DURHAM, N.H. — Every spring, Linda Rief, who is in her 25th year of teaching English at Oyster River Middle School, has eighth graders do a semesterlong “genre” project. They pick a subject area like mysteries, read masters like Agatha Christie, study the writer’s craftsmanship (“Explain how the author foreshadows doom”), then draft their own.
In a curriculum based on the Common Core ELA standards, you could organize a project around genre, but why would you? Understanding or using the concept of genre, or any particular genres, is not part of the standards. Studying a writer's craftsmanship is totally in the wheelhouse of the Common Core. 8th grade is the last chance to write fiction, so I guess teachers should take advantage of that.