Friday, January 08, 2016

Harry Potter Unit 01 - First Years Arrive

They arrived. Dragging their feet and rubbing the sleep out of their eyes, but they arrived. All 24 of them. 19 days away from the routines and procedures of school were clearly evident as they chattered like magpies over a few bits of string. Then they caught sight of their teacher who was dressed in a black robe and wearing a tall pointy hat. In his hand was a stick he kept waving around (think swish and flick) as they approached. Now, understand, these little ones have grown used to their teacher's eccentric moods, but this one was waaay beyond.

They greeted their teacher and may have passed a small word or two about the new year. Then they got to their desks. Quips of "What's this?" were used often when they located the folded bit of parchment waiting for them. It was addressed to them so they could open it. Confusion was the first response after reading this letter, but it soon dawned on them as they put the clues together. Their teacher was UP TO SOMETHING!

Like I mentioned before, there are only three days of school this week. I decided NOT to start reading the book until next week. But there is certainly tons of things that we can do before reading a book, right? I handed out their individual copies of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (thank you Donors Choose) and we discussed what they already knew about this character. They knew a lot, let me tell you. About 7 of them had already read the first book. We read the summary on the back and applied it to what we knew. I gave them some background on the author and chatted about theme and genre.

The next day we jumped on the train of character traits. There was some work to be done about separating out what is a trait and what is a feeling. We also thought about how these character traits could be collected in order to make a judgment about the person as a whole.

The third day was all about decorating our wands, so there was very little academia involved.

I had them paint the wands all black first in order to bring out the texture of the glue and then add new colors. Word to the wise: lay down paper before you let them start painting. Saves on TONS of mess. They had so much fun choosing and painting their wands. Many wanted to start using them already, but I told them they couldn't use them until they've passed the Wand Use 101 class. I was SIRIUS!

Another thing I did during this short week was have them work with their new housemates on a few projects to get them used to each other. I thought with it being the start of a new year it was perfect timing to get to know each other a little better. I had them fill out a survey with each other to get them talking.

They also had to take the concept from our character trait study and apply it to themselves. They needed to come up with three traits they all share and then design a house crest to hang above their seating area. This was an interesting conversation to listen to.

Here are a few more shots from our week:

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