Harry Potter Projects
Teachers share their best ideas.
- Grades: 3–5, 6–8
My fourth graders have been creating Hogwarts yearbooks. They have divided the books into sections featuring pictures of each of the house's members, faculty, and activities such as Quidditch and the Halloween feast. They created the covers for their yearbooks using tag board.
In my eighth grade communications class, students worked together in their "houses" to create flags, wizard cards, and advertisements. We ended the unit by writing a persuasive essay on the many school districts that have unfortunately banned the book. With the second book, each student is assigned a story element (colors, numbers, names, racism, conflict, etc.) to follow throughout the novel. This allows students to actively participate in group discussions.
I have written a chapter-by-chapter study guide that meets my state's Standards of Learning for English. My LD English class reads the books aloud to develop fluency, then completes the study guide/activity page for each chapter. I saw a lot of progress after completing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and am currently working on a study guide for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
My students have been working on Harry Potter art projects both in pairs and individually. These projects have been useful for working on reading skills, recalling facts and details, learning about sequential order, and oral presentation skills.
Trading cards: Students draw pictures of characters, scenes, or events and record information about them on the back. When they are finished, they decide which order the characters, scenes, or events were introduced and present them in that order.
Maps: Students work in groups to design a map of Harry's home on Privet Drive, of Hogwarts, the Forbidden Forest, or Diagon Alley. The maps are bulletin-board-sized, large enough for all to see from across the room. Each group has to read carefully and look for details in order to re-create the imaginary space.
Dioramas: Our last project is dioramas, one on each chapter of the book. Students use them in their oral presentations. As part of their presentations they ask quiz questions that the scenes in the dioramas help to answer.
I have recently started a new project with my kids. You take two pieces of paper (tagboard is preferable), fold them in half, then you glue one side of each paper together, forming a wall between the two other halves. It looks something like this __/\__. This creates a two-sided diorama. On one side of the page you put a scene from the beginning of the book and on the other side a scene from later in the book. For example, the first scene could be Harry arriving at the Dursleys', the second could be Harry arriving at Hogwarts.
The Harry Potter books do not have illustrations of the wizard characters. Set up a picture frame on a duplicating master and have the kids draw a portrait of one of the wizards such as Hagrid, Professor Dumbledore, Professor Snape, or the infamous Voldemort. Hang the portraits and make a Portrait Gallery.
Students work in small groups to generate a "menu with prices" for each of several stores described from reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Students develop a shopping list, then are given a card describing how much money was sent from home, and how much can be earned from chores at Hogwarts. A budget is drawn up, then a shopping trip happens. (Students must measure many body parts before shopping at the Wizard's clothing supply shop.)