One of the staples of the beginning of the year is spending a little time introducing genre. This post provides you with five days of activities that will give your students a firm genre foundation.
What is your favorite genre of movies? Books?
How do you know you love that genre over others?
When we teach kids to read and begin helping them pick out books, we eventually find that many kids will prefer one genre over another. This preference for different genres will follow them into adulthood and affect many of their daily choices, including what movies they watch, which sections they look through at the bookstore, which TV shows they stream, and which podcasts they listen to.
As we begin introducing genre to our students, they will already have some preferences, but they are also very early in understanding what style each genre really represents.
Often students have preferences solely based on the genres they are most often exposed to at home, and this is our opportunity to show them all of their options and help them appreciate the differences between each.
To begin introducing genres, we are going to take 5 days to help students better understand different genres and the qualities of each.
Remember, as we begin introducing genres, that we aren’t trying to get students to pick their favorites; instead, we are building awareness and knowledge that will help students create unbiased foundational baselines of the genres we are studying and help them recognize and identify the different genres when asked.
Introducing Genre in 5 Days
Day 1: Assess
Let’s begin introducing genre by downloading the Introduction to Genres FREE Slides. You can use them in PowerPoint or open them in Google Slides!
This slide show is set up to reveal 2-3 facts about each genre and three books within the genre. When using the ‘presenting’ mode, these facts and images are presented one at a time.
Using this slide show, go through each genre slide and assess students’ prior knowledge. One at a time, disclose each fact and book associated with the genre, then before you present the genre, ask students to write down their genre guesses. This activity works great with whiteboards as students can write down their genre guess and hold it up before the answer is revealed, and you can quickly assess how much prior knowledge your students have on the topic.
Option: make a list of the genre choices available to students before beginning the slide show to help them narrow down their choices.
Day 2: Whole Group Practice
For our whole group practice, we suggest using one or both of the following activities. The first is activity is great for a group that needs very structured instruction, and the second activity provides students with a little more time to interact with others and talk through their ideas.
Activity #1: As a full group, read 2-3 picture books and have students determine the genre. Make an anchor chart with the most common genres.
Activity #2: Another great activity for day 2 is the Digital Review Activity. Each question in this activity provides four different options that students can use to deduce the correct answer. As a full group, go through the questions (you can also put students into groups and use the provided game board). After the students answer the question and the answer is revealed, have small groups of students discuss how they knew the answer (if they got it right) or why they chose a different answer (if they got it wrong). As a group, discuss the passages students really struggle with the most.
Day 3: Small Group Practice
On day 3 of introducing genre, we’ll begin by breaking students into groups and giving each group a picture book that is a different genre than the other groups. With their book, each group will create a chart with the book title, genre choice, and their reason (or example from the text) explaining why they chose that genre.
You can continue this type of practice over the course of several days, with the groups getting a new book each day, or you can have each group share their findings with the whole group on the first day.
Another option for this small group practice is to have the books set out on tables and have the groups rotate through the different books (kind of like a gallery walk). With this style of activity, you have lots of options for students to record their findings. They can place a sticky note with their thoughts on the inside of the book, or they can use small sticky notes to pinpoint the parts of the book that helped them make their decisions, or you can have them use the same recording method as before where they create a chart with the title, genre, and explanation.
Day 4: Independent Practice
Today, students will do a Genre Sort. Print slides 6 to a page for students to use in a variety of ways. Have students sort them by fiction/nonfiction, or before copying them for the class, remove the genre and leave that space blank for them to write the genres in. They could then glue them into their notebooks or use the pages as is. Print them out for students to have as a reference throughout the year.
Day 5: Review
It is time for some review! Review day is the perfect day to bust out the Genre Game Show Review. You can have students work through the Genre Game Show Review in small groups, or you can do the activity as a full group utilizing whiteboards. Either way, this Jeopardy-style game is a fun way to review everything we’ve learned these last 5 days.
But wait! There’s more; if you are looking for some additional, fun ways to use those Game Show slides, I’ve got the post for you. Check out Repurposing Game Show Slides! This post will give you some go-to ideas for repurposing those Genre Game Show Slides throughout the year as a review!
Once you’ve introduced genre in the classroom, any one of these activities is something you can replicate throughout the year to review the different genres. Begin by repurposing the Game Show Slides, but you can also use the Genre Slides as a sort, the Digital Review Activity, and the Genre Game Show as review centers.
Don’t forget to look for organic methods for reviewing genres as you visit the library, talk about recent movie releases, or even investigate your students’ favorite video games. All of these provide opportunities to talk about genre with students every day! You could even print the slides as posters to hang and refer back to!