Monday, September 11, 2017

It’s a new school year!

Welcome back, Everyone.

I’ve been pretty quiet over the summer except for participating in the Ten for Ten in August (check this out if you haven’t already) so I’m itching to get back into recommending resources that have come my way over the last couple of months.

But, I’ll do that next week.

This week, as a welcome-wagon kind of gift to the new school year is an invitation to check out a fun exhibit that the Doucette Library has installed commemorating the 20th anniversary of the publication, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. (Yup. 20 years!)

So, step right up and see the amazing


These three large, brightly coloured boxes  with various sized openings showcasing artifacts from the Doucette Library’s collection and random objects from home that have been given Harry Potter-esque backstories. 

Some examples:

 The Cursed Belt has been written up as a device of revenge that must be used cautiously as both the cursee as well as the curser could end up with an unwanted muffin top. In fact, this is 5lbs of replica fat that can be strapped around the waist and would likely be used in health or science classrooms.


Insta-Cow  is a  plastic, brown and white toy taken from the Doucette’s farm animal kit, becomes a way of conjuring a cow by adding a drop or two of milk for a full cow. Or add chocolate milk for a chocolate cow. Or half and half cream for ½ a cow 

A replica 16th century, French playing card becomes a portkey for time travel.

Tears of Mandrake : Be Careful! Extremely Rare & Toxic are a few glass beads placed in small bottles.

Trump-Eyes skewing everyday reality are actually prism glasses which would be great in a science classroom.

Anit-Noxious Nose Plugs is written up as an advertisement: “Circa. 1960s – Ad – Does your senior dragon often fart without warning? Are you caught unawares by the “Silent-But-Deadly” ones? Is it deflating your affection for your aging beast? Help is here. One pair of the Anti-Noxious Nose Plugs will rekindle your close relationship with your sulfurous emitting boo-boo dragon. Time to cuddle up!”

These are just a few of the 83 items that populate these giant knick-knack boxes. But not all of the artifacts have write ups. A number of them invite students to create their own Harry Potter-esque descriptions. Postcards are supplied and welcomed.

Besides being a fun display to welcome students, showcase some of the Doucette’s resources and celebrate the Harry Potter 20th anniversary, this also becomes a way to demonstrate to student-teachers ways of using space within classrooms. This type of display could be replicated in a school classroom, artifacts derived from home or school and children encouraged to use their imaginations to create their own magical devices.

If this does appeal to you, you should visit Pop Goes the Page – Muggle Studies 101  to see the artifacts and backstories curated for this Harry Potter Museum. It was reading an article about this exhibit that inspired me to try for something similar but on a smaller scale. Being on the smaller side makes for a perfect tie-in to how we like to inspire our student-teachers with possibilities for their own classrooms.

This corner of the library has been a “paint corner” where students were invited to paint on the glass window with acrylic paints. This was a total hit!

Also, we set the area up as a relaxing tropical ‘beach’ with comfy beach chairs, fake palm tree and sun, beach towels, sunglasses and the piece-de-resistance, crashing wave sounds (sound machine). This was to encourage students to take a few minutes to kick back at a very busy and stressful time of year.

We’ve got a few more ideas to try out in this corner of the library over this next academic school year.

Stay tuned!


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