Alright it’s finally time. So growing up, my family and I obviously loved Harry Potter very much, why else would you read all the books out loud following the midnight releases. Space camp was a great theme for my winter camp, but summer camp only had one option. HARRY POTTER. I did the camp two times over two weeks, once at my big school, Okgye Elementary, and once at my tiny school, Sanheung Elementary. I’m not going to give a seperate narrative for each, just go through what the camp was like for both schools. At each camp we had around 20 kids, which was amazing for splitting up into the 4 houses of Hogwarts. My co-teacher suggested we do five groups to make thins easier, but I managed to talk him out of it. Didn’t even have to use the words “thematically consistent”.
The first little bit we did for both camps was to give the kids some background info about Harry Potter in general. I knew that some of the kids weren’t going to have read the books or have seen the movies, so I didn’t want them to feel like they didn’t know what was going on. So we started off by playing a Harry Potter trivia game, which told them who all the main characters, as well as some basic plot information, like that Harry’s parents are dead, who killed them, and what the difference between a witch and a wizard is.
You can see Hedwig there, and the students are holding the boards they were writing their answers on. Also notice Hogwarts castle in the picture to the right. After this, we were ready to head to Hogwarts!
So as you are no doubt aware, the first thing you have to do when you get to Hogwarts is get sorted into houses. Before we did this I of course had to give some background information about what the houses were, so the kids at least knew what they were getting themselves into.
After this we got into the nitty gritty of the actual sorting. Now because I didn’t do enough planning ahead, I didn’t have a hat that was really going to work as the Sorting Hat. What I used instead was the sun visors that you usually see a lot of older Korean women wearing. The whole set up looked like this:
We set up the Sorting Hat powerpoint to sort the kids into the groups we wanted beforehand. We just called them up in order, and they got sorted into their proper houses. After this they all had to make house posters, which is where we would keep track of all the points and stuff that they accumulated in their pursuit of a House Cup.
The final results were really awesome, and you can decide for yourself which is your favorite. Although the simple Hufflepuff one with the badger on the seal was a really good one in my opinion.
You can see the final House Cup point totals for Okgye’s camp in the center bottom picture. You can also see that we had them write some adjectives on their posters that matched up with their houses, although sometimes they didn’t know if the words were good or not, which is why arrogance shows up on Gryffindor’s poster. All throughout the camp, we would give out points to the students, whether it be for the best house poster, or who won the games we played. At the end of both camps, all the points were added up and the winners were given prizes, although Okgye’s prize system was a bit more involved than Sanhueng’s, which you’ll see later. With all of this completed, we were finished with Day 1!
The second day started out by addressing a fairly obvious problem. The students were at Hogwarts (or “Magic students” as they now called themselves), but they had no wands! I’m pretty sure you’re not let on the school grounds if you don’t have a wand. So first we had to learn about the two components that make up a wand; the wand wood, and the core. I taught the students about different trees, and what each means if its what you wand is made out of, then did the same for a ton of mythological creatures. I decided to expand the core materials beyond the typical Unicorn hair, Phoenix feather and Dragon heartstring so they could have a bit more choice. After they learned all, they could choose what their wand was going to be made out of an construction began!
We used chopsticks, pipe cleaner, paper, glitter, glue, colored pencils and markets to make the wands, and even in one case, a balloon. Here are the finished products:
Now that the students had their wands, the next step was to teach them how to use them. We had two classes to accomplish this: Standard Book of Spells Chapter 1, and Dueling Club.
The first was Standard Book of Spells Chapter 1, which focused on teaching the students easy commands like “run”, “stop”, and “hot”. Here they are running around practicing before their pair performances. One student just kept yelling, “fire in the hole!”
Here is one group performing, I’m pretty sure his partner used the “jump” spell, and then the “sit” spell.
Dueling club was very exciting, but required so much teacher involvement that we couldn’t take pictures. Basically, we ran an elimination tournament of speed reading English from the board. There were four rounds of increasingly difficult English, and the winner’s house got a ton of points for the House Cup. It was my favorite class, and I think a lot of the kids liked it too. This was the end of day 2, but it was also the day that they started writing letters to the students at the other school, which I then delivered so they could read what the other students had done (i.e. the exact same thing).
Day 3 had only two classes, Herbology and Care of Magical Creatures. Herbology was basically just a vocabulary lesson, with the students learning the words for things like “tree”, “leaf” and “soil”. Afterwards we had a quiz game, which they really enjoyed, and then it was time for Care of Magical Creatures. This class was totally about dragons, and I explained about dragons and then taught them about the names for body parts, so they could say if their dragon had big horns or a long neck or red eyes. We then set about illustrating the dragons, and here is everyone with their final dragons! Bonus pic of me explain the difference between big and little.
That was the end of day 3, so on to day 4!
Day 4 also had only two classes, and they were Defense Against the Dark Arts and Quidditch. In DADA I taught the students about boggarts and dementors, and also how to use the Patronus and Riddikulus spells to protect themselves from those creatures. I also felt that I had a responsibility to teach them about the Unforgivable Curses, so they could know what to look for and what to protect themselves from. Constant vigilance! After this we went on to Quidditch! I was pretty excited about this, and the first camp, Sanheung I tried to have the students play a version of the game that still involved the Seeker. This didn’t work out too well, and the boy students were complaining that the broomsticks hurt their balls. The second time though, we changed the game so it was only Chasers, Beaters, and Keepers, and it was much more of a success.
We also played in the gym, with hockey sticks instead of broomsticks, but it was also about 95 degrees outside, so I think that was the right choice. The kids had a good time, and the winner of the tournament got themselves a ton of points for the House Cup!
Day 5 was a relaxed affair, with the students first watching the first Harry Potter movie with Korean subtitles. They really liked that!
We then got to put all those points they earned over the week to good use during the auction for a tons of stuff at the end of the camp. The students got a number of “dollars” for what their team did, and also a smaller amount for what they did. They took this total in monopoly money and then got to use it to bid on a whole ton of stuff. At the beginning of the camp, each kid wrote two things down for their “wish list” and then my co teachers went out and bought those things. It was a pretty good incentive program, but it probably was a bit expensive. Here’s what the auction looked like!
The students were really savvy with their money, but my favorite was the one kid who made a huge power move and went all in for the one thing he wanted, and then sat back with a huge grin on his face, satisfied.
It was a really fun two weeks, and with Sarah leaving right after I finished my second camp, it pretty much signaled the beginning of the end for my time in Korea. I had an amazing time doing it, especially with one of my favorite subjects, Harry Potter!