Thursday, June 11, 2009

What Harry Potter can teach us about writing (EDM613 Wk2 #4)


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:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
If I start in familiar territory, we can work on and correct semantics first and then concentrate on ideas and arguments as we progress. Come September, I am heading to Hogwarts.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent plan. Another thing, that you may have mentioned before or are already doing, but by having students work in some kind of blog or wiki they can freely share their work and be assured that their work is going to be seen by more than just their teacher. I know in your SMWIK video that your students were working in a wiki, so I'm sure that you already know the power of purposeful writing.

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