Saturday, March 29, 2014

Pottering Around

Toward the end of the school year, the kids get a little restless:  the weather warms, the sunshine beckons, and keeping a classroom full of pre-adolescents engaged can be rough on the best of days.  This year, after so much snow and ice and arctic blasts of deadly frigid air and cabin fever, that is proving to be true already.

They simply want to be outside in the fresh air.

Frankly, I can't blame them, because I feel the same way.  This winter has been brutal, and we are all longing for some flowers and leaves and fun.

So, in anticipation of this summer break antsy pantsy-ness only growing as the calendar moves forward, I am planning a bit of fun for the end of school that will, I hope, keep everyone engaged while we attempt to still learn a little something.  If nothing else, I'll have some fun with it, but I do hope the kids do as well.

We had planned on having a Harry Potter party for The Peanut this year for her 11th birthday.   While we were at Universal on vacation, we picked up some fun items to use for invitations that you can only get in Hogsmeade, and had planned a surprise way to deliver the invitations by "owl post."  (Bless you, people on Pinterest, for your genius ideas!)

Rather than let all my pins and internal planning go to waste, I've decided to use it for the amusement of my class instead.  Will be posting some ideas as I firm them up, but I wanted to throw out to the crowd the fact that I'm looking for some great, educational ways to use the Harry Potter theme in the classroom over a two week stretch.

Figuring the last two weeks of the year will be a lost cause, am trying to come up with a way to make that not be the case.  Perhaps it is naive of me to think this can be accomplished, but you can't blame a girl for trying, can you?

Any thoughts on ways to do actual lesson planning in a Harry Potter context?

Am thinking about setting this up so that they have "wizarding" classes each day instead of our regular ones.  But I haven't quite figured out how to morph our regular classes into the wizarding ones just yet.  Things I have contemplated thus far:

-- Vocabulary and spelling words from the books

-- Stars and constellations that provided character names for J. K. Rowling

-- Editing and grammar practice with passages from the book re-written with misspellings and assorted punctuation errors.

-- Read-alouds from the books

-- Dumbledore's vocabulary challenge

-- Story writing about the latest dangerous creature that Hagrid has decided to keep as a pet

-- Making our own potion bottles

-- The physics of Quidditch (obviously, not the actual physics of a make-believe game, but more a discussion of the geometry of arcs and calculating speed and force, and a lot of stats calculations for averages and medians and such, etc.)

Just kind of rumbling about out loud on this, and hoping other folks have done this, too, and might have some great ideas to share.  Please, please share them if you do.

The great thing about this is that I will be able to re-use a lot of this for the library in the future.  Yay!

UPDATE:  I found a goldmine of activity and teaching ideas on the Scholastic website.  Boo yah!

(Gorgeous shot of a snowy owl via ✿ nicolas_gent ✿.)


Anonymous said...

I was wondering if you could incorporate some action from The Greatest Race tv show --- students reach certain discovery or insight in class, get to go to office or librarian for special clue that advances their path somehow. Each student's clues could be individualized for who they are, what you expect their future will be, what likely to learn next or simply something affirming about them that connects them to Harry or others in the books -- character trait they already possess.

Christy Hardin Smith said...

That could be fun. Especially for the hyper-competitive kids in my class. LOL Will have to think of a way to use that in something. Thanks for the idea!

Anonymous said...

You are Hermione Granger and I collect my hundred Galleons! :-)

Christy Hardin Smith said...

I am Hermione Granger in so many ways. And I am delighted to be in such nerdy, loyal company. :)

Anonymous said...

By the way -- calling all Austen fans:

(Rowling's a big Jane Austen fan, so this is kinda on-topic.)