Saturday, December 5, 2015

Making Learning Magical with Harry Potter Part 5!!

It is finally time for Part 5 in our Harry Potter series! Can you believe it?! I have been sharing the magic with you for 5 weeks now, and I hope you have loved reading about it as much as I loved teaching it! If you didn't read Parts 1-4, make sure you catch up and then come back to this post! 

All caught up? All right, let the magic BEGIN! :)

The 5th week in our Harry Potter Unit focused on the climax of our book, Chapters 16-17. I chose to leave only two chapters for this last week, so we could read through them slowly and really enjoy the exciting and surprise ending to the book! 

I took the opportunity to do some grammar in these last two chapters. We are constantly working on commonly misused words, and these two chapters were full of them. We did homophone word boxes and I made it part of their Word Work for the week. My kiddos loved the Homophone Hunt we did with the book, and had a blast pointing them out!

When we got to the curses in Chapter 16, I knew this would be a GREAT time to do some inferring (a hard skill for my fourthies to master!) I stopped reading at the end of page 283, which was a huge cliff hanger, too! I didn't take a picture of one of my student's paper, but here is part of what the activity looks like.

When we finished the book, you could've heard a pin drop in our classroom. My students were STUNNED at the plot twist, and were so excited to hear the ending! They were all chuckling in the scene of Harry in the hospital talking with Dumbledore. "Alas, beeswax!" got a good laugh. :) So naturally, I knew it was the perfect time to pull out some every flavored beans! I got a few of these off of Amazon for the Harry Potter effect:

But after hearing about Bean Boozled, I knew I HAD to get them for the class! They are hilarious to watch your kiddos try. I ordered 3 packs (each pack comes with 20 beans total). Even though it took a while for everyone to try, it was well worth the time to see their reactions! You spin the spinner and it lands on a divided section with a normal flavored bean, and a yucky flavored bean. You choose one of the beans that is that color, and hope pray that you get the normal one! For example, there is Buttered Popcorn/Rotten Egg.

After my students picked theirs, I had them do a quick writing prompt and write all about their reaction to the bean! This kept the talking and outrageousness to a minimum (well, somewhat!) and made a fun journal entry in our writer's notebooks.

Here is a picture of me all dressed up trying them:

I got black licorice/skunk spray and of course…

I got the skunk spray bean! Oh my gosh the taste lasted in my mouth FOREVER!

We finished the book on Thursday, October 29th. This was PERFECT timing because the next day was supposed to be our Halloween party. So, I made the entire day a Harry Potter themed celebration! 

Of course, I had to dress up, and my awesome teaching partner was SUCH a good sport and offered to dress up, too! We wanted to surprise the kiddos (they of course expected Harry and Hermione or Ron) but we kept them on their toes…

We dressed as Snape and Malfoy!! I couldn't get over how much like Snape my teaching partner looked… it was AWESOME!

Draco on his way to Hogwarts!

We started off the morning by making Pumpkin Pasties. Yes, you heard that right, they are PASTIES not pastries (I made sure to clarify to my parents that I was not referring to the Janet Jackson mishap clothing item! :P ) 

We used pre made pie crust to make these a little easier! 

They were very simple to make. Students just had to mix up the ingredients in a bowl, put the filling into the pie crust, fold the pie crust over, pinch the edges with a fork, and bake! 

My amazing cafeteria ladies baked these for me while we got ready to watch the movie. 

The last thing we had to do to get ready, was mix up our Butterbeer, of course! *I prepped this the night before by making the brown sugar syrup part of the recipe. I followed this amazing recipe from Just Sweet and Simple.*

I gave each student a scoop in their cup. Then, each house got a 2 liter of Cream Soda to top off their cup. They whipped it up with a spoon, and it was delicious and ready to enjoy!

Butterbeer in hand, my little wizards were ready for the movie!

