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!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Making Learning Magical with Harry Potter- Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of Making Learning Magical with Harry Potter! I hope you enjoyed the launch of our unit and reading all about week 1 last week. If you missed that post, click here to get all caught up!

Week 2 started off with a bang! In chapter 4, Harry receives his Hogwarts letter.   I printed the letters on parchment paper to make them look real. Students came in Monday morning to find their own personalized Hogwarts letter on their desks. They were ECSTATIC!

Week 2 we focused on Chapters 4-7. These are long chapters, jam packed with information! I love how descriptive Rowling is in these chapters, and my students had such a a fun time picturing it all and describing it. 

We continued with vocabulary and comprehension questions for each chapter. I met with students during small group time to work on comprehension questions, and students played Word Work games with their vocabulary all week. 

Our fun activity of the week was going shopping for our owls! After Harry goes to Diagon Alley in Chapter 5, and Hagrid buys him Hedwig, we did a little research! I gave students a guided research graphic organizer to get them started. First, we spent 5 minutes "owl shopping" as a class on the Smartboard. I pulled up pictures of all of the types of owls for sale at Eyelops Owl Emporium and students could choose the type they wanted.

We spent two days researching, for about 20 minutes each time, to learn more about our owls. Then students wrote a rough draft of their owl story. We talked about how these were part real, and part fake because they had facts about the owls, but the name and story behind the owl was made up.

Once students had their rough draft done, they traded and peer edited, and had me check it off before getting their final copy.

Then the fun part--making their owls and their cages! I followed these simple directions for the Chinese lanterns to use as cages. We used the 12x18 construction paper to make the cages, and I had students cut off every other strip to leave space in between the cage bars to see the owls.

Here are some pictures of everything in action:

I put the finish products on display in our hall! I used left over parchment paper to make rolled up letters. I also had these kraft brown envelopes left over from my son's birthday, so I addressed a letter to each teacher in the school "Hogawart's Style." The students were so excited about those extra little details, and it made a great display for conferences and Open House. :)

After reading all about Harry's journey on Platform 9 and 3/4 and the Hogwarts Express, it was only fitting that I added these details to the decor. With the help of some amazing friends, my husband, and volunteers, the Platform and train came to life!

I took pictures of each student standing in groups the day before, but I didn't tell them what it was for. My amazing husband cut them all out and mounted them on yellow paper to look like windows on the train. :) Grandma Gale, our phenomenal volunteer helped SO much with this! For the front of the train, we put the black butcher paper up on my SmartBoard and projected a picture of it. We used pencil to trace, and then paint to fill in all of the details. The finished product is a stunning display!

Since we started meeting the rest of our main character trio, we worked on a fun characterization organizer for them.

The most vivid moment in all of the books to me is when Harry enters the Great Hall for the first time. I wanted to create this magic for my students. I purchased 2 sets of these LED candles from Amazon, and used fishing wire and paper clips to hang them from my ceilings. 

The affect is stunning! (It's hard to get a picture of it, but here it is while we watch the movie on our last day.)

My students love having these on during our DEAR reading time, when we turn the lights off and lamps on.

To continue the magic of the setting, students did a Sketch It setting activity. For the front, they had to draw the grounds of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and label each part. For the back, they could choose ANY setting from the story so far to draw. Then they needed a quote from the book to describe the setting. As usual, students BLEW me away with their descriptive drawings!

As you can see, it was another AMAZINGLY successful week! As the book progressed, I could see all of my students becoming voracious readers, and THAT is the most magical thing of all!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Making Learning MAGICAL with HP- Part 1

Something magical has been happening in my classroom…
I have MOTIVATED, ENTHUSIASTIC, and AVID readers! Students who would barely pick up a book without being forced would read through recess if they could!

How is this magic happening? With a magical book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

I had an epiphany "well, duh!" moment last year. So many times I referenced Harry Potter throughout the year, and students knew it was my favorite. Towards the end of the year, one little yahoo raised his hand after one of my HP references and said, "Mrs. Cap, if you love Harry Potter so much, why don't you teach it?!" *Insert palm smack to the face here.* Oh my gosh, my 4th graders are genius! Fast forward 6 months, and I am knee deep in wizards, witches, wands, potions, and love for reading!

