Gannon’s chapter of the international education education honor society Kappa Delta Pi (KDP) held a Harry Potter themed learning carnival last semester for children in the boys and girls club.
This event is part of literacy alive, KDP’s service initiative that promotes literacy in the chapter’s community. As a KDP member, I was more than thrilled to take part in this learning carnival!
The process of putting together the Harry Potter Learning Carnival began earlier in July. KDP treasurer Annie Hatton said, “I made a connection with Sheldon from the Boys and Girls Club of Erie, who we had never partnered with before. He was very excited to work with a Gannon organization. Once we established that an event would happen in the fall, I worked with KDP members to begin creating ideas.”
Around September, KDP advisor Dr. Robin Quick found the Harry Potter idea and worked with KDP to adapt it and make it their own. Hatton said, “Once we had a solid plan formed, our e-board members teamed up with another education club, Student PSEA (Pennsylvania State Educators Association), to apply for a grant to fund the event. From September to November members of both clubs were hard at work researching ideas for the learning stations as well as food preparation and decoration ideas. We spent multiple nights together crafting materials and getting everything put together.”
The members of KDP and I put a lot of effort into planning activities and decorating the third floor of Palumbo Academic Center.
The activities included literacy and STEM (Science technology engineering and mathematics). One of the most challenging sections of planning was the four different learning stations. Hatton said “we incorporated both literacy and STEM into the stations through various hands on activities.” Hatton led the potions activity, middle level Education major Paul Sitzler led the Marauder’s map activity, faculty adviser Dr. Quick led quidditch and I led the reader’s theater activity.
Since I am the only current student at Gannon who is double majoring in Middle Level Education with a concentration in Language Arts and Theater, I used the skills from both majors to find Harry Potter character costumes and write the reader’s theater script.
I ended up putting together a Professor Snape costume and I borrowed a Dumbledore Costume from the Schuster Theater.
The reader’s theater activity had to be a theatrical adaptation of a work of literary fiction. For Example have been some reader’s theater adaptations of the works of Edgar Allan Poe and O. Henry. In this case, the children acted out an adaptation of a scene from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I chose to adapt the dueling club scene.
The potions lesson combined elements of chemistry with magical potions.
Hatton “planned and implemented a science based learning station that showed different chemical reactions through Harry Potter themed potions. The children followed written directions and got to mix together chemicals such as ‘dragon’s blood’ and ‘leech juice’ which were just basic household items. I had a great time running this station because I could guide the children to various conclusions about the experiments while seeing the joy and excitement the activities brought to them.”
Once the children arrived, they were sorted into the four Hogwarts houses: Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw by Professor Dumbledore (an education major with a costume). Then, Hufflepuff and Gryffindor would go to two activities together and Ravenclaw and Slytherin would go to the other two. Then, everyone would have dinner and the groups would switch activities.
At the end of the carnival, the children received a goodie bag that included a book they could pick out, a wand and information about what we did during the event for their parents.
Overall, I believe this Harry Potter learning carnival was a major victor for KDP and the School of Education. KDP president and senior Early Childhood and Special education major Clara Drake would agree.
She said, “as this was the first year of hosting the Harry Potter Learning Carnival I would call the event a success! The whole KDP organization worked extremely hard to get this event to even happen but more than just happen but be what we wanted it to be the for students from the Boys and Girls Club.”