Publication Date: June 26, 1997
Reading Level: Lexile Measure 880L
British Book Awards 1997 Children’s Book of the Year
Interest Level: Grades 5 - 6
Major Awards: Nestlé Smarties Book Prize for 9 to 11 years
Number of Pages: 223 pages
Approximate Word Count: 76,944 words
Audible Book Length: 8 hours and 33
Book Themes: Love, Choice, The Importance of Rebellion, Humility, Friendship, Death, Power
Genre: fantasy fiction
Setting: England in the 1990's
“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” “To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.” “The truth."
First Line: "Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”
Point of View: third-person, limited point of view
on the other hand
Links to Resources and Teaching Ideas
Several characters are described in Chapter 1. Begin making a character map with drawings of each character on one side and a description on the other.
Albus Dumbledore - He was tall, thin, and very old, judging by the silver of his hair and beard, which were both long enough to tuck into his belt. He was wearing long robes, a purple cloak that swept the ground, and high-heeled, buckled boots. His blue eyes were light, bright, and sparkling behind half-moon spectacles and his nose was very long and crooked, as though it had been broken at least twice. (Page 8)
Professor McGonagall - ...severe-looking woman who was wearing square glasses exactly the shape of the markings the cat had had around its eyes. She, too, was wearing a cloak, and emerald one. Her black hair was drawn into a tight bun. She looked distinctly ruffled. (Page 9)
Hagrid - If the motorcycle was huge, it was nothing to the man sitting astride it. He was almost twice as tall as a normal man and at least five times as wide. He looked simply too big to be allowed, and so wild - long tangles of bushy black hair and beard hid most of his face, he had hands the size of trash can lids, and his feet in leather boots were like baby dolphins. In his vast, muscular arms he was holding a bundle of blankets. (Page 14)
Mr. Dursley - ...big, beefy man with hardly any neck, although he did have a very large mustache (Page 1)
Mrs. Dursely - ...thin and blonde and had nearly twice the usual amount of neck (Page 1)
Dudley - small son (Page 1)
Harry received hundreds of letters in Chapter 3. Write your own letter. Harry's letters were written on parchment paper with green ink.
Harry finds out that his parents are wizards. He remembers times when he was able to "make things happen" when he was really angry. You too can perform some simple magic tricks.
During our unit on Harry Potter we made wizard money including galleons, sickles, and knuts. We used the money in a simulation activity. In this activity, we pretended to purchased items a wizard might need to buy before going to Hogwarts. It was a lot of fun!
We also made magic wands. They were made from wooden dowels. We decorated our wands with star shaped stickers, beads, feathers, and sequins. See instructions in the blog post.
Bertie Bott's Beans
Another fun activity was predicting the number of beans in the bag of Bertie Bott's Beans. We also predicted the number of each flavor. After counting the actual number we wrote the fraction for each. We then discussed the probability of getting a flavor we liked as opposed to one we didn't like. This bag of beans had grass, pepper, and sardine flavors. Yuck!
See 10 math ideas for using Bertie Bott's Beans in the blog post.
Chocolate Frog Cards
We made chocolate frog cards for the wizards that we would meet at Hogwarts. This was a great help in remembering the names of each professor and what the professor taught.
Professor Serverus Snape - Potions teacher and Head of Slytherin House
Professor Quirrell - Defenses Against the Dark Arts
Professor Flitwick - Charms - Head of Ravenclaw House
Minerva McGonagall - Deputy Headmistress and Head of the Gryffindor House - teaches transfiguration
Professor Sprout - teaches herbology - Head of Hufflepuff House
Albus Dumbledore - Headmaster at Hogwarts
Madame Hooch - Quidditch Instructor
The Sorting Hat
We held a sorting ceremony. Each student put on the sorting hat. We were divided into four houses. We held a competition to see which house would collect the most points for the rest of the Harry Potter unit. We earned points for getting our reading log signed, keeping our assignment book up-to-date, and on making good grades on the comprehension quizzes.
The Sorting Hat
Oh, you may not think I'm pretty,
But don't judge on what you see,
I'll eat myself if you can find
A smarter hat than me.
You can keep your bowlers black,
Your top hats sleek and tall,
For I'm the Hogwarts Sorting Hat
and I can cap them all.
There's nothing hidden in your head
The Sorting Hat can't see,
So try me on and I will tell you
Where you ought to be.
Ghosts at Hogwarts are introduced in Chapter 7
Peeves - a poltergeist
Fat Friar -
Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington
"Nearly Headless Nick" -
Bloody Baron -
Have students make a chart to better understand the rules of Quidditch.
Craft Project - Crystal Balls
We made a snack that looked like Fluffy's mouth. It was made with apple slices, peanut butter, and candy corn.
We had a lot of fun!
Year 1 Graduation Party
We held a first year graduation party after completing the book. Students each received a "Harry Potter" lightning-shaped tattoo. They put on wizard hats to really get into the spirit of the party. We played games with trivia from the book. Students made an eerie looking mixture in a cauldron.
Get the recipe from the blog post.