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Monday, March 26, 2012

Harry Potter Classroom Theme

Hello Bloggers!  Feeling a little down, ok REALY down, this week and I thought I would try to pick myself up with a few of my favorite things: Blogging, Teaching, and Harry Potter.


Through this blog I have connected with quite a few Harry Potter teacher-fans.  You guys inspired me to share my classroom theme, which Kelly had a great deal of influence upon.  Ok, more than influence, she thought of the idea and forced me to do it about 3 days before school started.  Allow me to share the story.


First, one thing you must know about me is I start getting the school bug on August first.  I hound custodians for the date I am allowed back in my room and have moved my furniture back in my classroom by myself in order to start prepping (I have an illness).  One day, when I should have been organizing books or hanging bulletin boards I was sitting in Kelly's FANTASTIC Ocean themed classroom whining and drinking a vanilla bean coffee coolatta. I was in awe of her adorable theme and complained that in 5th grade you can't have a theme because 5th graders are all "big" and "cool".  To help, or to shut me up, or a combination of both Kelly mentioned that I need to incorporate a theme that I love because I will be in the room 5 days a week.  Through some quick brainstorming, she mentioned I could use the Harry Potter books as my theme.


Problem-It was 3 days before school started, I was already hanging up my baseball posters and using my lame (no offense) "we are all a team" theme.  I was tempted to stick with it, but the allure of Harry was just too much.  I scoured the Internet and found...NOTHING.  Seriously, not one Harry Potter birthday calendar, bulletin board paper, or border. (Seriously, I have been tempted to call JK Rowling and asked that chick to hook up with a company and get this stuff made).  So I went to work and created my first Harry Potter poster.
Printed out from the computer, edited, and mounted on construction paper.
Hermione waits for me to call on her. 
I know, nothing fantastic.  I still hang her up as my first Harry token, but it has grown from there.

On the first day of school everyone is "sorted" into a house by the sorting hat.
After introducing the new gang to my Harry Potter theme (they have know about it since they were in 1st grade with Kelly) I read the sorting hat poem from HPSS and sort the kids into their "house" or tables.  Above each table hangs a sign with the house name and a brief description of the type of student found in that house.  I made these myself and laminated them.


I copied the excerpt straight from the novel. 


 Our first activity of the year is to make owls and to write about whether we were sorted into the right house based on how we assess our character traits.


My students sit with their table for one month and work together to earn house points.  At the end of the month the house with the most house points wins the House Cup .  The students are resorted (without the ceremony) and the House Points competition starts all over again.
My closet door keeps track of the points. 

My students mailboxes are labeled the Owlery and a few feathered friends,
including Hedwig perch there. 
We are currently finishing HPSS, here is one of my bulletin boards


















My tables are labeled Potter, students who cannot behave are put in Azkaban (figuratively of course), and Potter decor now litters my room.  Here are some more pictures.



I picked up a few chocolate frog boxes from a
recent trip to Harry Potter World to decorate the
corners of my bulletin board. 

I made this border myself: it is many, many, MANY 8 inch strips printed, cut, glued, and laminated.  It took forever-but I love it. 

My letter to Hogwarts- I was accepted!



Homemade Birthday Chart- There was a frog underneath Harry!


I use starred paper for my bulletin board, like the Great Hall ceiling.
My kids drew me these HP pencil sketches.  NOT BAD!
I solemnly swear that I am up to no good!




The Magic Wands from four of the characters.
Can you guess who?


From the very first day when we sort, until we start the first HP novel (usually December), all the way until the end of the year we are filled with the magic of Hogwarts.  As the only one who stays behind to do it again next year, Harry Potter is something I never get sick of.

Let the Magic Begin!
-Damien




27 comments:

  1. I love this! I'm a HUGE Potter fan so this really strikes a cord with me! I have a few Potter posters hanging (and my own wand as well--Harry's)but nothing like what you've done here! Awesome!

    Let me guess the wands--Dumbledore (Elder wand, of course!), Voldemort, Harry, and (I think...)McGonagall???

    Tammy
    Confessions of a Fourth Grade Teacher

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  2. This is awesome! I know your kiddos love it!

    Your blog is wonderful! I am your newest follower. =)

    I would love for you to visit me if you get the chance. =)


    Heather
    Heather's Heart

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  3. Tammy-
    You guessed right! I am incredibly impressed. Harry's and Dumbledore's(the Elder Wand) were a must. McGonagall is my favorite Hogwarts Professor and Voldemort's wand is just so cool looking.

    Thanks Heather- They really do look forward to it and reading the first book!
    -Damien
    http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/The-Reading-Buddies

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  4. Love the classroom! Where did you get your Marauder's Map?

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  5. Hi Esther-

    Thanks! The Marauder's Map was given to me as a gift, but I know I have seen it available at www.wbshop.com and then you click on the Harry Potter tab.

    Thanks for checking out our blog.
    -Damien
    The Reading Buddies

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  6. I absolutely love this! Started a HP theme last year but I'll probably steal all your ideas thank you so so much :)

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  7. Hi Jan!

    Thanks for stopping by! I have been doing the HP theme for my classroom for the last 5 years and LOVE it! I have already started some serious remodeling for next year so plan to stop by to see what I have been up to.

    Feel free to steal away, if I didn't want to share, I wouldn't have blogged about it. :0)

    What grade do you teach? What did you do for your HP theme? Do you read the novels with your class? Inquiring minds, mainly mine, are dying to know!

    Thanks,
    Damien

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  8. How fun and creative! I love Harry Potter and I am sure it motivates your kids so much. My daughter is going into 5th and has no interest in reading Harry Potter. If she was in your class I am sure she would read the whole series:) Thank you so much for linking up!!

    Aloha,
    Corinna
    Surfin' Through Second

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  9. Thanks so much. I plan on making changes to it as inspired by schoolgirl style. I have picked my three "magical" colors and have already been working away. I can't wait to set it up and share with everyone!

    Thanks again,
    Damien

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  10. I love, love, love your theme! I am going to tell our fifth grade teacher about it because I know she is a Harry Potter fan too. I love that the mailboxes are called the Owlery I am sure the students love it! I am giving away a $20 TPT gift certificate. Come visit and enter to win! :)

    Delighted in Second

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  11. I'm visiting through the linky party, and I'm your newest follower. What a FUN theme! Everything looks great. I'm excited to share my classroom theme too. Come by when you get a chance.
    Waving from The Teacher's Chatterbox,
    Rebecca

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  12. Oh how unique and fun! I totally love this!!

    Misty
    Think, Wonder, & Teach

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  13. How awesomely creative and different. I bet students can't wait to be in your class!!

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  14. Awesome ideas! I was wondering if you've experienced any parent complaints because of the "witch/wizard" stuff?

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  15. Thanks for all the compliments on my theme. As I mentioned before, a major makeover of the theme is under way and I can't wait to share it.

    To date, I haven't had any parent complaints. Some have expressed concerns that their kids were afraid of the movies when they were younger. I reassure them that a fifth grader is ready for these books. Ironically, this year my principal did have a parent request not to have their child in my class due to the theme. I figure better know now than to have to fight it later. Most parents are hugely supportive, many are fans themselves, and they LOVE the effect it ( and by proxy I) have on their child's reading.

    Thanks for checking out my theme and check back for the changes!
    Thanks, Damien

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  16. LOVE the theme! I am a first year teacher, fresh out of college, and just got the green light to use the Harry Potter theme in my 4th grade classroom this year! I checked with a mentor teacher about the parent issue because I will be teaching in a private school, but I'm glad to hear you have not had too many problems! How would you suggest starting with this theme from scratch and on a budget? I know you put it together in 3 days, and luckily I have about 4 weeks to put my classroom together, but that certainly is not enough time to jet off to Harry Potter world (even though that would be AWESOME!). I'm so glad someone else had this same train of thought!

    Thanks for the inspiration! I would love any advice you can offer!
    Sarah

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    1. I am so happy for you and am THRILLED that you are going to be doing a Potter theme this school year. I am currently revamping my Harry Potter theme adding some newer items and keeping some of my old favorites.

      My first recommendation is to check out your local party store. I started there looking for anything HP for parties that I could use in my room. Also, I just made and posted new Harry Potter Desktop Name Tags at my TPT store that you could use for your desks. I plan on laminating mine for durability and using double-sided tape to attach them to the desk. Check them out and let me know what you think.

      Also, check back on my blog as more ideas are in the works and on the way!
      -Damien

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  17. I am also going to be a first year teacher this year in Texas- teaching 5th grade Reading and Social Studies! I can't WAIT to start my Harry Potter theme. Thank you so much for sharing your ideas. Being a Harry Potter fan, I already had several things to start up my classroom- my favorite is a kid's size table with the Hogwarts crest. Each chair represents one of the houses. It's a really neat piece that I hope my students will treat with respect and love!

    I am going to head to a party store as soon as possible- great idea to get some of the smaller stuff! I have to ask...is everything in your room strictly Harry Potter, or do you have other decor as well? It may take me a few years to be able to have a more strict theme, since right now I'm just trying to fill my walls :) Also, do you usually only focus on book one?

    Thanks a million, and best of luck with your new school year.

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    1. Hello Chantel-

      I LOVE your HP table, it sounds adorable and I'm sure it will add to your room.

      To answer your questions, most things in my room are Harry Potter related in some way. Even is it is just a piece of clipart or the border to a bulletin board. Now as I teach and we do things that aren't connected to Harry (Math, Science, etc.) those things go up in the room and aren't necessarily Harry related.

      I tend to make sure my decorations are some how associated with the first 2 books. I read both with my class each year (one year we read all 7 and that was just magical). I do have movie posters from come of the other films, but when I get something, I try to ask myself if they will know the character by time we finish the 2nd book. For example, I try to stay away from things like Dolores Umbridge, Cedric Diggory, and characters they won't know by the end of book #2.

      If you are interested, I made some cute Harry name tags and a great behavior chart that you can get at my TPT store as well as a few other Harry/owl items.
      Here's the link:
      http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Harry-Potter-Behavior-Chart

      Also, you may want to keep checking back on my blog as I am about to go back into my room and put up some new Harry decorations(which means pictures here) that may inspire some ideas for you.

      Please keep me posted on what other items you get. I am always looking for new Harry ideas.
      -Damien

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    2. Hi, Damien! I just bought your behavior chart...so cute! Perfect for what I need, and gives me a very concrete way to start my year. I have a Hogwarts banner, the Hogwarts table and chairs, 4 movie posters, all of the books, and a decal that I ordered on Amazon which has the sorting hat, my last name, and my house on it (Hufflepuff!) Maybe I should make my two cats, Tonks and Potter, part of the decor as well, but I doubt that they would like 5th graders very much (ha).

      I have yet to meet with my team to see if I will be able to read Harry with my students as part of the curriculum, but otherwise it will simply have to be a read aloud each day. I will fit it in somehow :)

      Thanks for all of the awesome ideas, I will definitely be watching your blog!

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  18. Hi Damien - I love this idea! I just found out that not only do I have Year 6 next year (which is hard to theme) but also I have all boys. Do you think 11-12 year old boys would appreciate the Potter theme? Best wishes, Sally

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    1. OMG! I think they will LOVE it! I definitely get my boys (usually a majority of my class as the "male" teacher)hooked on reading because of Harry. This post is my old classroom theme. You should see the revamped version at: http://thereadingbuddies.blogspot.com/2012/09/welcome-to-hogwarts-school-of.html

      Also, I did something pretty cool with magic wands here: http://thereadingbuddies.blogspot.com/2012/09/bringing-in-some-magic.html

      I also have some really great Harry Potter theme classroom stuff available at my TPT store here: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/The-Reading-Buddies

      There is a Harry Potter behavior chart, Harry Potter desk plates, and more is on the way as I am about to begin reading the first novel with my class.

      I REALLY think the boys will love this. Please keep me posted and I encourage you to follow our blog/TPT store for all things Potter!

      Thanks for reaching out,
      Damien

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  19. I love this!!!!! My first year teaching ended yesterday and I am already looking for a classroom theme for next year. After seeing this post I am definitely doing a Harry Potter theme. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much! I have had great fun with my Harry Potter theme.

      This post is my old version... You should check out my updated Harry Potter theme here: NEW Harry Potter theme post

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  20. I couldn't help but giggle. I am a sixth grade science teacher and my theme: potions class. You guessed it! I have a very nice poster if SNAPE! I, of course, have captions that are to downplay the "evil" side. May put some dementors in my cabinet area to deter students who "wand"er into my area!

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  21. Omg! I've always wanted to do something in Science class about Snape. He's great and it sounds like your room is as well.

    This was my old HP theme. You have to check out a recent post to see how I've added some "magic" to my room.

    Damien

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