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Spring SAVY 2023: World Beyond the Page–Unpacking the Magic of Harry Potter for Grades 5 & 6

Posted by on Monday, January 30, 2023 in blog, SAVY, Uncategorized.

Day 3: Saturday, February 11

Hello again to all my Potterheads! We had such a great last day of diving into all the Harry Potter realms. We began with creating our own potions (good luck obtaining all those wild ingredients) and then had a Socratic seminar on whether the HP series should be considered classics. We used ideas from Italo Calvino to guide our discussion. Not surprisingly, most of us erred on the side of HP as classic. After this, we talked about appropriation, specifically around parodies and fan fiction. We had quite a few crooners in our group, serenading us with their Harry Potter-related parodies. Ask your student to perform their parody: I’m sure you’ll enjoy their verses as much as we did!

We engaged in one last round of analysis, tracing the opening scenes from each Harry Potter movie as they moved from light to dark. After finishing our research posters, we all presented our questions and findings to one another. Before parents came in, we had one last reflection around the legacy of Harry Potter for future generations. I’m so grateful to have been able to learn and grow with your students these last few Saturdays. I hope our conversations and the relationships formed among students have nurtured and supported us as both scholars and people.

Day 2: Saturday, February 4

Hello again, witches and wizards! Our second Saturday of Unpacking the Magic of Harry Potter proved to be just as engaging as the first. We began our day with sharing our autoethnographies, one kind of qualitative research we’ve discussed, centering on our histories with Harry Potter. Then, we applied our knowledge of several critical literary lenses to The Tale of Peter Rabbit; seems like all the boy rabbits are really trying to stir up trouble! We also took these literary lenses to the Potterverse, which we applied to passages from the first two books in literature circles as well as a scene from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as a whole group. At this point, all our students can be considered literary scholars! Ask your student to analyze your favorite stories through their literary lenses —they might uncover a few new ideas that you haven’t considered before. Later, we discussed Harry Potter and censorship, and students engaged in a debate about whether schools should be allowed to ban books.

We interviewed one another about our future careers in the wizarding world (quite a few professors in the group, not surprisingly) and we did a lot of work on our qualitative research projects, including finishing data collection, rounds of analysis, background research, and considering the significance of our question and findings. I’m excited to see what these researchers’ poster presentations will reveal next Saturday!

Day 1: Saturday, January 28

Hello to all, magical and muggle alike! Our first day of Unpacking the Magic of Harry Potter allowed us to introduce our many insights into the world of Harry Potter to each other. We began with considering how Harry Potter has become a cultural phenomenon, and we considered how that phenomenon definitely comes with some price tags attached (sorry, parents!).

We also began our exploration of  literary theories and lenses and how we might apply these to the texts we interact with. We used the story of Little Red Riding Hood (Poor grandma! Poor wolf!) to consider different perspectives on the events and applied various theories and literary lenses to characters and story arcs in the Harry Potterverse. Some of the theories we talked about include archetype theory and reader response theory. We also reviewed the text though literary lenses focused on gender, race, and social class.

All the wizards joined forces as we used a New York Times article to discuss the casting of a Black actress as Hermione in The Cursed Child. Everyone listened carefully and offered their perspectives and ideas. Then, we got reenergized with a difficult round of trivia: Ravenclaws, Lovegoods, and Kroger battled it out, and Lovegoods reigned supreme.

Last, we began our qualitative research projects that are connected to the world of Harry Potter. Every witch and wizard found a partner or two, and they brainstormed a research question, data collection methods, and began data collection. Don’t be surprised if you become the next interview subject!

We look forward to next Saturday, when we’ll continue to explore the world of Harry Potter as well as our own connections to that world!