Tag Archives: Harry Potter

Engaged learner(s)

I haven’t posted much recently as we are STILL continuing our Harry Potter topic!  Fundamentally, this means that I am being truly child led which is exactly how I want to be with our Home Ed.  C continues to be completely engaged and there is so much learning through imaginative play – it’s great.  But possibly not so interesting for others to keep reading about!

IMG_7760We have set up shop in the garden – a ‘Shop of Magic’, and used this to practice adding 3 digit numbers which need constant revisiting in a variety of situations to fully grasp before moving on to more abstract recording.  I’m not sure the pictures are clear enough but I’ve tried to capture how he chose his 2 items, found the coins, using £1 coin, 10 pence pieces and pennies and we then represented the amounts using ten sticks.  We recorded the adding process so that he can see the link between the concrete and the abstract but the focus was very much on using the manipulatives to model exchanging for a ‘ten’ or a ‘100’.  This is important, as if moved on too quickly to recording then there is a chance he won’t have fully understood why we carry and unspotted mistakes could be easily made.  By physically moving ‘ones’ to the ‘tens’ etc the place value is really understood.


Of course the maths was slow here.  First my items had to be corrected.

“What?!  Why is there a basic wand?  There wouldn’t be basic wand!”

“Why is there a basic broom…”

And so on.  You get the picture!

Then there was the matter of the currency.  It took some convincing that we had to use pound coins because we have no galleons.  He spent a considerable amount of time sorting coins to ‘be’ galleons, sickles and knuts.  I’m now toying with giving him a conversion activity, but why did JK Rowling make the exchange rate so difficult?!

Finally the quidditch set.  For some reason he was happy with paper images of most items in our shop (aside from the brooms and wands of course) but decided to search for different sized balls to put together a quidditch set.  Needless to say I made a coffee at this point!  The beauty of HE though, is that he can spend time doing these things, getting it all just right in a way that is so important to him.  It meant that our maths continued for the most part of the day but he loved it.  The following day he went on to recording straight in the maths book, but this was a stage too soon.  He got muddled with the carrying and exchanging so we will spend more time on the practical before we revisit the recording.

Following on from our success writing to Steve Backshall back in September, remember that?, we have drafted, edited and written up a letter to Daniel Radcliffe, to find out what he’s up to these days/let him know of his celebrity status in our world of Home Ed.  I’m sure it compares favourably with his other career highlights!  The rich reading experience that C is having is now influencing his writing as he is embarking on his own Hogwarts story.  It is currently staying pretty close to the original text and I have pointed out that this may not be such a good idea, what with the books being so long, but at the moment it means his writing is full of wonderful expression and his stamina in writing is increasing so we’ll see how we go.

In other (non HP!) news-  we had our first sleep over.  On a school night!  The following morning the boys spent ages playing with remote control cars in the garden; creating obstacle courses, hypothesising, testing, evaluating and improving on their techniques.  They tried to develop a ramp set up which was proving difficult so we devised a scoring system to reflect this more challenging aspect of the course!


the box is the ramp, no fancy building here!




Oh and of course we’ve managed a few trips.  Unknowingly we have visited JK Rowling’s neck of the woods.  How exciting it was to visit the boys’ Auntie and have Mugglewort Woods pointed out to us!  We are now planning  another trip very soon to take a proper visit!

We have enjoyed some excellent outdoor theatre as part of the Medway Fuse Festival, and believe it or not, there is someone up this tree…



Ways of reading

I have found myself struggling to find the time to write these last few weeks.  I think it’s the late nights the boys keep having, largely due to the light and bedtime reading.  Does anyone else have a problem with the lighter evenings?  Or have to confiscate books at bedtime from a little bookworm?  He his going to sleep later and later which consequently means my free time starts later and later!

Continue reading Ways of reading

Immersive learning at the Harry Potter Studio Tour

This quote is displayed on a screen in Olivanders. We loved it.

Best trip ever apparently! I’m in the good books for being the mummy to arrange it.  How long that will last we’ll have to see: Only the Friday before I was the worst mum ever for not buying the Harry Potter outfit he saw while we were out!  The emotional roller coaster of parenting!

It was only on Sunday that I told the boys where we were going and I did this with a set of anagrams I found online, there are loads to be found –  this puzzled him for quite a while and he was of course delighted when he eventually made the connection.

Can you solve these anagrams?

Can you solve these anagrams?

