Five Ideas for Using Pop Culture to Inspire Elementary Students is an article about inspiring young writers. The main message can be summed up with this quote from the blog, “in order to connect with our students we need to exploit the energy that our students invest in traditionally scorned genres . . .”.
Having taught elementary writers for the past 23 years, it does seem that many of our beginner writers have been trained to only write about certain topics, or not write about certain other topics. The author, Gaetan Pappalardo, believes we must find ways to bring the pop culture of today, into the writer’s workshop. Genres like science fiction and fantasy should be encouraged, not denied. He offers five mini pop lessons to help accomplish this.
One of those lessons compares racing cars on a track (yes-actually bring one in to the classroom) to the time elements a writer faces and the obstacles a character must face. What a great idea to relate the inclines and curves of a race track to how a writer must add dimension to their story.
Pappalardo also preaches using music, especially lyrics, to demonstrate figurative language. Or, bringing in action figures to enhance character development. (I have actually done the action figure lesson and it was a wonderful way to teach making your character come alive.)
i completely agree with the author that teachers must find a way to relate to their students and their world. Staying up with the pop culture of today is just as important as staying up with the technology. Both practices increase a writer’s connection to the real world.