Voldemort Teaches Thesis Writing

CaptureI wasn’t quite honest in my last post. I did take away one thing from AP training–I have to really focus on writing this year. The first skill I need to teach my students is how to deconstruct a prompt and then compose a thesis. I wanted to take us out of the context of history in order to simply focus on the skills. So I created 10 prompts with the same language used by the college board but gave them a popular culture twist:

  1. How did economic, political, and social factors affect Lord Voldemort’s rise to power between 1995 and 1997?
  2. Analyze the contributions of TWO of the following in helping establish a stable school environment at Hoover High School: Listed 3 VP’s names (removed for privacy)
  3. Although Vine remained quite popular, by the end of 2016 the service had completely shut down. What were the leading causes of this disaster?
  4. Compare and contrast the ways in which Star Wars and Star Trek depict politics in their respective universes.
  5. Analyze the impact economics had on the Raider’s relocation to Las Vegas.
  6. To what extent did Wonder Woman (2017) fundamentally change the standards for superhero movies? In your answer, be sure to address the political, social and economic effects of the movie.
  7. Analyze the impact of fidget spinners, established in the mid 1990s, on early 2017 popular culture. Consider the period of the 2016-2017 school year.
  8. Compare the ways in which TWO of the following actors depicted the values of Spiderman’s character: Tobey Maguire (2002-2007), Andrew Garfield (2012-2014), Tom Holland (2016-present)
  9. “Lemonade by Beyoncé was the most influential album of 2016.” Assess the validity of this statement.
  10. To what extent was the Nintendo Switch a radical departure from prior video game consoles?

Because I have extensive knowledge of Harry Potter, I decided to use Voldemort’s question as the example. Together we will discuss what the prompt is asking us to do (students should be able to answer this even without any content knowledge) and then choose the thesis that works best from the examples provided.


Voldemort finally gets to fulfill his desire of working in education! Sure, it’s not Hogwarts but my classroom is the next best thing.

If you’re interested in the document and/or the powerpoint with Voldemort’s example question then let me know in the comments and I can send it to you by email.

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