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Get Ready for a Virtual Visit From J. K. Rowling!

By Christy Crawford on October 9, 2012
  • Grades: 6–8

Live from her hometown of  Edinburgh, Scotland, it's J. K. Rowling! In a few short days, Rowling — who was once a single mom on public assistance and is now the world's first billionaire author — will talk to kids about writing, reading, and all things Harry Potter in a Scholastic webcast. My 4th and 5th grade muggles (e-reading Potter fans) have been gearing up for her virtual visit. Read on for their favorite, super, simple Potter recipe, webcast tips, and new digital Potter reading must-haves for students or Potter fans of any age. 




Harry Potter Reading Club

1. "HER-ME-OWN? HER-ME-OH-NEE? Her-MY-oh-nee? Arrgh!" Admit it: you, like most adult or child fans of the Potter series could not pronounce many of the names in the text before the film series debuted. Professional help has arrived! Find out the correct way to pronounce "Hermione" and understand lots of British, Latin, or author-created names with the Harry Potter Reading Club pronunciation guide. Join the reading club to get the guide, a glossary, Harry Potter stickers, bookmarks, and fabulous discussion guides. Use the discussion guides after read-alouds or in e-reading clubs, or send them home with a parent who has read the texts. Parents will appreciate your assistance in making family reading discussions easy and enjoyable.

For serious family fun, check out Potter series trivia and games in The Stacks. Readers can try their hand at transfiguration, create a creature, or find out which Hogwarts house (Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin) best suits their personality.  


 Snacks Inspired by the Book Series

Our school's biggest Harry Potter fan!2. What's a webcast party without snacks? (Not sure how to set up for Thursday's webcast? See my post "Getting Ready for a Virtual Field Trip" ASAP.) Then use my Butter Minis (a teacher-friendly version of Butterbeer) recipe to whip up a special reward for well-behaved e-readers or webcast watchers. You'll need . . .

  •  2 2-liter bottles vanilla cream soda (Try A&W Cream Soda) 
  •  1½ gallons vanilla ice cream 
  •  2 12.25-oz. jars butterscotch topping 
  •  1 can aerosol whipped cream 
  •  4 oz. drink cups 
  •  1 crock-pot and a willing assembly line of muggle volunteers 

Allow your first volunteer muggle to set out 30 cups. Muggle number two scoops a heaping teaspoon of softened ice cream into each cup. Muggle three pours the cream soda potion into each cup. Muggle four tops with whipped cream. Muggle five (your most trusted muggle — preferably an adult) drizzles a teaspoon of warm butterscotch topping from a crock-pot (on its lowest setting) onto the creamy apex of each drink. Makes 30 Butter Minis.




Entice readers with these magical candies.




Too time-consuming? Grab a couple of boxes of Bertie Bott's Jelly Beans. For years, I've found these disgusting little beans at great rates at Marshall's discount stores. Gruesome flavors like vomit, earwax, soap, grass, and rotten egg will catch the attention of any student at any time. 




Wise Old Owls  

Try this for your book club!3. My youngest e-readers often have a hard time containing their enthusiasm during book clubs or webcasts. During J. K. Rowling's virtual visit, students will use the back of paper plate owls to write down pressing thoughts or questions. Immediately after the webcast, students are invited to post their pre-drafted thoughts on Edmodo, a safe social networking site for schools. Our paper owls enable students to continue the webcast without interruption and give students a chance to draft error-free posts before posting them to our discussion site. 

My creative mother-in-law, a self-professed Potter nut, created the owls by stapling pictures of various owls to paper plates and taping a tongue depressor to the back of each plate. She also stapled a National Geographic fact blurb to the back of each plate for curious muggles. Your young muggles will love their paper owls for all facets of book clubs!


Pottermore.comThe Magic Continues

4. Ever wonder how the Dursleys met or how they got along with Harry's parents? Find out and get lots of juicy new bits of writing from Rowling at Pottermore.com, Rowling's free, interactive site. The new, online text is great for current readers and will bring back that original thrill for older fans. Readers can also submit drawings and comments and navigate interactive scenes on the site. The scene illustrations will entice even the most reluctant readers to read and reread connected passages for enjoyment and deeper understanding — a habit of all good readers.  

How do you get readers excited to read and reread book series? Please share your favorite Potter recipes and activities for book clubs or classroom read-alouds. Enjoy the webcast! 


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