While the students were watching, the Pumpkin Pasties came out of the oven. I used this awesome rolling cart to bring them around to the students while they were watching, and my kiddos said it was just like the treats cart on the Hogwarts Express!

We finished the movie right after lunch, and got ready for the rest of our celebrations! 

I sent out a Sign-Up Genius for parents to sign up to bring HP themed treats into the classroom. I asked for a few things for sure: Polyjuice Potion Punch, Chocolate Covered Wands, drizzled popcorn, and some kind of cupcake. I was BLOWN away by my parents' creativity! Here are some photos of what we had:


(PolyJuice Potion Punch, Drizzled popcorn, Butterbeer cupcakes, and Accio Pops!)

(One of my students made this AWESOME wand box for the chocolate covered wands!)

(Chocolate covered wands and chocolate frogs!)

(Sorting hat cupcakes!)

(Very creative Butterbeer cupcakes! I'm obsessed with the "froth" and the straws!)

So yes, my kiddos were definitely spoiled on this celebration day! But, they worked SO incredibly hard throughout the entire month as we read this book. I absolutely loved watching their eyes light up with passion and enthusiasm. The feeling of knowing that I was helping instill a love for reading in some of these kiddos is unbeatable. 

I encourage beg you to bring the magic to your classroom! You won't regret it!

Thank you for taking the time to follow me through this entire series! I can't tell you how much it means to me to be able to share my little ol' classroom with all of you. :)

Are you convinced? Ready to take the plunge? Do it. This novel will change your classroom and readers forever! Click here to purchase this unit and get started!

Also, I will be doing a FAQ post on some of the questions many of you have asked over the series. So if there is anything else you have been wondering about, please ask in the comments and I will add it to the post! :)

Have a magical night!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Making Learning Magical with Harry Potter Part 4

It's time for part 4 in our series! If you missed the previous posts, you can read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here. 

All caught up? Okay, let's go!

Week 4 in our magical unit was full of laughter, learning, and lots of mess! During this week we focused on Chapters 12-15.  Throughout these chapters we continued with our vocabulary and comprehension questions as we read. But then, we had more fun activities, too!

Chapter 12 is when Harry finds the Mirror of Erised. You guys, I cry in this chapter EVERY time. Like goosebumps, tears streaming, crying! When Harry sees his parents…. it gets me every time! 

I love seeing the emotion in my students during this chapter. J.K Rowling really sets the mood and opens up a great discussion about the author's purpose and mood of the book. As soon as we finished reading this chapter, I had my students do a quick craft. We did it right away so the feelings were still fresh in their minds!

I had my students draw what they would see in the Mirror of Erised: There Heart's Deepest Desires. I wish I would have gotten more pictures, because I was loving all of their responses! But here is one I managed to capture real quick!

On the back, they wrote about what they drew. I loved this one! He wanted all of the animals to get loving homes from the shelter. How sweet is that? :)

I'm ashamed to say I didn't take great pictures of the next two activities, but I will tell you all about them and they will be included in the novel pack! 

In chapter 13, Harry remembers where he had heard the name Nicholas Flamel before; on a chocolate frog trading card! So of course, we made trading cards for characters in the story. I actually let students trade their finished product with other students, which they LOVED!

For a fun brain break one day, we played "Transfigurations Charades." I divided the class into 4 teams. Students were given a card with an animal on it. Without talking, they had to "transfigure" into that animal in front of the class. Their group had 1 minute to guess what they were. We kept score, and the winners got jelly beans. 

The last activity of the week was both messy and chaotic, but an absolute blast. We had "Herbology Class." For this class, we made Herb Playdough!

I didn't tell my kiddos about this ahead of time. They walked in to find this on the front table. Naturally, many "Ooh's and Aaaah's" and lots of squealing started.

I did not tell students what they would be making. Each house leader was given their Task Card that you see pictured below.

