Being a fifth-grader can be hard work. Preparing for middle school and taking three STAAR tests requires a lot of time and dedication. That is why the fifth-grade teachers at Rainwater Elementary started the tradition of Harry Potter Day, celebrating the successes of their fifth-graders with a fun-filled event held each year on the Friday after the final STAAR test.
Fifth-grade teachers Morgan Johnson, Kristine Norsworthy, and Daniel Derasaugh transform the classrooms and hallways of Rainwater into the magical world of Harry Potter for one special day. "I started this tradition because we needed a day to relax after STAAR testing," said Mrs. Johnson. "I truly believe my students work so hard throughout the year, and this one day makes it all worth it."
On Harry Potter Day, instead of walking down the hallways of Rainwater, students enter through Platform Nine & Three Quarters, carefully make their way past dementors and spiders in the Forbidden Forest and arrive at Hogwarts. Upon arrival, each fifth-grader has an owl waiting on their desk with an invitation to begin school. This incredible experience is a visual representation of what the students have read about during their Fantasy Book Clubs unit earlier in the year. As their reading teacher, Mrs. Johnson uses fantasy book clubs to teach her students important lessons about reading and life. "I teach a lot about character growth, and it goes hand in hand with Harry Potter," says Johnson. "My favorite lesson to teach my students is that characters (and people) are not always what they seem. When Harry Potter day comes around, and students get to live this experience, it is like a light bulb turns on, and they get excited!"
Harry Potter Day is filled with hands-on learning, collaboration, fun, and all of the teachers are sure to get in on the action. Mrs. Norsworthy, math teacher, plays an arithmancy coding game with the students. STEM is incorporated as they complete a challenge to create a Golden Snitch Launcher. Mr. Derasaugh, their science teacher, even teaches them levitating through different science experiments.
To describe the magic of Harry Potter Day, one student said it best, "Harry Potter Day is a day when everything special that we like about school meets in one place. It makes me realize how much books are magic, just like the world of Harry Potter."