“Professional passion is an absolute treasure chest filled with everything we need to steadfastly refuse to enter the classroom with anything less than a burning hot passion for the awesome job and responsibility that lies before us. Tap into it and feel the power surge through your soul!” – Dave Burgess
While working through the book study “Teach Like a Pirate,” by Dave Burgess, my mind was opened to a plethora of new ideas. I love this book and recommend it to anyone striving to become a better teacher.
Increasing engagement and excitement for learning in our homeschool classroom this year became my goal.
What is your passion? From this question came the idea to create a theme for our school year.
Having read the 1st and 2nd Harry Potter books aloud as a family, the girls already have an affinity for the magical world of Harry Potter. As a result this year’s theme became:
Hogwarts: A year of Magical Learning
My cousin and life long friend, Darcy, also decided to implement a Hogwarts homeschool theme. Brainstorming together, we developed an awesome list of ideas to create a Magical school year. (Note: not everything this year is about Harry Potter) The theme simply adds a little fun, engagement, excitement, and magic into school.
Here are three ideas we used to kick off the school year at Hogwarts School of Magical Learning:
1.) Hogwarts Letters
A number of ideas were blended together to create the PERFECT Hogwarts letter. In the letter, Tony and I took the place of Hogwarts Headmaster Dumbledore and Headmistress McGonagall. Hogwarts letters were printed on resume paper. The supply list was an individualized compilation of all the books and supplies needed for the school year. To make the letters more authentic, the envelopes were closed with a Hogwarts wax seal.
One week before school was set to begin, letters arrived by owl post. The girls awoke to find their owls with the post. They were beyond excited!
2.) Diagon Alley
Less is More. Living by this mantra, Diagon Alley was magically simple. All the school supplies were laid out after the girls went to sleep. A simple lamp was placed in the corner to add a cozy shop feeling. The next morning, a hand written sign welcomed them to Diagon Alley.
Using their lists, they excitedly gathered their school supplies for the year. There is nothing like brand new text books, notebooks, pencils, and erasers to increase excitement for the beginning of school. Special sketch pads, feather pens, and pencil pouches were a great bonus! BUT the best part were the WANDS! They pretended to have their favorite wands ‘chose’ them. Imagination is Golden! Yes, there is a plan to increase student engagement using wands throughout the school year. This will be coming in a later post.
Note: Next time, I would send the owl post one day before Diagon Alley. Setting school to begin the following day. If your children are anything like mine, the arrival of the Howgarts letters increased excitement from super excited for school to begin to beyond excited! Yes, these kids LOVE school! It honestly helps when the teacher (aka:Mom) is also ecstatic about the beginning of school!
3.) Platform 9 ¾
A great deal of begging caused school to begin a few days early. The Hogwarts express was prepared for takeoff! A magical experience took place, as these first year students passed through the barrier at 9 ¾, sat in their seats, ate snacks from the Trolly, listened to the Harry Potter Theme Song, and got off the Hogwarts Express ready to begin the school year!
Repurposing and using what is on hand is my jam! An old red table cloth with a hand made sign was used for the 9 ¾ barrier. Pure Magic! Our simple adventure brought my children so much joy! I love seeing the world through their eyes!
The plan is to take the Hogwarts Express home for Christmas & Easter holidays, to travel back to Hogwarts at the end of each Holiday, and to travel home at the end of term!
Hogwarts School Year is now in full swing!
There is so much truth in the statement, “Creativity is not the possession of some special class of artistic individuals, but is rather something that can be nurtured and developed in all of us!” -Dave Burgess
I believe through consistent effort any person can tap into the creative potential that exists within their soul. Ask questions that spark ideas while putting in the time necessary to create an environment to inspire the hearts and minds you teach!