19 Years Later …Teachers Are Still Bringing Harry Potter Magic to Their Classrooms for the Start of the School Year
This article is one in a series at The 74 that profiles the heroes, victories, success stories and random acts of kindness to be found at schools all across America. Read more of our recent inspiring profiles at The74million.org/series/inspiring.
They may not be traveling to school aboard a scarlet steam engine or learning how to turn toads into water goblets, but a few lucky students will be learning in classrooms this year that don’t look too different from the ones inside Hogwarts castle.
Teachers have found inspiration in the Harry Potter books for every detail in their classrooms: from keeping students off their cell phones to managing good behavior to teaching literary devices.
For example, at China Grove Elementary in North Carolina, fourth-grade teacher Jessica Moeller will sort her students into the four Hogwarts houses at the beginning of the school year using a sorting hat personality quiz. Those groups will be used for rewarding student behavior as well as facilitating day-to-day student group work in reading and math. “I am teaching in a very old building and when I walked into my classroom (Harry Potter) is the first thing that came to mind,” Moeller wrote in a message to The 74. “I’m a huge Harry Potter fan as well.”
While Harry Potter hasn’t been approved as a social emotional learning tool yet (we’re sure someone’s working on it), it’s already proven useful in teaching students empathy. A 2014 study found that the seven-book series helped reduce prejudice in its readers toward communities like immigrants, refugees, and LGBT groups.
It’s all the more magical this school year, as Sept. 1, 2017, marks the famous “19 Years Later” epilogue of the final Harry Potter book. In this last scene, a grown-up Harry takes his children to the Hogwarts Express and waves goodbye. As it’s been 20 years this summer since the first Harry Potter book was published in the U.K., today’s young teachers grew up with the series and are just as eager as Harry to show their kids how to enter Platform 9¾.
— Aaron Vitt (@AaronVitt) August 22, 2017
Some of the decorations are just too wand-erful:
Sneak Peek! My Harry Potter classroom is ready for year 2! pic.twitter.com/vxrrl9UhSY
— Lauren Hendricks (@thelhendricks) August 19, 2017
— Beth Coryell (@Beth_Coryell) August 17, 2017
Some teachers know that the only thing more dangerous than a wizard gone rogue is a cell phone. Luckily, this prison doesn’t require dementors:
This teacher is using the Harry Potter books to teach literary devices:
Convinced my best friend to draw me Harry Potter lit devices posters to hang in my classroom: pic.twitter.com/O8HmMlKVUy
— Sarah Hamilton (@Ms_SHamilton) August 14, 2017
Using the House point system to manage student behavior was somewhat effective at Hogwarts (though Dumbledore liked to subvert the system for his favorite bespectacled student), so it’s not surprising many teachers have adopted it in their own classrooms as well.
A few pics from my Harry Potter theme classroom. pic.twitter.com/ELYUH17Fua
— Jody 🌷🎶📷 (@nissen_jody) August 12, 2017
Since I'm going with a Harry Potter-ish theme this year I thought @miss5th 's house systems would be a perfect fit for my behavior management system! Students were sorted into their houses yesterday and boy were they excited! 😊 They'll have opportunities throughout the day to earn points for their house both individually and as a team for doing what they should be doing as well as going beyond what's expected. On the other hand, points may be deducted for any behavior that doesn't fall in line with our class expectations. I won't always inform my students when points have been awarded or deducted just to keep them on their toes 😜. Fun tip: I used the "wheel decide" app to sort my kids into their houses. It's such a simple idea but they really loved the whole novelty of it!#teacher #teacherlife #teachersofig #teachersofinstagram #teachersfollowteachers #iteach3rd #iteachthird #harrypotterclassroom #backtoschool #behaviormanagement
— Tiffany HILL (@tiffhill03) August 23, 2017
At Liberty Elementary School where students are being sorted into "houses" a la Harry Potter. pic.twitter.com/WwpXJigaC0
— Jaret Lansford (@JaretKTIV4) August 24, 2017
And for the teachers who admire Minerva McGonagall’s classroom management style but can’t pull off her pointed hat look, there’s always this:
Yaaaasssss! Just got the shipping confirmation from @etsy for this bad boy #kateandmilashop… Think this with my @sorcerersewnkate Hogwarts crest skirt is too much for the first day of school?! 😂⚡ #gobigorgohome #teacherstyle #teachersofinstagram #harrypotter #hogwarts #muggles #potterhead #wizardingclassroom #harrypotterclassroom #teachertee #graphictee #bookishthings #bookstagram #shopsmall #etsyscore #etsyobsessed #firstdayofschool #newschoolyear
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