An Oklahoma teacher hopes her new Harry Potter-themed classroom will inspire her students to immerse themselves in reading.
Stephanie Stephens teaches elective math and reading classes for sixth through eighth graders at James L. Capps Middle School in Oklahoma City. "One of the toughest things as a reading teacher is instilling a love of reading in students that do not like reading," she told The Huffington Post.
While working at a camp over the summer, Stephens came up with the idea to decorate her school classroom with Harry Potter-themed details after her enthusiasm for the series prompted a few other adults to read the books. "It got me thinking that if I can get adults to be excited about reading using Harry Potter, I can get my students excited about reading as well!" she recalled.
The teacher spent a week planning and ordering decorations related to the series' first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. "I thought of all the magical things Harry saw and experienced and put myself in his shoes and picked the things that I could pull off in a classroom," she said. Stephens ordered signs from Etsy, stuffed animals and fabrics from a variety of websites and used a free font download to put together more quotes and classroom labels.
She also persuaded her artist sister to paint her "Mrs. Stephens' Room" board. Once she had all the items and fabrics, it took the teacher "four days or so" to pull it all together, she said. Eventually, she plans to add a broom and Mirror of Erised to the classroom.
In total, Stephens paid between $400 and $500 dollars of her own money for all the classroom decor. "I chose to go with the Harry Potter theme because if I am excited and enthusiastic, students tend to follow suit," she told HuffPost. "My goal is to help students find at least one book or genre that they can find exciting and be as enthusiastic about as I am regarding Harry Potter."
When the first day of school arrived on August 20th, some students were confused because they were unfamiliar with Harry Potter. But, Stephens added, "Most were excited and were immediately drawn into the class and the fun activities that are planned for the year!"
"Their favorite part of the entire classroom are the potions," she continued. "They love playing with them while waiting for class to start."
Stephens husband shared photos of his wife's Potterific classroom on Reddit, where they've been viewed over 22,000 times. The teacher wants people who see the photos of her classroom to feel inspired to read or do something creative.
"My hope is to bring magic back into people's hearts," she said. "The Harry Potter generation is growing up, and sometimes, returning to our younger selves can inspire us to pick up a book or share a piece of our past with others around us."
Keep scrolling for more photos of Stephens' awesome Harry Potter-themed classroom.
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