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Kick off your school’s celebrations on 7 February by looking at teamwork and cooperation, says Sarah Watkins...
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For over 20 years, schoolchildren across the world have been spellbound by JK Rowling’s Harry Potter novels. On the 7 February it’s the fifth Harry Potter Book Night and this year’s magical theme is Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
You can download a full event kit full of fun ideas and activities at harrypotter.bloomsbury.com.
Whether you are taking part or not, use this additional resource to conjure up a little Hogwarts magic into your assembly.
If you want a teacher’s script to follow, download one, along with all our other resources for this assembly here.
Firstly, captivate your audience by displaying Jim Kay’s wonderful image of Hogwarts on the whiteboard from the hardback illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
To create a magical atmosphere, dim the lights and play ‘Hedwig’s Theme’ from the film as the pupils come in. Once they are seated, ask them which book they think today’s assembly is based on. Invite a few children to talk about what they like most about the Harry Potter stories.
To introduce the theme of this assembly, read the following quote originally spoken by Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts:
We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.
Ask what pupils think of this. What is the message that Dumbledore wants to get across? Now hold up a hula hoop and explain that this is a cauldron that must not spill.
Ask for a volunteer wizard or witch to come and lower it to the ground using just one ‘wand’ (fingertip), without tilting it.
Once you have established that this is impossible, ask your volunteer to invite three friends up to the front to help them complete the task successfully.
Congratulate the children for their teamwork and ask them to sit down.
Summon four pupils to the front and present each child with a crest representing one of the four Hogwarts houses. Recite the qualities of each house in your best Dumbledore voice:
Do the children understand all of these words? This is a good opportunity to extend their vocabulary.
Next, enchant pupils with a short reading from Chapter Seven of the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The extract describes the magical moment when Harry first enters Hogwarts.
Conjure up an image on the whiteboard of illustrator Jim Kay’s sorting hat from the hardback illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Explain that this magical hat knows what every single student at Hogwarts is like and uses its knowledge to match the children with their correct house.
Today, we will speak our own magical words to find new members for the Hogwarts houses.
Draw the attention of the children to the qualities of each house once again. Can anyone suggest a friend who has been brave or courageous? Can they describe a situation when this happened?
Bring this pupil up to become a member of Gryffindor and then ask for suggestions for the other houses, based on qualities pupils have shown.
For Hufflepuff, ask who has shown dedication to something or been a good friend; for Slytherin, ask who is confident and unafraid to aim high; and for Ravenclaw, find someone who has demonstrated wit or intelligence.
Use this opportunity to further embed the vocabulary, so that the children gain confidence using these words.
Now that the pupils have a good idea of the qualities of each house, prompt them to consider silently which house they would personally prefer to belong to and why.
Explain that, just like teams in school, each Hogwarts house is made up of different characters with different skills. When we are in a team, we work together to win. Harry Potter is a very clever wizard, but even he knows that he can’t beat his enemies without the support of his friends.
It’s not always easy being in a team because we are all different. Sometimes Harry and his friends fall out, but when they need to achieve a goal they support one other.
Show this compelling short film from publisher Bloomsbury which explores the powerful theme of working together:
Ask the children holding the four house crests to flip them over to reveal letters spelling out the word ‘TEAM’. They can now move closer together.
End your assembly by playing ‘Hedwig’s Theme’. Ask the audience to sit quietly and reflect on what they can do to be a better team player.
Alternatively, keep the energy high by ending with a rendition of the Hogwarts school song. Don’t forget Dumbledore’s instructions: students can pick their favourite tune and sing the words any way they like!
Find even more fantastic ways to celebrate Harry Potter Book Night 2019 by downloading this event kit from harrypotter.bloomsbury.com.
Sarah Watkins is an English SLE and head of school. Follow her on Twitter at @mini_lebowski.
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