Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tolkien and Pedagogy

As a future teacher and a fan of Tolkien, it would be amazing to teach LOTR in a class. Although it may be unrealistic to teach all three books in one school year, I think that this book affords ample opportunity for great activities and active learning.
One thing that I would love to do with students while reading this trilogy would be to have students map character's progress. Tolkien provides maps of middle earth with these works, and I think it would be fun to have students map all of the characters progress during reading. I think that this would make the work more solid for many students by having a visual representation of the characters journey.
Another fun project would be to have wall text, which are visual representations of various characters in the novels. In order to remember people, students would take butcher paper and outline a person. They would then color it in with appropriate characteristics of the character and write in key quotes and features of the person. If the person had a big heart, like Samwise, they might make a large heart on the character. This is just one example of how a wall text might look.
If a student wanted to represent a place, such as Lothlorien, a student might draw a picture of what Lothlorien might look like. The trees and boats might be present in the picture.
Wall text is a great idea for longer works like LOTR so that students can remember people and places that they might easily forget, as Tolkien's works are incredibly detailed and long. These would be on the wall, and would serve as reminders to students when they have quizzes or writing projects about the novels.
These are just a couple of ideas that I have concerning pedagogy and LOTR. I hope to further elaborate on this subject further when I do my final paper.

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