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HP in NYC, Field Trip Zoom, & Mystery Hangout

As the end of the school year approaches, I begin thinking of the travelling that I will do over the summer (and in this case, Spring 2018!). So, here are a few travel-related ideas for classrooms this week.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: NYC– Merlin’s beard! Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the stage play depicting Harry as a middle-aged dad sending his son Albus to Hogwarts, is coming to Broadway in the spring of 2018. Though the story does not focus on Harry himself, Potterheads of the US are rejoicing in the opportunity to see the latest installment to the HP story. The play has been winning awards and selling out seats since June 2016 in London.

For those of you that aren’t geeking out about this (Like I am! Yaaassss!) but do teach middle school, this is the perfect time to get students reading, or re-reading, the Harry Potter series. The 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone coming up in June, recent release of the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the upcoming online book club through Pottermore.com, and now the stage play in NYC are all great ways to get students interested (again) in these magical reads. Here are some resources for wizards and muggles alike–

  • Pottermore.com— This is the online center of the Wizarding World. Access up-to-date news pertaining to all things HP and dig deeper into the story while reading the books to get the details on characters, creatures, and more. Find out your Patronus, wand, and Hogwarts (or Ilvermorny) House all on this fantastic site. The new book club will be hosted by Pottermore, though I believe much of the participation will be done on Twitter.
  • Scholastic.com— New to the world of HP? Check out this site to read excerpts from the books, listen to audio of chapters, and meet the illustrators.
  • JKRowling.com— This is author J.K. Rowling’s website where readers can get current news and information pertaining to the HP world and her other writings.
  • There are TONS of Twitter accounts that could be followed to keep HP info flowing to you throughout the day, but do know that many are unofficial and could be anyone– I would urge students to stick with official accounts unless you are sure of the content being shared.
  • Do some Google searching and you’ll also find loads of posts about books for people who loved reading the Harry Potter series. Because many of these are blog posts, they may not be accessible to students when searching at school.

Swish and flick.

Field Trip Zoom– I just heard about this  from our e-learning coach in the district. Field Trip Zoom offers virtual field trips that are scheduled in advance and designed for student engagement. I have not tried this service out myself so I can only tell you what I have read on their website. It appears that you do pay for the service and there are many experiences to choose from at different grade levels and across content areas. I noticed events on the calendar that ranged in content from the Civil War to the Day of the Dead. The videos that I watched of students participating seemed to be more elementary focused though they do offer middle school and even high school “trips”. Here are the two options–

  • Field Trip Zoom Zone allows you to stream video and students are guided through the virtual field trip. This is only one-way communication– students cannot interact with the presenter. This field trip could be streamed by any number of classrooms at the same time throughout the country. This is set up much like a webinar, is my understanding.
  • Field Trip Zoom Class allows your classroom to not only be guided through the experience but also allows them to interact with the presenter. You do need some tech capabilities (video, microphone, etc.) to make this happen.

I know it can be difficult to get field trips scheduled, link to content, and find ones that students haven’t already participated in over past years in school. I’d be interested to hear what you think about this option. Please let me know if you decide to try this service out. I would love to participate and to hear about the process, pricing, and overall experience.

Mystery Hangout– Another way for students to “travel” outside the classroom is to host a Mystery Hangout. The idea is that your students would connect with a classroom via Google Hangout or Skype, somewhere else in the world other than their own school building. Students take turns asking each other “yes”/”no” questions to ultimately guess where the other classroom is. I absolutely love this idea for social studies and world language classes but would love to brainstorm some ideas for broadening the scope to other content areas. 

Enjoy!

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Instructional coach and former art teacher on the hunt for tips, tricks, strategies, and knowledge to pass along.

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