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It may sound cliche, but reading Harry Potter with the 5th and 6th grade truly was a magical experience. The two classes had a variety of personalities, learning styles, and interest in reading. There is nothing more exciting for me than when a student falls in loving with reading, even if it is a magazine, comic, or just one book. Discovering the love for reading opens up the doors for learning about our world, the people who live there, and the information that we need to succeed in any path. When the most reluctant reader was sneaking their book into their back pack to read at home, or when they were all begging to read the second book as soon as possible, I felt like I played a little part in the life of the reader. How is that not magic?
The success of our book club was hidden within the many things we did with our students, from before they owned the book all the way until the novel was done. Miss Derrickson and I brought a passion to the classroom for learning, reading, and the rich and round characters featured in J.K. Rowling's writing. The decorations, games, enthusiasm, and Pottermore competition in our classroom during this unit was layered with learning, building connections, making predictions, inferences, collaboration, critical thinking, and fun!
With all this in mind, our end of year classroom party took on a theme! When the students returned from lunch recess, our classroom transformed into the house colors of Hogwarts. Miss Derrickson and I had spent the night before making chocolate frogs, rats, lightning bolts, and other treats connected to our reading. There are a million great recipes to make your own butterbeer modeled after the book, we found it easier to get cream soda and simply pretend it was the butterscotch magic concoction from Diagon Alley. This free printable made our cream soda blend right into the magical classroom setting!
We also found Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans for each of the students! If you have not read the books, Bertie Bott's are jelly beans with unusual flavors that the characters often eat. Just a few of the common flavors are earwax, vomit, grass, and the list goes on. This was a great connection to the book, snack for our party, and the most enjoyable part (for the students at least) was passing a flavor to their teacher to watch the reaction!
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Pottermore is a fantastic addition to the traditional book experience! Students followed along with the Pottermore story lines to explore additional information about the characters, setting, and plot that was revealed to them by the author, J.K. Rowling!
After being sorted into Hogwarts houses and purchasing school supplies in Diagon Alley, students explored the rest of the magical world of Harry Potter. They were able to practice potions and jinxes, just like book characters, to earn house points towards the Hogwarts House Cup! We created a Google Sheet to track our own house points to see who could earn the most points within just our school houses!
English Language Arts
During our regular school week, students read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone with their ELA teacher and class. Although, on Fridays students had an opportunity to combine with another grade level to take part in a book clubs across grade levels! Students had reading roles throughout the unit to help lead their own book discussions. They were able to make predictions, connections, inferences, as well as generate discussion questions and visualize the setting and/or plot!
Art and Physical Education
Miss Derrickson and I are lucky to work with a supportive and flexible faculty! Our physical education teacher made the last 5th and 6th grade gym class extra special.
The 5th and 6th grade students were able to play Quidditch together! They were able to adapt the fictional sport of Quiddidtch to our gym class. While we were unable to find a magical snitch to fly around the gym the whole time, we were able to have a student be the snitch! The snitch would have various bases to remain safe on during the game, but would "fly" across the field at any point trying to avoid the seeker!
During art class the 6th grade made two creations related to Harry Potter. At the start of the literature unit they were able to envision their own magical owl, like Hedwig. We found our inspiration from Art Dish with MJ. We used charcoal and pastels to create a feathered or textured effect for our owls. I find anytime we use pastels it is best to laminate the student work before hanging it so it does not end up on clothing as visitors walk by.
Towards the end our our Harry Potter unit we had one book that was read so much it fell apart at the seems. We took this as an opportunity to make some creative Sharpie Art Wizard Poetry! Student took any page out of the novel and drew a magical image. Then within the image or across the page they picked out key words to compose a muggle or wizard poem by illustrating over the other words.
Students ordered their books through our classroom Scholastic Book Clubs! While we anxiously awaited our book deliveries, the teachers began to built excitement across the classrooms for the novel. Our four homeroom teachers went to Pottermore and took the official test to see which houses we would be sorted into. It just so happened, we each represented a different house, building a connection to the book and healthy book based competition among all those on the middle school floor.
We set the stage for reading by creating a few Hogwarts themed classroom decorations. I wanted to build enthusiasm by recreating some of the environment we were reading about in school. I was blown away by my previous students offering to come in at recess to help create the magic for my current class!
The 9 3/4 platform was made using butcher block paper, a large sponge, and mix of brown and red tempra paint. Our "floating candles" are made from recycled paper towel/toilet paper tubes, fishing line, felt, tissue paper, and paint. If you look closely, before painting our tubes we dripped hot glue down the sides for a drippy wax effect!
Current 1st grade teacher and former middle school educator trying to be techy, Reading Specialist, Science Coordinator, Student Government Coordinator, life long learner, and avid reader