This lesson emphasizes the notion of "participatory culture," a term coined and described by media scholar Henry Jenkins. It may be useful to become familiar with this notion prior to enacting this activity.
Formalisms / Relevant Big Ideas:
Identity: how we see ourselves as readers/writers
and how other see us relative to the practices we engage in
Practices: the ways in which we read/write that
are part of our everyday lives and are shaped by our social & cultural
Nearly anything can be considered a
text; it’s the act of trying to interpret that thing that makes it a text.
Motive: the purpose, or reason we have for
reading/writing. Our motives may affect how we read/write, what we read/write,
Give the students a Think Sheet with the formalisms (see
below). Give them 5 minutes to write down their thoughts.
contextualize this activity, discuss the idea that the reading and writing they
do for this particular class is just a portion of the reading and writing they
do in their everyday lives. You might give the students these questions to
write about (on paper, or post them as online discussion questions), and then
about the reading you do everyday: what kinds of things do you read? How (what
tools do you use?)? Why do you read them?
about the writing that you do everyday: what kinds of things do you write? How
(what tools do you use?)? To whom? Why do you write them?
about students’ answers, jotting down on the board/projector in columns/groups,
their answers to the following:
kinds of things do you read/write?
the word “texts”; and invite students to think about the fact that though we
often think of texts as books, published pieces, and in a formal sense, that
the reading/writing we do everyday, formally or informally, are texts
do you read/write (what kinds of tools do you use)?
the word “practices”; invite students to think about the reading and writing
that they do everyday as practices
do you read/write?
the word “motives”; invite students to think about how our motives inform our
reading/writing, that these are often social. In other words, our
reading/writing practices are social practices
how these things show a lot about who we are, our “identities” as
students you’ll show them a little bit more about yourself as a reader/writer.
Model your own identity map, showing students the kinds of texts (broadly
defined) that you read and the identities associated with them.
copies of the identity concept map and ask students to take a few minutes to
complete one for themselves.
the students share their maps in small groups.
you want to focus this activity on students’ identities and practices in
relationship to a specific text or assignment or the class in general, give
students another copy of the Identity Concept Map, with the
text/assignment/class in the middle (e.g., Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; The
Crucible; the theme “Obedience”; a novel students are reading in lit circles;
or W131, American Lit, 9th Grade English, Reading in a Participatory
the students to identify the identities as readers/writers they are drawing on
to read/interact with these texts/themes. Give them 10 minutes to complete the
in groups. What do they notice about their maps and those of their peers? What
kinds of reading/writing identities and practices are they using to
understand/appreciate the text/theme/course? What do they notice about the 2
maps they’ve made? Are there other identities they can use to help them in their
classroom reading/writing (e.g., their role in the school play to read The
Crucible? Their journal writing to read Huck Finn? Their use of the Internet to
read more about an author or book or theme?)
a class, identify 3 key insights about identities, practices, texts, and
motives as they relate to a specific text/theme, or the broader focus/goals of
students this activity is the basis for a brief video to share with other
classes involved in the project. Brainstorm some ideas: how can we represent
these ideas in a short (2 minute) video that will help other classes to
understand these ideas about identities, practices, texts, and motives and what
we’re doing in this class? Note that other classes will be doing the same
thing. Have the students work up an idea in small groups to share with the
class (10 minutes).
students they are going to create a video about their own identities as a
reader/writer. They can choose to focus on one aspect, or several, or a theme.
They can get input from the group.
an example, show Jenna’s video in which she talks about herself as a blogger.
students write a “script” for their videos, and share those with their groups
for feedback. Have students practice reading the script in small groups and
then indicate when they’re ready to create their video.
the students record their videos.
students to watch the videos created by the other schools/students from other
students to answer the following questions on the online discussion forum:
struck you as especially interesting about identities and literacy practices
(i.e., why and what you read/write) as you watched the videos?
on the videos, how would you describe what it means to be a reader/writer in
our culture today?
would you define what counts as reading/writing? As texts?
you are a sociologist or anthropologist and these videos were your data for a
study on teens’ literacy practices. What would your findings be?
the students the post-activity reflection questions and have them take 10
minutes to complete them. Then have a class discussion.
*Organize around a
specific text/theme/the course. To tie in to a specific text, have the students
think about the reading/writing they are doing/might do related to that text.
Rather than create individual videos, create a class video.
For each of the following words, try to provide a definition, thinking about what they might mean in the context of reading and writing. There are no correct answers; there is no risk in making a good guess. This is just to get you thinking about some of the concepts we’ll be discussing in the next day or two.
Benchmark or Standards:
• 10.2.2 Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate Nonfiction and Informational Text: ?Extend - through original analysis, evaluation, and elaboration - ideas presented in primary or secondary sources. (Core Standard)
• 10.2.5 Make reasonable statements and draw conclusions about a text, supporting them with accurate examples. (Core Standard)
Writing: Organization & Focus
• 10. 4. 1 Discuss ideas for writing with classmates, teachers, and other writers and develop drafts alone and collaboratively. (Core Standard)
Listening & Speaking
10.7.7 Make judgments about the ideas under discussion and support those judgments with convincing evidence. (Core Standard)