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G E N R E S C L A S S E S A N D T O P I C S
Teaching with Harry Potter
Teaching Kids
 Fun activities and references
 Chemistry (potions)
 Cooking (Potter themed treats)
 Crafts (wands, art,...
English Class: Writing
 Composition: concepts like third-person limited
narration or cross-genre fiction.
 Easy reads fo...
Literature
 Children’s literature (of course)
 Basic analysis (themes, metaphors, symbolism)
 Film studies
 Name meani...
Classics like Harry Potter
 These are all adult fantasy or semi-fantasy novels, but
ones not too graphic for older kids a...
Inspiring the Classics
 Chaucer, whose “Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale” concerns alchemy,
and “Pardoner’s Tale” inspired the Tale ...
English Vocabulary or Romance Languages
 Latin Roots
 There are so many simple, well-known Potter spells that
offer memo...
Social Science
 Introductory freshman classes focus on Harry Potter as a
fun transition class, welcoming students to univ...
More Social Science
 Jungian archetypes shine in all seven books, producing fodder
for psychology.
 Philosophy or theolo...
Medieval Studies
 Alchemy, magical recipes
 Culpeper’s Complete Herbal
 Ancient bestiaries
 Astrology
 Romance tropes...
Modern History
 WWII: the blood purity laws and ghettos of Deathly
Hallows, false propaganda and racism
 Civil rights, s...
Science
 Hermione’s fascination with logic, arithmancy, and
astronomy can provide a theme for events.
 Science professor...
Math, Computers…
 The key here is word problems: two trains coming
toward each other could be the Hogwarts Express
and a ...
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Teaching with Harry Potter

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Discover how teachers have used the series to teach medieval studies, classics, mythology, writing, literature, history, philosophy, and even science! by the editor of the book Teaching with Harry Potter.

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Teaching with Harry Potter

  1. 1. G E N R E S C L A S S E S A N D T O P I C S Teaching with Harry Potter
  2. 2. Teaching Kids  Fun activities and references  Chemistry (potions)  Cooking (Potter themed treats)  Crafts (wands, art, costumes)  Psychology (Patronus and Boggart)  Good moral choices  Getting girls into STEM
  3. 3. English Class: Writing  Composition: concepts like third-person limited narration or cross-genre fiction.  Easy reads for ELD students  Creative writing: Hero’s journey, plot diagramming, foreshadowing, surprise twists, worldbuilding  Writing bestsellers, self-publishing and transmedia: Online, Rowling is pioneering the web as a new kind of author: Pottermore, a virtual community and computer game in one, teaches readers a new way to interact. Readers are creating fan fiction, fan art, video mash-ups and more.
  4. 4. Literature  Children’s literature (of course)  Basic analysis (themes, metaphors, symbolism)  Film studies  Name meanings and associated symbolism  Hero’s journey/bildungsroman  Greek/Roman/Celtic myth  Arthurian romances  The Ivory Tower and Harry Potter: Perspectives on a Literary Phenomenon, edited by Lana Whited, 2002  Reading Harry Potter: Critical Essays, edited by Giselle Liza Anatol, 2003  Harry Potter’s World: Multidisciplinary Critical Perspectives, edited by Elizabeth E. Heilman, 2003  Critical Perspectives on Harry Potter (2nd ed.) edited by Elizabeth E. Heilman, 2008  Reading Harry Potter Again: New Critical Essays, edited by Giselle Liza Anatol, 2009
  5. 5. Classics like Harry Potter  These are all adult fantasy or semi-fantasy novels, but ones not too graphic for older kids and young teens.  Bulfinch’s Mythology by Thomas Bulfinch  Le Morte D’Arthur by Thomas Malory  The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy  Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott  The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien  The Once and Future King by T. H. White  Beowulf  Folklore and myth from around the world
  6. 6. Inspiring the Classics  Chaucer, whose “Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale” concerns alchemy, and “Pardoner’s Tale” inspired the Tale of the Three Brothers.  Ben Johnson, whose comedy The Alchemist explores alchemy and the legend of the philosopher’s stone.  Harry Potter’s Bookshelf by John Granger examines Rowling’s inspirations: Dante Alighieri, Jane Austen, Bram Stoker, Dorothy Sayers, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, William Shakespeare, Jonathan Swift, Geoffrey Chaucer, and C. S. Lewis.  College students found elements of fairy tales and the monomyth present in texts like Great Expectations, Pride and Prejudice, etc., or magical symbolism in a text like The Faerie Queene.
  7. 7. English Vocabulary or Romance Languages  Latin Roots  There are so many simple, well-known Potter spells that offer memory aids for Latin roots. “Lumos” (the light spell) contains the root “lum,” meaning light (illuminate, luminous, luminescent). The Fidelius Charm (also known as the Secret-Keeper charm of book three) has a “fid,” Latin for trust or faithful (fidelity, confide, perfidy).  Imperio, the curse of commanding, gives us the Latin root “imper”: to govern or command (emperor, imperative, imperious). Crucio is Latin for torture (crucible, crucify, excruciating).
  8. 8. Social Science  Introductory freshman classes focus on Harry Potter as a fun transition class, welcoming students to university with a taste of the familiar.  Education majors construct lesson plans for the K-8 curriculum using the series.  Marketing and branding  Religion: considering the Potter question  Harry Potter and International Relations, edited by Daniel H. Nexon and Ivar B. Neumann, 2006  The Law and Harry Potter, edited by Jeffrey E. Thomas and Franklin G. Snyder, 2010
  9. 9. More Social Science  Jungian archetypes shine in all seven books, producing fodder for psychology.  Philosophy or theology: concepts of good and evil, the soul, the afterlife, and true righteousness.  Sociology, Gender Studies, Disability Studies, etc: issues of race, gender, class, marginalization, and stereotypes  Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development  Harry Potter and Philosophy: If Aristotle Ran Hogwarts, edited by David Baggett and Shawn E. Klein, 2004  The Psychology of Harry Potter: An Unauthorized Examination of the Boy Who Lived, edited by Neil Mulholland, 2005  The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy: Hogwarts for Muggles, edited by Gregory Bassham, 2010
  10. 10. Medieval Studies  Alchemy, magical recipes  Culpeper’s Complete Herbal  Ancient bestiaries  Astrology  Romance tropes  Etymologies  Mandrakes, bezoars, cauldrons, and love potions  Culture: feasting, disease segregation, maps  Architecture: the fourteenth-century Gloucester Cathedral Cloisters features in the first film, while the Great Hall at Christ Church College, Oxford, serves as the model for the dining hall at Hogwarts. Other film locations include Lacock Abbey, Alnwick Castle, and Durham Cathedral.
  11. 11. Modern History  WWII: the blood purity laws and ghettos of Deathly Hallows, false propaganda and racism  Civil rights, suffrage, class differences, racial profiling, LGBT Rights, and more  Harry Potter and History by Nancy R. Reagin
  12. 12. Science  Hermione’s fascination with logic, arithmancy, and astronomy can provide a theme for events.  Science professors speculate whether antigravity research could someday create the brooms and flying cars of Harry’s world.  “Harry Potter and Genetics,” taught at Sun Yat-sen University in China, clarifies that the series is stretching far beyond its origin as a work of children’s fiction.  Roger Highfield’s The Science of Harry Potter: How Magic Really Works
  13. 13. Math, Computers…  The key here is word problems: two trains coming toward each other could be the Hogwarts Express and a hippogriff. Calculating variables can decide which house someone will be sorted into. If one is multiplying and dividing money, knuts and galleons can be used. This all works quite well for kids or for a Halloween lesson.  One can make computer programs using all these variables as well.
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