I need an some cool writing prompts or interesting questions for a student to complete while reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I need an some cool writing prompts or interesting questions for a student to complete while reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

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One possibility: "Choose ten sentences from ten different sections of the book and explain, in detail, why each of those sentences is effectively written. What makes them memorable?  What makes them skillful?  What makes them worth reading?"

Or: "Choose ten sentences from ten different sections of the book and explain, in detail, why each of those sentences is not effectively written. What makes them unmemorable?  What makes them unskillful?  What makes them disappointing?"

Or: five of one and five of the other.

These kinds of prompts might get students to think about the book as a piece of writing, not only as a collection of themes and characters.

 

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I just finished teaching this, and we focused on conflict more than anything. I asked students to do many things, and these were very successful. Why is Harry Potter still so popular with people of all ages? Should Harry kill Pettigrew? Justify your response. The climax of this story is long and complicated, involving time travel, duels, aardwolves and stealing of souls. Which event is THE climactic turning point. Defend your position. How is Harry changed when he returns to the Dursleys after his third year?
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How about these:

What would your personal thoughts be like if the a dementor swooped down on you, waiting to perform "the kiss"?  Who would YOU hear screaming?

How would you make use of the Maurader's Map?  Can you give an instance when using the map would be "ethical" vs. an instance when using the map would be "unethical"?

What elements of foreshadowing does Rowling use to show that Sirius Black is actually a "good guy"?  Did this news shock you at the end of the story?  Does this show Rowling is a good writer or a bad writer?

Discuss the elements of setting (specifically of the Shrieking Shack) in the book vs. that of the movie.  Which version does better in cementing the setting in your mind?

Do you think it's realistic for Harry to have such hatred for Black and only pages later have love for Black?  Do you find this to be a flaw in writing or a conundrum found in real life?

Compare the amount of fighting between the teenagers in the book vs. that in the movie.  Why do you think the change was made?  What purpose does it serve?

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How about an ethical question surrounding Lupin, the 3 animagi, and Dumbledore.  I would ask something about the ethics of Dumbledore's decision to allow Lupin to stay at Hogwarts where he might hurt other students.  More than that, though, I would ask about whether the 3 animagi did the right thing.  They A) broke the law to become secret animagi and then they B) endangered the students and the people around Hogwarts by allowing Lupin to run around as a werewolf when they were escorting him.

Perhaps at the point where Harry and Ron see that Hermione has all those excess classes you could ask them to predict how it will turn out that she is managing that.

What about this one -- if you were Harry (or Ron and Hermione) would you support Hagrid as a teacher?

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From your question, it sounds as if you are using this novel with just one student. If that is the case, you might actually like to think about allowing your student, with your help and guidance of course, to design his own writing prompts. If he or she has enjoyed the novel, which I am sure is the case, you might like to discuss what your student would like to write about.

Based on my own reading of this excellent and gripping novel, some starting suggestions would be as follows:

At what stage did you discover the identity of Wormtail?

What would it have been like for Wormtail to remain disguised as Scabbers for so long?

How does Harry feel and change as a result of having an adult who loves him and wants to look after him?

Why do you think that Harry chooses to hide what is happening from Albus Dumbledore?

In addition to such questions, there are lots of opportunities to take the issues in this novel and encourage your student to reflect upon them and relate them to his own life. Issues such as deciding when to lie and when to tell the truth, the importance of parental love, being in a situation where you are forced to disguise yourself and your emotions, the feelings of anger against injustice would be an excellent basis for a reflective journal based on the reading of this novel. Good luck!

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