I want to share with you the magic that we have created in our classroom. I spent 5 weeks on this unit, and it was a whirlwind of a time! I will be telling all about the activities of each week in a blog post. I will be bundling all of these activities into a no prep novel study! I plan to have this done in the next week or so so keep an eye out for it. :)

Today's post is all about week one!

A magical Harry Potter unit wouldn't be complete without the decor. I wanted to add some magical touches to my classroom to kick-off our unit! However, I didn't want to add too much and give away things in the book. So, I added a few decorations to start, and as we read about certain things in chapters, I added them to my room! :)

I switched out my jobs bulletin board to be Harry Potter themed! My kiddos LOVED this! :)

This is usually called my "VIP" but I changed it to Head Prefect for Harry Potter time! :) I even made a badge for the Head Prefect to wear around. 

Even though we hadn't started the book, I wanted to start our classroom version of Hogwarts right away. So, day 1 was Sorting Hat Day!

I got this amazing sorting hat replica off of Amazon! I recorded sound bytes from movie clips and Youtube videos to get at least 2 versions of the sorting hat shouting each house. I actually sorted students ahead of time based on what I thought were common character traits. **This was important for our first activity!**

I dressed as Professor McGonnagall of course! Ready to sort the Hogwart's First Years. :)

One at a time, I called the students up, placed the hat on them, and played their sound clip. There were cheers from everyone as students were sorted!

Once students were sorted, each house selected a House Leader. I told them to choose someone who would help keep them organized, be responsible, and keep the group working well together. I placed this house scorecard on the leaders desk, with a dry erase marker. 

We then read the Sorting Hat Song from the book. I had students use a highlighter to highlight character traits as we read.

Next, I gave each House Leader a House Traits & Crest organizer. Houses had 10 minutes to come up with as many character traits as they could that they all had in common. Once they had their list and showed it to me, they began working on designing their house crest to represent these traits. They had to include a slogan or at least 3 traits on their crest.

After our house crests were done, I introduced the House Cup! Each house has their own jar. House Leaders keep track on their score card throughout the day and add jelly bean points at the end of the day. I have two classes of 4th graders, so each house had two groups working towards their points!

Once this was done, we started reading the book! I had students keep a binder throughout our reading just for Harry Potter related stuff. You can see the cover I made them in the pictures above. We put our sorting hat song in there, and then this characterization chart. I put all characters BUT the main character (we have a separate activity for that later when we learn more about them!) 

We set off reading Chapter 1, and filling out our chart as we met characters!

**I DID NOT start vocabulary right away. I wanted to get my students into the book by just focusing on reading and understanding the characters. We started vocabulary in Chapter 3.**

Over the first week, we read through Chapters 1-3. We started slow because I really wanted to give the students time to understand the setting and this new world that JK Rowling was painting for us!

 As we read each chapter, we had vocabulary flip boxes and post-it note comprehension questions. Students had to answer the response questions in the own words, and look for evidence in the book. This is something a lot of my students struggle with, so to make it fun I made it post-it note evidence! When they found evidence in the book, they wrote it on a post-it note and stuck it with the question.

To finish out each week, I wanted to have a fun, project-based lesson! So each Friday we had some Hogwarts fun! Friday #1 was Wand Making 101.

First, we made our wands! I used thick bamboo skewers that I ordered here off of Amazon. 

I used hot glue to decorate the handles and get them ready for the students.*You will need something to set them up in while they dry so you don't have to hold them the whole time.*

Here they are all dry and ready to go! I called students up by house to start working. While houses were waiting to go, they started working on their wand story organizer.

 Then, students wrote the story of their wands. This was a great way to tie in narrative writing, and my students LOVED it!

I couldn't believe their creative minds for these stories! They totally blew me away. :)

Here are some finished wands!

These wizards are ready!

As you can see, we are having a BLAST! Check back next week to see what other magical things we did. :)