And so to the preparation learning.  He is still loving Pottermore, I need to get onto this myself to be able to fully evaluate the learning here, but any reading opportunity or enrichment is good in my book; and he’s constantly sharing facts he’s picked up on there.  I found some Harry Potter word problems online, pitched just at his level so we had a fun ‘using and applying’ maths lesson that stretched over  the two mornings, along with golden snitch spellings…

DSC_0186 DSC_0194 DSC_0189

These were great, I wrote up the ‘ough’ spelling pattern which has been proving tricky on his last pieces of writing and we created a spelling version of Quidditch.  The idea was to fly the snitch in to the centre of the ‘pitch’ read it, turn it over, write it.  If it was correct he scored.  Incorrect, it moved towards my goal, resulting in a second and then third attempt.  It’s basically ‘look cover check’, but a bit more interesting!  I’ve made this before in class, as a football game.  It’s a fun way of reinforcing a spelling pattern being learnt.  C made it more difficult by insisting he scored 150 points for each goal scored, so building in his own maths too!

The last task I gave him was to look at the studio tour website and plan questions he wanted the tour to be able to answer, along with listing priorities for the visit. He also helped me check the route on the map.  Useful skill this with me as the driver, as I do have a tendency to get lost wherever we go 🙁

As with previous trips, I’ll leave it to him to tell you about our day.  It was fascinating. Packed with excitement and learning that really can’t be compartmentalised into neat subjects as he learnt about prop making, animatronics, special effects, life on set, make up, set design, and so much more!  Little L was overheard explaining to a friend (in his 4 year old way) how ideas transform from your head, to paper, to the model, before turning it into the film.  It’s amazing what can be grasped by having hands on experience.  Of course all of this took place while being totally immersed in the imaginary world for the day as Harry and Ron!

Olivanders, in Diagon Alley
Olivanders, in Diagon Alley

Warner Bros. Studio Tour – 

The Making of Harry potter

Yesterday was the best trip EVER! We went to the Harry Potter studio tour in London.  We drove for an hour and a half to get to Watford and we didn’t even get lost (for the first time, with mum of course!)

How I felt when we arrived


I felt very excited but nervous because I didn’t know what to expect.  Some of my friends told me about it so that’s what made my excitement build up.  The Warner brothers built up the excitement by having GIANT pictures on the outside of the studio building.   It felt like we were going into a really important building, like nothing I had ever seen before…

Starting the Tour

We had to line up to a VVVVEEEERRRRYYYYY long line but after that it was amazing!  We were taken into a cinema to watch Daniel Radcliff, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint reveel some secrets to us (but I will not tell you them because they won’t be secretes) before we went into the Great Hall.       

My best bits

We had to find the golden snitches! I found all of them! And the best thing was flying a broom-stick! It was very hard because you had to fly through

the streets!  I like going on planes which is why that was my favourite bit.

Something interesting I learnt

For the broom sticks they put a green screen behind the actor and the same for the flying car. It is realy clever how they put a pictures on the green screen. The mirror of Erised  was a normal mirror with his parents behind him.

I wonder why you carnt have a red screen or a blue screen etc?

We’ve followed up the visit with the recount writing you’ve just read and he’s in the process of creating a comic life story of ‘Harry’s sidekicks’, using the photos from the day to create a story.  He’s spent most of the time in his gown, casting spells with his new wand and travelling around on his nimbus 2000 Firebolt.  Total immersion!

learning wand moves
learning wand moves

I wonder if he’ll go to secondary school still ‘being’ different characters  depending on who is favoured at the time!

Imagination and Magic

I’m keeping a secret and not sure  for how long before I crack!  We are off to the Warner Bros Harry Potter tour next week and I still haven’t told my obsessed son! He is now on the fourth book and he just can’t put them down.  He’s registered onto the website Pottermore, which he is loving and is desperate for me to let him go onto Amazon to look up the ‘proper’ outfit.  How is this even in the language of a seven year old?  He has agreed that if it’s too expensive he’ll continue with his black cloth sticks and John (from Peter Pan) glasses… Poor child!  Personally I prefer him throwing makeshift outfits together.  He can be very creative and resourceful, remember the viking outfit, Victorians, WW1?  It’s not only creative but when linked to history it’s a great way to put research skills to good use and then bring learning to life.

