The Empty Classroom

You wouldn't know by looking at it, but this is a magical place! From the moment I saw the building plans, I began dreaming about what I was going to do with this exciting blank canvas. My plotting began in June. The theme was obvious, Hogwarts.

I have loved the Harry Potter books since I first discovered them when I was in high school. I went through college reading each book as it came out. Later, I forced my husband to dress as Ron and accompany me to the midnight release party for the Deathly Hallows. I have always included elements of J.K. Rowling's fantasy world into my classroom, but this was my chance to do it right!

Platform 9 3/4

Welcome to
 Hogwarts International School 
for Muggles! 

Hogwarts Express
I used my projector to trace the train onto black bulletin board paper. I then painted the details and printed off the Hogwarts Express Label from (thanks Barneyrfd). I used a Ferrero Rocher gold wrapper for the light on the front of the train. Finally, I glued the train onto a big piece of flat cardboard to make it more sturdy and durable. Since we just moved into a new building, cardboard was in plentiful supply!

Platform 9 3/4
The Hogwarts Express 

I know what you're thinking. And yes, everyone keeps trying to run through the brick wall. 

Extendable Ears

I used two rubber ears and some wire to make my own extendable ears. I saw something like this when I visited Zonko's at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter this past summer. I figured it would be a fun detail and a way to remind students in the hall that we can hear them.

The Walls
Have Ears!

The Owlery

My challenge was to make my brand new classroom feel like it belonged in a gothic style castle. 

Don't you love the keys? My director came and put up the classroom key in case of a lockdown. The fact that I already had flying keys above the door worked out perfectly. The new key just became one of the many.


Students who choose to buy an owl, keep them in our school owlery. Every student has their own mailbox. The Owl Post workers are in charge of sorting the mail from the outgoing box. 

The giant pendulum is from the Hogwarts Clock Tower. I also posted the Hogwarts school song, my version of the Sorting Hat song, and a description of traits and information for the three houses. 

I made sure to include envelopes and stamps at the Owl Post for the students to use. I also included a few extra details like two of Harry's Hogwarts acceptance letters and a Kwikspell Correspondence course letter addressed to Filch. If you open the envelopes the letters are all there. I love to leave little details for my students to eventually discover. 

The Great Hall

 The Sorting Hat

The hat talked...or at least appeared to. I used a text to speech program online that had a British accent, which sounded very similar to Sorting Hat in the movie. I wrote a custom messages for each of my students and then recorded it with my iphone. During the sorting, I held the phone behind the hat. Then I just clicked on the student's name, and the hat would talk and sort them. I even had the hat sing a special welcome song before the sorting! 

Example Sorting Messages:

Ah…you have a clever mind…plenty of courage too I see…and you love a challenge…you are a tough one…let me see…you want to go where? Are you sure? I think I know best… I am a hat after all …and I see it plainly all here in your head… You will do well in Hippogriff!

Ah...I see...creative and clever... but athletic and resourceful too...I see you have a need to explore and take risk...well I know just what to do with a mind like that...better be Phoenix!

Now don’t worry…I have a mouth..but I don’t bite…let’s have a look in your head…I see…I see… well…This is easy…you’ll do well in Dragons!

I divided the classroom into seven different sections. Each section represents a different location. The Great Hall, the Owlery, Herbology/Care of Magical Creatures, the Library, Headmaster's Office, Common Room, and Diagon Alley. Each blog post will highlight a different location in the classroom.

The main seating area represents the Great Hall. 

I keep track of the house point on the whiteboard. 

For the ceiling, I made 60 floating candles and hung them up in rows with fishing line. I used yellow construction paper and covered the flame with glitter. It came out very nice if I do say so myself.

Since this is Hogwarts International School for Muggles, our houses are different. We have three houses at our Hogwarts. The houses are Dragons, Phoenix, and Hippogriffs. Each house has their own personality traits that are most valued. The sorting hat took each student's personality into consideration when sorting them into their houses.

The pixies came out better than I expected. I found some pixie pictures online and added blue wings to them. When I hung them on the wall, I bent their arms, legs, and wings out a bit. Now when the heat or air conditioner comes on, they flutter about and look like they are moving.

This is the jobs board. Every student in my class has a job. The jobs change once a month. If the students do their jobs well, they can earn galleons to spend in Diagon Alley. My students love having a way to earn galleons. Everyone's favorite job is Prefect, because Prefects are allowed to take up to 5 points if they see any rule breaking. So far, the prefects have done a wonderful job not abusing their power and this has taught them that being in charge isn't always easy.

If anything bad happens in the room, we blame it on Peeves.

Herbology & Care of Magical Creatures



 Care of Magical Creatures

I made a collage of pages from the book, Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairy Book. 

The blast-ended skrewts escaped!

The Library

Of all of the details I added to my classroom, I am most proud of the windows. Almost everything else in my classroom was created or thought of by someone else. This is something I can take complete credit for. I researched Gothic architecture to come up with design. All it is, is black construction paper glued to the window. That's it! The view is gorgeous isn't it? In the afternoon, shepherds bring cows and flocks of sheep to graze on the hill. I actually chose this specific classroom because of the view. 
Can you spot the Weasley's flying car? It's next to the stained glass window of a mermaid from the Prefect's bathroom.
Here is another Gothic window design.
A peek at the rest of the room.

The Restricted Section
The book covers were all created by members of As are almost all of the props I used around the classroom. I want to thank all of them for helping me to create such a special classroom for my students. As we read the Harry Potter series in class, my students love to find things mentioned in the books hidden around the room.

During our first week in the new classroom, I turned our science class into potions class. Each day the students were given a recipe to follow and a supply of ingredients. They experimented with density columns, made flubber, and homemade bouncy balls. The classroom really felt like potions class. The recipes were difficult and if they didn't follow them correctly, their "potion" didn't turn out so well. I awarded house points to the students who were able to get the best results.