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December 02

David Macaulay was born in 1946.

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David Macaulay was born in 1946.

Grades 9 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Author & Text





Born in England, Macaulay came to the U.S. as a child. He received his B.A. in architecture in 1969 and has since worked as an illustrator, graphic designer, and author. Macaulay is well known for his books on architectural structures, which feature a unique genre blend of fact and fiction. He has earned a number of awards for his work, including the Caldecott Medal (for Black and White) and Honor Awards (for Castle and Cathedral).





Invite your students to explore Macaulay's use of multiple genres by composing original multigenre texts using the interactive Multigenre Mapper. This tool invites students to create original works that include one drawing and three texts.

  • First, select a topic for students' multigenre texts. You might choose a subject you are currently studying in science or social studies or let students choose their own topics.

  • Next, ask students to brainstorm a set of subtopics and possible writing genres (for example, poetry, recipes, fables, journal entries, or news articles) that could be used to share the subtopics with readers in an engaging way.

  • Have students use the Multigenre Mapper Planning Sheet to write rough drafts of their texts.

  • Finally, have students visit the interactive Multigenre Mapper to compose their texts online.

Have students print and share their final texts, explaining how they blended different genres to create their final products. Create a display or index of the texts so that other students in the school can enjoy them. Include some of Macaulay's texts to tie the project together.




  • David Macaulay

    David Macaulay's site at Houghton Mifflin offers information about Macaulay and his books. Highlights include a video of Macaulay at work, animated demonstrations and slide shows of parts of his books, and the text of some of his speeches and interviews.


  • Teaching Multigenre Writing

    This workshop from the "Write in the Middle" program focuses on multigenre writing and includes a related reading from the NCTE journal Language Arts.


  • Building Big

    PBS offers this companion site to their series Building Big, hosted by David Macaulay. The site offers an Educator's Guide to the series, as well as several interactive features.




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Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Using Snowflake Bentley as a Framing Text for Multigenre Writing

Using Snowflake Bentley as a model, students create a working definition of multigenre text and then use that definition to create their own multigenre piece about winter or another theme.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Reading and Analyzing Multigenre Texts

Students develop a definition of multigenre texts by exploring multigenre picture books. They brainstorm what it takes to read these texts successfully and discuss strategies needed to comprehend the texts.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Postmodern Picture Books in Middle School

Students analyze the structure of a postmodern picture book, Black and White, to uncover how authors create unexpected plots and connections and form relationships between words and illustrations.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Unit

Weaving the Multigenre Web

Students analyze the elements of a novel in many different genres and then hyperlink these pieces together on student-constructed Websites.


Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Unit

Zines for Kids: Multigenre Texts About Media Icons

Special edition! Students use ReadWriteThink tools to create magazines about prominent figures using a variety of writing genres and styles.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Unit

Having My Say: A Multigenre Autobiography Project

Students compose a multigenre paper, modeled after the Delany sister's autobiography, Having Our Say, that includes the autobiographical narrative essay as well as an informational nonfiction piece.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Building Vocabulary: Making Multigenre Glossaries Based on Student Inquiry

Students choose unfamiliar words from their reading and create a multigenre, multimodal glossary of terms.