Melissa's Blog

“The Invention of Hugo Cabret” Project

  The Invention of Hugo Cabret Multigenre Project

Melissa Lange

Spring 2010

RE 5130

 Table  of Contents

Diary of Hugo

Invitation to Georges Melies’ Life in the Movies (movie poster)

Brochure of Automatons

Obituaries of Hugo’s Father and Uncle

Diary of Hugo

     Since Hugo was the main character in the book, I thought it was important to express his thoughts and feelings.  The best way was through diary entries.  I was able to further explain how Hugo was feeling and what was going on inside of his head.  As the reader, I was able to get a good understanding of Hugo through inferring.  Hugo had a series of emotion throughout the whole book: sadness, excitement, fear, adventure, etc.  The diary entries will show a higher level of understanding Hugo.  It will show the development of higher order level thinking skills.

October 11
This has to be the worst day of my life.  There was a sudden knock on the door late last night and it was Uncle.  He told me to go with him with no explanation.  I was scared.  As we walked to the train station in the pitch black, he told me the details of the horrible scene.  I could not believe what I was hearing…my dad dead!  Could this really be real or was it a terrible joke my uncle was playing on me.  When I woke up this morning I realize that it was real.  I can not feel anything.  How am I going to survive without my dad?

October 20
I walked to the old museum tonight.  There was nothing left of the building.  As I was staring at the ashes, all I could think about was what was going on in my dad’s head that night.  Knowing that there was no way out was the last thought in his head.  When I was about to leave I noticed something.  It was the automaton that I begged dad to fix.  I couldn’t resist and I brought it back to the train station with me.  I am going to have to hide it from Uncle.

December 24
It is so lonely without dad.  Uncle is never here.  He goes out until all hours of the night and comes home drunk.  I am hungry all the time.  He has taught me how to keep all of the clocks running in the train station as well as how to fix them.  I don’t think it is a safe job for someone my age, but I have no choice.  I wish I could go back to school and be with all of my friends.  I miss them.  I miss my dad.  I wish my life was back to the way it was when dad was alive.

February 9
I have started a notebook with sketches of the automaton.  It is my goal to fix it, but not for me but for dad.  I have been stealing parts from the old mans toy shop.  I know it is the wrong thing to do but I have not other choice.  If I want to fix the automaton, I need those parts.  I hope I do not get caught.  Some days I just watch the old man.  There is suddenness in his eyes.  I wonder why he is so sad. 

March 6
Uncle has not been back to the train station for a week.  Where is he?  I have the responsibility of clocks all on my own.  I have to keep them working like normal or someone will notice.  I don’t want to get caught.  Where will I go?  I don’t want to be an orphan.  Now I have been stealing food to survive.  My notebook is coming along very nicely.  It is almost done and all I need is a few more pieces from the toy shop. 

March 11
I was caught today by the old man at the toy shop.  He took my notebook.  All my hard work is in that notebook and he said that he was going to burn.  I don’t know why he wanted it.  The look in his eyes when he opened it was like he saw a ghost.  Why?  I followed him home to try to get it back.  It was the first time out of the train station in a long time.  I almost forgot what it was like to be out walking in Paris.  I meet a little girl while I was at this apartment.  It was his goddaughter and she said that she was going to try to get my notebook back.  I hope so because I don’t know how I am going to live without it.  Uncle still has not come back to the train station.  I am scared and I don’t know what to do.

March 16
I have been working at the toy shop for awhile now to repay back the old man for all the toy pieces I stole.  What he does not know is that I still take some pieces.  I need to fix the automaton.  He is almost done.  I need a key…a heart shaped key.  He still has not given me back my notebook.  Has he burned it?  I’m not sure if I can trust Isabelle. 

