With all the hype surrounding the latest Harry Potter book and movie, my students seem to be talking about nothing else. I’ve used this conversation lesson over the past week to generate team spirit and conversation in English. My advanced junior high school students haven’t stopped talking about it!
Time: 2 hours. It depends on how many challenges you wish to use.
Level: This lesson works well with large groups of 15 to 30 students in upper-intermediate or advanced level classes.
Warm-Up: Begin your class with a brainstorming activity to generate vocabulary related to the books or movies. Write the new vocabulary on the whiteboard or ask students to generate their own wordlists.
Divide the class into four teams from Hogwart’s School of Magic: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin.
- Make sure your students can pronounce the names of these schools properly before starting.
Activities: The teams are given tasks to earn points.
1. Write a short rhyme to cheer your team on. Perform it for the class.
- I demonstrated a short rhyme for my students. It can be as simple as stamping out beats with your hands and feet, or thinking of an adjective to go with each letter in your team’s name.
2. Make a short speech for a new student at Hogwart’s School of Magic.
- What would a new student need to know about Hogwart’s before their first day of class?
3. Design a new broomstick. Present your new broomstick to the class.
- This one is a lot of fun. I was dumbfounded by some of the designs.
- While students are working on their design, you may want to help them with new vocabulary. For example: I had one group add rocket thrusters to their broom design but didn’t know how to explain it in English.
- Encourage your students to be creative.
4. Create a new game to play on broomsticks. Write rules for your game.
- Brainstorm! Encourage the entire class to think of places with rules.
- Ask them to think of the rules in each of these places before writing their own rules.
5. Predict what will happen to Harry, Ron and Herminione in the future.
6. Write the ingredients of a magic potion or make a magic spell for love, luck, money or protection.
- Explain the differences between a magic spell and a magic potion.
- This one will also require a bit of explaining and forethought. Ask students to think of spells used in the movies. Explain that some spells have ingredients. My students had a great time adding pig blood, spiders and frog eyes into a magic potion that turned me into a less than savory character.
Ask students to vote for the best team in each category. They were not allowed to vote for their own team. I also cast my vote for the best performances. You can assign a certain number of points for each team if you wish. At the end, the team with the most points wins the challenge.
Valerie Giles has also posted a terrific article on ESL Teachers Board. She writes about how to use Harry Potter House Teams effectively in the classroom.