Star class: Harry Potter-inspired class system
In the spring and summer each year, building administrators and teachers work together to create the next year’s class lists for each student, according to a press release. Each classroom then becomes a family each fall and throughout the school year. Teachers at Hawthorne Elementary School work to connect with their students and families. This year, Melissa Schmidt is taking things to a new level by creating a house system within her classroom around “The Magical World of Learning,” inspired by Harry Potter.
The students in the first week of school completed a sorting hat quiz of different scenarios of how they would react or solve a problem. Based on their answers, they were separated into four different houses from Harry Potter, (Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, Slytherin) during a classroom sorting hat ceremony. The students in each house earn points every week to obtain their house reward, which is decided on by majority vote every Monday morning. They are able to earn points by following Hawthorne C.A.R.E.S. from any and all staff in the building, not just in their own classroom.
For example, every house needs to cooperate with one another to figure out ways to earn points for the week. They need to be assertive to be able to show and teach others how to be kind and respectful to everyone they are in contact with. They need to be responsible with their class materials and classmates during all work time. They need to show empathy to others by being kind and respectful to everyone. Lastly, they need to show self-control in all settings (lunchroom, recess, classroom and specials). They can also earn points by going above and beyond the regular school day expectations and helping others where they see a need.
As we continually look as a building to reduce bullying situations or negative relationships, the house system in Schmidt’s classroom allows her to not only connect with each student and house, but also to help encourage students to interact with students they may not typically consider. This creates a family-like atmosphere where learning at high levels is possible, because now students are not only comfortable with their classmates, but they know they are all there for one another and can take risks that can elevate not only their academic achievement, but also their social/emotional growth as well, the release stated.