  • what you intended to accomplish,
  • who your intended audience was,
  • what you went through to get your whole project done,
  • how well you think it turned out,
  • and where you think your Unit 3 project might be published and shared with your intended audience.



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 an Artist’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 Artist’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 Artist’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.


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: