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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Handling Harry Potter

Harry Potter has the power to change my class's humdrum attitude about reading. I just know it. With that said, how should I handle Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in my classroom?

Francis Bacon once said, "Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested." Until now, those categories have guided me well. Books chosen as classroom novels have been the chewed and digested type - - - those we can pick apart and analyze. But I don't want my students to learn from Harry Potter. No, I want them to become personally involved with him, to love him. This book was meant for enjoyment, discussion, and fun.

My class and I talked it over. They agreed to read the chapters at home so we can do related activities and projects each day at school. I will require only one written assignment: a brief summary sheet.

After reading the first chapter, we summarized it together in only one sentence: After Harry Potter's parents were killed by Voldemort, he was dropped off at his muggle aunt and uncle's house by Professor Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall, and Hagrid.

Each chapter of J. K. Rowling's seven books plays a part in the telling of one long, complex story. Next, we considered the purpose of Chapter One. We decided that it introduces key characters and gives necessary background information.

In addition to the cool projects we'll be doing, students will meet in literature groups each day. I've decided to provide discussion questions to get them started. 

Students met in their literature groups for the first time yesterday. Excited chatter could be heard all around the room. This, obviously, was a book they loved to discuss.

Work your magic, Harry!