In Henry Jenkins' "Convergence Culture," he discusses the way students have been inspired to write about the Harry Potter novels as interpreters and creators. I thought about how much writing I have my students do and I am determined to give them more opportunities to write next year. This chapter solidified that for me because I can approach the writing using the Harry Potter method and be confident of success in student engagement.
This method is simply this: begin by having the students write about something they are interested in or about which they have a working knowledge. Jenkins makes several points that support this approach:
- Because they are already familiar with the topic, they can spend time mastering the writing craft and working on how to communicate their intended message.
- When they are writing about fictional characters it provides a distance between them and the character, allowing them the freedom to reflect and then express.
- They will develop a relevant vocabulary using peer review and discussion through a class website and will also learn from each other about revision and rewriting.