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SAVY 2019: Session 4, Day 4 – Unpacking the Magic of Harry Potter (Sarah B.) (Rising 5th/6th)

Posted by on Thursday, July 11, 2019 in Grade 5, Grade 6, SAVY.

Hello, SAVY parents!

We began our day with potion making! Students worked in pairs or threes to invent a potion and shared them with the class. The groups presented what their potion would do, what ingredients were needed to make it, and illustrations.

After that, we had a discussion on libraries and censorship. We learned what censorship is, discussed different ways censorship happens, and discussed the censorship of the Harry Potter series. Students also discussed ways in which censorship can be helpful and harmful, with ample examples. Next, we discussed different kinds of appropriation including cultural appropriation, and how Harry Potter both appropriates elements and is often appropriated. We challenged ourselves to be critical by talking about cultural appropriation in Harry Potter, specifically Rowling’s use of Native American elements in the American version of Hogwarts. We discussed copyright and the difference between theft and copying as it relates to plagiarism. We defined fanfiction, shipping, satire, and parody, all different kinds of appropriation or adaptations of others’ work. We discussed the importance of citation, as well as open source materials.

After lunch, students were able to participate in the continued Harry Potter trivia game from yesterday or read freely from our library. Then, we continued our learning about fanfiction and adaptations by reading a newspaper article about the wizard rock circuit and the band Harry and the Potters.

Next, we planned to have a formal debate on the following question: “should we be able to profit from authors’ intellectual property?” Students were randomly assigned to two groups, one for yes and the other for no. The groups were given time for research and to organize their arguments. We had to change the activity on the fly, as students’ personal convictions about the question made it too hard to effectively argue a side they personally disagreed with, and that even within one side, there were multiple viewpoints. We reflected on how challenging this activity was and why, then had some time to talk about our reasoning for choosing one side or another. Even though the activity didn’t go as planned, it was really wonderful to work through the question with them–and to come to realize how deeply passionate the students were about the ethics of copyright and intellectual property. The students turned their disagreements into a lively, and respectful, conversation about copyright.

After that, we continued our journey into fanfiction by writing fanfiction or parody songs. Students were given the option to work individually or in groups. This yielded AMAZING results. The parodies and stories were pure gold! We then rounded out the day by continuing research projects, analyzing the interview data we collected yesterday.

We are already getting sad about saying goodbye tomorrow!