Hi there! I am an instructional designer at an online university and a freelance writer who specializes in educational topics. Until May 2007, I was a college professor, most recently at Colorado State University. I taught classes about popular culture, broadcasting, and public speaking, and wrote academic articles about topics such as violence in the media, Disney films, and media literacy. Although teaching was rewarding, writing is my passion, and it is more meaningful to me to write for a larger audience than just academics.
I enjoy writing candid articles to help college students navigate their way through their educational experiences. I offer advice on academic issues, such as how to take effective class notes and how to avoid bad professors. I also write about college life issues such as dorm life and saving money
In addition, I enjoy writing other articles for Essaywritinghelp.pro about baby names, wedding planning, and Minnesota travel.
Outside of school, my interests include video games, travel, animals, nature, and theological studies. Always one for adventure, you'll often find me plotting my next scuba dive, white water rafting, skiing, or canoe trip.
In January 2021, my article Assigning a Literacy Narrative was chosen for an Editor's Choice Award.
For the latest, come follow my Campus Life page on Twitter!
Teaching Writing with Harry Potter
Use J.K. Rowling's Tales to Teach and Inspire the Writing Process
Learn the ingredients of motivating reluctant middle school writers through the use of Harry Potter literature in your classroom.
If you teach middle schoolers, you are well aware of the magical spell J.K. Rowling has put on our young readers with the launch of the Harry Potter tales. Inviting this wacky, young wizard into your writing class just might be the magic needed to inspire these young authors of tomorrow.
Mixing Magic Into the Writing Process
Ingredient 1~Sensory Prewriting Experience~Have students enter a darkened classroom , with only a single black candle lit in the front of the room. Instruct them to sit silently and think of at least three words to describe their feelings as they sit and watch the light from the candle. After a brief time, turn on the lights and ask students to tell you their words as you use them to create a word map on the board or a large teaching chart. List as many words as possible, adding some of your own to the map.
Ingredient 2~Listening Activity~Follow the sensory experience by slowly reading a couple of highly descriptive paragraphs taken directly from the Harry Potter books. As you read, emphasize each of Rowling's describing words to paint a picture in the minds of students, then add these words to the word map.
Ingredient 3~Student Composition~Give students the time to write a brief paragraph describing a favorite adventure of Harry Potter. Encourage them to use words from the word map as they construct their paragraphs. This initial writing should be done by hand, rather than on the computer.
Ingredient 4~Editing~This step is not necessary if the paragraphs will be shared orally in class, but if they are to be read by others, editing is necessary. Using a yellow highlighter, not a red pen, the teacher will mark the areas that need student correction. This step is easier if there is a teacher marking code displayed in the classroom that the student can refer to when determining what corrections are needed. Teacher modeling of each area on the code sheet should be done when it is posted and individual help needed until students are familiar with it. Buddy editing is also a good way for students to practice editing skills.
Ingredient 5~Publishing~If possible, have students type their corrected paragraphs on the computer and print one copy for the teacher and one for their writing journals. The personal writing journals should include both edited copies of their writing, and published copies. This journal provides a wonderful way for both teacher and student to assess writing progress during the year.
Ingredient 6~Sharing of Writing~Descriptive paragraphs of favorite Harry Potter adventures are great fun to share in middle school. Afterwards, these paragraphs might be compiled in a book for primary school students, to inspire them to read the stories as well.
Teaching Resources for Harry Potter Literature
Fact, Fiction, and Folklore in Harry Potter's World, an unofficial guide by George Beahm, provides teaching vocabulary and word meanings derived from novels 1-5.