Thursday, July 27, 2017

Harry Potter Summer Camp, Pt. 1

Every year my work puts on two summer camps - one is through our school and one is in partnership with the ACCESS program through the US embassy. If you've been reading my blog for a while you probably know that I worked at the ACCESS camp last year, and I was fortunate enough to do so this year too. Last year I helped out with the Arts and Crafts sessions, but this year my director wanted me to run my own morning sessions. I was a little annoyed at first because I had to come up with 14 days worth of material, and since I knew it was my last month in Russia I wanted to spend that time with friends. However, it worked out because I chose to do a Harry Potter session after I remembered seeing my friend Ariana's camp a few months prior. Besides two 50 minute classes, I also ran the morning movie sessions almost every day. I showed Up, The Sandlot, Moonrise Kingdom (which they actually really enjoyed), and Harry Potter.

It was extremely time consuming creating the lessons, and I had to do everything before the camp started so I knew what materials I would need for my classes so they could be purchased ahead of time. I got a lot of ideas from Waygook. It's a great resource for TEFL teachers. The basic idea of my module was that each day would be a different class at Hogwarts (Defense Against the Dark Arts, Herbology, Divination, etc.). Each day would also start and end the same in order to help with classroom management although it started off kind of shaky, and even at the end of the camp they still struggled with the bell work. Every day, except days 1 and 2, they would read their "Owl Post" to their group and discuss what they liked or didn't like about the previous day. I gave House points to students who were on task to motivate them to follow directions. The class would end with them writing their "Owl Post," and they would say what they liked or didn't like about the lesson, any new words, or just how they felt. Throughout the 14 days they would be able to get House points for different tasks or they could lose them for bad behavior.
Day 1 | Welcome to Hogwarts & Day 2 | Sorting Hat Day: The first two days started off pretty rocky. Although I had some of them during the year the first group didn't speak much English, so I had trouble trying to explain things. We read our acceptance letter from Professor McGonagall, talked about the Houses and classes, I explained the schedule for each day, then we were supposed to go "shopping" in Diagon Alley for wands.I wanted them to make wands with glue sticks and pencils, but I couldn't find the paint I asked for, so the first day they also got sorted into their houses. I put enough Houses into a bag and they each grabbed one at random and that was their group for the rest of the camp. The first and second day they made house banners, created a password, and made badges. The next day they finished their wands, but I forgot to take photos of them! 
Day 3: I missed this day because I got back from Yekaterinburg!

Day 4: This was a weird day because it was shortened, and I wasn't prepared because I was told I wouldn't have the class. So, basically we just did a word search of Harry Potter vocabulary.

Day 5: No classes because the groups went to a lecture and then went to Sky Park. I didn't go to Sky Park, unfortunately.

Day 6 | History of Magic: I created my lessons so that that they didn't have to know anything about Harry Potter in order to participate in the activities or have fun. I think all but one of my students had seen the movies, and even he told me that he watched them the weekend after I introduced it. With all the activities, I made sure I talked about the vocabulary or the characters before the game was played so all teams would have equal opportunity. For the History of Magic lesson most students had done the word search the day before. The PowerPoint went through the books and major characters. Afterwards, they had a quick recap quiz for House points then we went into our major game, the Salad Bowl game. You can read the instructions here if you are interested (it also makes a great party game). I used my own Harry Potter vocabulary terms. Some I included were not part of the PowerPoint so I had to explain them really quick before we began. I also put the 4 houses into two teams and both Houses on the winning team won 100 house points.
Day 7 | Defense Against the Dark Arts: This day was really fun because we finally got to go outside and run around. They also had a chance to use their wands! We first went over vocabulary words, such as "freeze," "dance," and "clap." Then I gave them instructions on how to play Magic Freeze tag. I won't write it all here because you can look at the YouTube video if you are interested. However, I changed it a little bit so that 1/3 were Voldemort and 2/3 of the class were Harry Potter. I don't know why my instructions had it the other way, but this way worked out much better. I also didn't give house points. It was too confusing to keep track. After the game we had a few minutes left over after they wrote their Owl Posts, so I gave them a word search with Harry Potter spells.
Do you have any fun camp ideas?


  1. Such a fun idea! I want to go to Harry Potter camp


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