Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Sorting iPad

It spilled over from home room.

"What Hogwarts house are you?" asked one of my students. "I'm always Hufflepuff no matter what!" she continued in frustration, 'I want to be Gryffindor."

I shrugged. "I'm probably Ravenclaw," I said. "Not to brag, but I am pretty smart," I winked.

"You should take the quiz right now!" she said, and so I did, quickly clicking through my choices of animals, leisure activity, Triwizard Tournament challenges, artwork, and so on.

"I'm..." I looked at her with raised eyebrows, "wait for it... wait for it... Gryffindor!" I announced in my best Sorting Hat voice.

She gasped, and we were still talking about it when the class changed. First period is reading, and most of the students were very interested in our conversation. The Harry Potter series is definitely regaining popularity with my students, both with the release of the Cursed Child and the fact that these sixth graders were too young to enjoy either the books or the movies the first time around. It really seems to be proof that the series is a classic.

"Can we try it, too?" several kids asked, and in a split second decision, I decided that it was an engaging activity somewhat related to reading. Even the students who were unfamiliar with the series wanted to take the quiz, and then they had lots of questions about the books for their friends who had read it.

Some kids tried taking the quiz more than once to rig their results, and their analysis of the questions and how they related to the houses of Hogwarts was pretty high order thinking. I quickly added a discussion question to our Google Classroom: What house were your sorted into? Do you think it was a good fit? Why?

Even as they compared their answers and results, one of the items on the quiz was of particular concern to one boy. If Death offered you a reward for outsmarting him, which would you choose? The options were the Resurrection Stone, the Elder Wand, and the Invisibility Cloak.

"I would always pick the stone," he told several people, "because what if something happened to my mom? I would never want to live in this world without my mom!"

"You should tell her all about the quiz when you get home," I suggested. "I think she might like to hear about it!"

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