 Invitation to Georges Melies’ Life in the Movies

     I chose to create a movie poster on the glogster website.  My literature group created a poster for our book and I thought it was fun and interesting.  I thought that it would be fun to introduce to my students, but I thought I needed to create a poster first.  Georges Melies’ movies and he, as well, play such a large role in this book.  Georges Melies created the automaton that Hugo rescued from the fire from old museum.  His movies were some of the first of its kind in the early 20th century in France.  Hugo’s father told stories to Hugo of how when he was little he went to the movies and his favorite movie turns out to be one of Georges Melies’ first movies produced.  The picture that Hugo’s automaton drew was a scene from this movie.  Once Georges Melies was discovered not be dead, the French Film Academy celebrated his life in films. 

Link to movie poster:

 Brochure of Automatons

     Hugo’s automaton was a mystery throughout most of the book.  Hugo begged his father to try to fix it.  His father lost his life in the fire at the old museum while he was trying to fix it.  Hugo later found it and took it back to the train station to try to fix it himself.  Hugo stole pieces from the old man from the toy shop to fix the automaton in which he got caught.  That’s when Hugo and Georges Melies (the old man) formed a relationship.  It turns out the George Melies created this mysterious automaton to draw a scene from one of his movies.  Hugo had his heart set on fixing the automaton that he grown to love and he did (with a little help from his friends.)

Obituaries of Hugo’s father and uncle

     Hugo loved his father very much.  His father died trying to fix something Hugo begged him to fix.  Hugo and his father spent all of their time together.  They talked about the automaton, clocks, the movies, etc.  Hugo was hurt when his father died.  On the other hand, Hugo did not have a close relationship with his uncle.  He did not know him very well and I really don’t think he liked living with him after his father died.  When his uncle went missing (he was eventually found in the river), Hugo had to learn to live and survive on his own.  By creating the obituaries I had to remember details from the book.


Dear Students, 

            Over the next month I will read to the class as a read aloud The Invention of Hugo Cabret.  This is a historical fiction novel about a boy, who loses his father in a fire, and the adventure he goes through to protect and fix an automaton that his father found in an old museum.  While reading this book you will be introduced to some characters, real and fictional. 


            You and a partner will work together to create a multi genre paper.  Throughout the book, you will need to take notes to help you with the finished project.  Take notes on the setting, plot, problems, characters, and solution.  Once I have finished reading The Invention of Hugo Cabret, you and your partner will be responsible for creating 2 genre pieces, a reflection paper, and a presentation for the class.  Each genre piece has to support the book in some way: setting, plot, problems, characters, or solution.


What is a multi genre paper?

            A multigenre paper arises from research, experience, and imagination. A multigenre paper is composed of many genres and subgenres, each piece self-contained, making a point of its own, yet connected by theme or topic and sometimes by language, images and content.


Here is a list of genres you and you partner and pick from:

  • Biography of a character 
  • Book jacket 
  • Cartoon or comic strip 
  • Collage
  • Diary
  • Interview
  • Letter to a character
  • Movie review
  • Newspaper article
  • Obituary
  • Poem
  • Quiz
  • Story board
  • Wanted poster
  • Advertisement
  • News report
  • Instructional manual
  • Movie poster
  • Brochure

 I advise you to begin this process by first doing some general inquiry o the book.  Immerse yourself in the book so you understand something about it.  Each genre needs to be somehow related to the book and represent some component of the story.  The genres can be constructed on the computer or created on paper.  We will have the opportunity to do research in the library on the COW.  Completely think about each character’s point of view and how they are feeling throughout the book.  This will help when you start creating your genre projects. 


Tentative Plan for The Invention of Hugo Cabret project:

Approximately 3 weeks to read the book as a class read aloud (take notes during this time), 1 week to do research in the library on the COW (with a

partner), 1 week to create 2 genres (with a partner) (let me know if you will be needing a computer to create your genres), and 1 week for class presentations.  I will be able to help during the research and creating time if any pairs need me.  If you finish your research before the week time frame, feel free to start creating your genres early. 