Then I went over the rules:
1. The house leader must read ALL of the instructions before they begin.
2. Only one person from the house could approach the table at a time to get ingredients.
3. I had to pour the boiling water in their bowl (I used a Electric Water Kettle from Kohls for this part)
4. They could make as many batches as they had time for in the 30 minute period.
5. They earned points for successful batches and team work, and lost points for mistakes and arguing.

I put 30 minutes on the timer, and they were off!

What were they making?!?! Herb playdough, of course!

They were all so excited to take some home. The smells in our classroom were VERY interesting! Some of the spices and herbs I used were: ground mustard, paprika, cinnamon (smelled delicious!), cocoa powder, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, all-spice. We had a blast!

Thank you for reading all about Week 4! I will be telling all about our final week in my next post, this weekend! Wait until you see all of the fun we had and our big end of book celebration! :)

Also, my goal is to have this pack done by the Part 5 post (it is a HUGE pack!) So check back for that, too. :)

It is now available and you can purchase it HERE! :)

Have a magical day!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Making Learning Magical with Harry Potter- Part 3

Welcome Part 3 of this mini blog series! If you are just joining us, you can read Parts 1 & 2 here and here.

If you haven't jumped on the Harry Potter in the classroom bandwagon yet, I sure hope you do soon! This was the most magical month in my teaching career, and I look forward to doing it all again next year.

So, let's get to part 3! Week 3 in our book study we focused on Chapters 8-11.

*I have to be completely honest here. This was one of the craziest weeks of the school year. Partly because of all the hands-on fun we were having, and partly because of conferences and report cards. So, unfortunately, I was TERRIBLE at taking pictures during Week 3 of our book study. I will include everything I took here, and a little freebie as an apology!*

In these chapters, the friendship between our main character trio is really developing. I spent a lot of time in small groups with my kiddos discussing our their relationships developed, finding evidence, and comparing and contrasting characters.

We delved deeper into student life at Hogwarts by looking at the different classes students took and their professors. I gave students a chart with certain boxes already filled in. Students worked in their houses to complete the chart by looking back in the chapters. We did this as a race, and the first house done correctly earned 10 points!

We continued with our vocabulary study throughout these chapters! We focused on 4 words a chapter, and added these words to our word wall.

For Chapter 10, I did something a little different. I gave the students blank vocabulary boxes, and they chose 4 new words to write down as we read. After we finished the chapter, I had students share their 4 words and get in groups with someone who had at least 1 of the same words they did. They discussed the new words and finished their boxes with these classmates. It was a fun new way to do vocabulary!

After reading Chapter 11, we learned all about the rules and regulations for Quidditch! This was a great "how-to" writing for my students, and I took a writing grade on their finished work. They created a Quidditch Official Craftivity which looked AWESOME on display. I of course forgot to take a picture of them, but I will try and post a picture of the sample here soon! :) They LOVED being able to explain the rules just like they were "officials".

We finished our week with our fun day Friday activity-- Potions class! A potions class wouldn't be complete without a Snape costume, so make sure to grab your black wig, robe, and mean scowl for this lesson.

**I WISH I had pictures of this in action for you, but I was too busy running around trying to keep the controlled chaos under control. :) It was an absolute blast and although it might sound intimidating, I HIGHLY recommend you include this in your activities!

I included a detailed teacher's direction page to explain how this worked in my class. You can use these images for free. :)

Students received a "First Year Potions Handbook" when they walked into class.

I used the labels I created to make all of the ingredients "authentic" and I got a cauldron for each house to mix their potions in. It was AWESOME! I HIGHLY suggest getting a large amount of plastic table clothes to cover the surfaces students are working on. This does get a little messy! Also, I borrowed Science lab goggles from my teaching partner and my students loved wearing them. :) This entire lesson was a huge hit!

These potions were inspired from these 2 pins:

Stay tuned for the last two weeks of activities! Potions class was probably the most crazy day in our unit, but there is A LOT more to come! :) The magic continues next week!