Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling is the first book in the seven-book series. It is perfect for middle-grade readers. Teachers can use the following activities to enhance their unit on this popular novel.
Some of the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone activities you can do with children help them understand and get to know the characters in J. K. Rowling's series. Here are three activities to choose from:
- Choose one of the main student characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, or Draco. Write a letter home from Hogwarts explaining what has happened after any chapter in the book from that character's point of view. For example, once Harry, Ron, and Hermione are in Gryffindor house, students can pretend to be one of them and write about the train ride and the sorting hat. Students can write a letter at the end of the novel, explaining how he or she defeated Voldemort's plan.
- Create a word web display in your classroom or in students' reading response journals. After reading a section of the novel, children choose a character and put that character's name in the middle of a word web. Then they think of adjectives, background information, and character traits that are specific to that character. These word webs can help children keep track of the many characters introduced in this first novel.
This activity requires students to choose a character at the beginning of the novel and do several activities with this character each time they read a section. Teachers prepare different character activities that students can choose from. These tasks can range from writing a poem about the character, drawing a picture of the character, comparing yourself to the character, and so on. Students complete a task after each reading assignment.
One of the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone activities that works well is making a timeline of events. This timeline will not necessarily follow the chapters in the book. Ask children to start with Harry as a baby and Voldemort's attack and finish at the end of Harry's first year at Hogwarts. To make this timeline, students will have to be able to sequence events and choose important events from the plot (which helps with summarizing skills). The easiest way for students to tackle this activity is to keep a list of important events in their reading response journals. When they finish reading the novel, they can put the events in order and write them on a timeline.
Comparing Movie and Book
One fun activity that children like is to compare the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone book to the movie. Once students have read the book, then show them the movie. During the movie, students should take notes on what the similarities and differences are from the book. Next, students are in small groups, and they compare notes to make a long list of similarities and differences. They create a visual presentation that can be hung on a bulletin board or in the hallway. Students can make a chart or Venn diagram to share their information.
Once students are back together in a whole group, ask them questions such as: Which did you enjoy more? What are the major differences? Why do you think those differences were added to the movie? Why wasn't every detail of the book shown in the movie? How would you feel if you were J. K. Rowling?
Become a Hogwarts Student
Students will love this activity that goes along with the book. Since Harry is introduced to Hogwarts in this first installment, so are the readers. Let students choose their house, hobbies, and courses of study. Ask students a series of questions to answer in their writing journals that go along with the book. Here are some examples:
- Which house would you want to be in if you were a Hogwarts student: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin? Explain why you would want to be in the one you chose and what you might say to the sorting hat.
- Which class would you most enjoy if you were a first year Hogwarts student? Why?
- Which teacher would you like the best? Which teacher would scare you? Explain why and how you would deal with those two teachers.
- Would you want to play quidditch? Why or why not? Which position would you want to play?
Once students have answered these questions and made personal comparisons with the novel, they will improve their comprehension of the characters and events in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone book.