Multi Genre Paper Rubric

2 genres (with a partner)                            20 pts.

1 typed page reflections                              10 pts.

Focus/Connection of all parts                     10 pts.

Presentation of work                                   15 pts.

                                                                        55 pts.


I look forward to reading you to seeing your creativity in this project!!


Ms. Lange 


What is a multigenre research paper?

A multigenre paper arises from research, experience, and imagination. A multigenre paper is composed of many genres and subgenres, each piece self-contained, making a point of its own, yet connected by theme or topic and sometimes by language, images and content

I first want to start off by saying a multigenre research paper is so much more fun than the traditional research paper.  When I first read the Moulton article I thought that students would find the multigenre paper more interesting and they could learn just like a traditional paper.  I was not sure how I could use it in my classroom, meaning a 3rd grade classroom where all the work would have to be done at school because the lack of parent help at home along with the available sources the students have at home.  Also in third grade, we do not require the students to write a research paper.  If I did assign a research paper, I might have four or five students turn it in.  But the more and more I thought about it, the more I realized that it would be possible for my students to do (with a little modification.)  I picked a book that I would love to read to my students as a read aloud (maybe next year when we get document cameras because half the book is pictures.)  I feel like the students will love this book as much as I do.  Knowing my students would not be able to do this at home and since the majority of my students are ELL learners, I would have them do the project at school (so I could help them if needed and they would have all the resources needed) and with a partner.  The more I thought of it the more I realized that doing their first research paper with a partner would be a perfect idea.  They would be able to help each other with anything that one does not understand.  If an ELL student does not know a word for something or someone, they would be able to ask their partner.  They would be able to bounce ideas off of each other and challenge each other to think at a higher level.  After creating this project, I look forward to using it in the future.

            I learned quite a bit doing the multigenre research project.  The multigenre research paper provides practice with linking critical thinking to creative thinking.  It allows the students to think outside the box.  The creativity students can use with this type of research paper verses the traditional research paper is far more advanced.  I was surprised with the outcome of my four genres.  I put a lot of thought into them trying to show that I was critically thinking about what I read and how I could represent them into four different genres.  Personally, I thought they were also creative. 

            I learned that a well constructed multigenre paper can make the same points, criticisms, and arguments that a traditional research paper can make.  The learner can explore and learn about a subject, theme, or topic and extend their thinking just like a traditional research paper.  Also, you’ll need to consider an audience or an audience who would be interested in the subject, theme, or topic.    

            I learned that the learner will practice more than one kind of writing that requires the writer to consider how specific forms of writing will accomplish different results.  The type of writing is depended on what genre artifact they create.  I really had to change the way I thought with all of my genres. 

            I originally created a facebook page for Hugo to advertise his future clock and magic shop.  But after doing a little research, I found out it was illegal to create a fake facebook page, so I deleted it.  I guess it was not really a fake page but I did not feel comfortable leaving it up. 

I also would have liked created a fifth genre to show the importance of clocks and gadgets.  Most of the characters in the book had some kind of relation with clocks or small gadgets.  Maybe a poem would have been fun to create. 

I also learned that I should try new thing.  Not that I am afraid of technology, but I am afraid of new technology especially when I have to figure it out on my own.  I am a kind of learner that needs to see something before I understand.  Hearing about it or reading about it does not always work for me.  After making the movie poster, I realized that it was a lot easier than I thought and fun.  I thought the movie poster turned out really nice. 

Selznick, B. (2007). The Invention hugo cabret. New York, NY: Scholastic Press .

When twelve-year-old Hugo, an orphan living and repairing clocks within the walls of a Paris train station in 1931, meets a mysterious toyseller and his goddaughter.  They all form relationships and Hugo discovers the mystery of an unknown figurine.  Hugo finally finds friends, family, and a home.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks


  1. * Carla says:

    I am so proud of your project. You delved into technology, an area with which you are not comfortable and did a fantastic job!

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 11 months ago

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