Happy birthday to J.K. Rowling, who brought the magical world of Harry Potter to readers of all ages! Last month, we sent two Fellows off on their Potter Trail journey. We’ve checked in with them to learn more about the author’s inspiration for her beloved books and how the librarians Vilma Martinez and Christina Stark plan to inspire readers after “being there”:
“Our Fund for Teachers fellowship has come to a close, but the magic will continue to brighten our library worlds and in turn the world of our students. We are grateful that Fund for Teachers “chose” us to be recipients of a 2017 grant! Harry Potter has been in our hearts for years, what better way to re-ignite the love for the series in ourselves, our students and future generations of readers than by going to the sites captured in the pages of J.K. Rowling’s magical series? Reading the books, biographies, newspapers, watching movies…NOTHING…can compare to the experience of seeing and learning things for ourselves.
To stand in the grandeur of places like Tower Bridge, Lacock Abbey, Gloucester Cathedral, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, and all the others, it’s just an indescribable feeling. We love J.K. Rowling for creating such vivid, complex, beloved characters and a truly magical world that continues to touch so many people – young and old alike! Through our walks, we saw older couples getting just as excited to stand in the places where Harry, Ron and Hermione stood and we could hear the excitement in their voices, see the excitement on their faces. (People could say the same thing about us!)
Twenty years after Rowling’s first book was published, we were there to celebrate her spirit and her characters and the magic welcomed us with open arms as we created videos that will enhance students’ reading experience. In addition, we’re planning the following activities for students after they read each book in the series:
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: Choose your House: a sorting ceremony where students will be placed into their House (and earn house points throughout the year). “Plenty of courage, I see. Not a bad mind, either. There’s talent, oh yes. And a thirst to prove yourself. But where to put you?”–The Sorting Hat
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Photo opportunity with robe and house scarf, plus Make Your Own Wand MakerSpace project.
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Write a handwritten letter to J.K. Rowling and a tweet using our schools’ library Twitter accounts.
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: House competitions in which students compete for points answering questions based on the first four books read using Quizizz. (if you haven’t used this app in the classroom, check it out, it’s tons of fun for students, they will beg you to use it again and again).
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Use Google Slides or TouchCast to write or report on their favorite characters. (Write Ups will be showcased on the library “Hogwarts: Heroes and Villains” bulletin board display.
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Using MovieMaker or other video making app or program, make a promotional video to entice new readers. Special screenings to occur live during Morning Announcements.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Discover the most popular title in the series. Provide students with a ballot which they will cast at the end-of-the-year Harry Potter Party where students can have a magical time talking and sharing their favorite parts, books, characters, scenes, the list goes on and on. The House Winner will be announced and photographed! More photo ops such as “Have You Seen This Wizard,” Platform 9 and ¾’s and anything else the students come up with!
J.K. Rowling said it perfectly, “The stories we love best do live in us forever, so whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.“ So again, thank you Fund for Teachers and a big thank you to our blog readers for following us on this magical exploration of all things Harry Potter!”
Vilma Martinez is the Library Media Specialist at Boone Elementary in Alief, TX. She is an instructor for both online and face-to-face professional development courses for her district and also presents at the state Technology Conference and Support Staff Association Conference. Christina Stark is the Library Media Specialist at Albright Middle School, also in Alief. She, too, presents professional development in her district, teachers an online course as an adjunct professor at the University of North Texas, and has received two grants from the National Endowment for Humanities.