Continue reading Imagination and Magic

Harry Potter Week

Harry Potter Week didn’t really start out as Harry Potter week.  Until Wednesday I had never even seen any Harry Potter films and yet somehow most of the week here at missmummy has been all about the wizardry!

We started as planned.  We made our lava lamp as per our list of science challenges to explore.  This was very exciting, leading to gasps of “wow” as the mixture fizzed. Once the the mixture had been made he wired up a bulb to provide the light.  My little guest blogger has returned and below you can read how to make this yourself at home, take heed of his warning at the end:


You will need : an empty water bottle,

Vegetable oil,


Food colouring,

Alka seltzer tablet


First fill the bottle 3/4 full with vegetable oil, then top it off with water and about 10 drops of food colouring (or enough to make the solution appear fairly dark).      

Next, cut an alka seltzer tablet in to pieces, put it in to the bottle, put the cap on and tip back and forth.  The oil dos not mix with water what do you think will happen…     

Finally, put a strong light underneath.                   


DON’T use a bulb thru 4 batteries   



our lava lamp instructions came from our set of Dyson challenge cards
our lava lamp instructions came from our set of Dyson challenge cards

More ‘inventing’ has been happening in a very ad hoc way.  I daren’t let on that most of these things have in fact already been invented.  It’s wonderful to watch him trying out his ideas on the circuit board and evaluate his findings.  He now knows, from above, that if you have too much power running to a small bulb it will blow and is so confident in his new skills that when I explained we needed to put a new battery in the doorbell he asked if I want him to fix it by checking the circuit!

The week’s learning changed direction dramatically after a Harry Potter themed day at our HE group and then at Beavers the same evening.  You guessed it… The dressing up excuse.  C only remembered at tea time that he was allowed to dress up at Beavers and so began frantically researching costume ideas.  I was quietly impressed by his googling skills as he thought to type in ‘Harry Potter home made costumes’ as his search.  A fun evening enjoyed at Beavers subsequently led to his being dressed up for the remainder of the week.  Should I admit that I am writing this on Thursday night and he still has his lightning scar? Should I admit that my son washes his face day and night, baths every night and has managed to actually wash around this patch on his forehead?  We sat and watched the first film on Wednesday evening which inspired me, not to dress up but to create some maths learning around Hogwarts house points and spells.

Last week I had identified a need to recap finding the difference as a method for subtraction.  This one is often tricky, but necessary, for younger children to visualise what it is they are doing when subtracting by working out the difference between 2 numbers.  C keeps telling me he “doesn’t like maths” and so I am trying to think more creatively about IMG_7047how we teach it; my solution for this was to incorporate ‘finding the difference’ into some play with the Scaletrix.  We  had timed races and when the timer was up, calculated how many laps we had each done by recording along a blank number line.  This enabled him to draw out the jumps, for example from 32 (no. of laps left) to 45 (the total no. of laps on the dial).  Our Scaletrix dials countdown from 45 so you can easily see how many laps are remaining:  It’s not so easy to see how many you have completed.  To follow on from this the next day, I stuck up some envelopes containing house points for the Hogwarts houses.  With these he had to work out the differences between the different houses and the winners.  We started together, with me modelling how Dumbledore would have mentally calculated how many more points were needed to put Gryffindor into the lead and then I left him to do a few more calculations independently.  This has all served to be successful scaffolding.  We started practically, followed up on paper with support and then gradually took away the support.  He’s got it!  And very pleased he is with himself too!

IMG_7051  IMG_7058

Upon leaving for Nursery one day this week we discovered a letter on the mat from Dumbledore himself, giving ideas for us muggles to make potions. IMG_7062 Once the letter was read and digested we set about, the three of us, creating some pretty disgusting tasting potions (recording and adding up the quantities as we went along).  The boys are convinced they made it snow with these as sudden snowstorm began while they syringed and mixed apple juice, lemonade and milk, yuk!  And of course, our crazy L loved it – drinking a fair bit until I insisted he stop before he was sick!


I have been so lucky with our HE community here.  Our lovely group organiser set up an online HP quiz for us all to take part in.  C has thoroughly enjoyed re calling his (limited) HP knowledge from his one film viewing and attempted all 6 rounds with very little help from me.  So good multi media comprehension there from him.   Some amusing, some random guesses, Professor Spinach instead of Sprout was my favourite I think.

To end this week, here he is sketching a portrait of Harry Potter, obsessed?   Who him?!


harry potter maths download