Friday, November 20, 2015

Harry Potter Camp: The Sorting Ceremony

At my YALSA Symposium presentation I told attendees that I would make sure to put up all of my Harry Potter Camp materials on the blog. I'd been meaning to it anyway, so this is a perfect opportunity to get my butt in gear. Instead of just dumping everything, I thought it might be helpful to do a series of posts on the various activities and link to them on the Harry Potter Camp tab that I've added on the main page. On that page you can also find some background info. and logistics about my camp.

The Sorting Ceremony is a simple and essential part of any Harry Potter program. It's the very first thing that happens when new students arrive at Hogwarts and serves to simultaneously divide the larger group into separate teams and unite the individuals in the same house. Many fans will come into your Harry Potter event already identifying with a particular house either because they've taken the test on Pottermore or because they just know, deep inside, which house they would be sorted into if ever the chance to attend Hogwarts arrived. If it doesn't matter which house they are headed to, you can have them "sign up" for houses in advance. If, like me, you want to divide the kids evenly, just let them know ahead of time that the hat may sort them into a house that isn't the one in their heart, and that they shouldn't get upset or concerned. They can continue to be a Hufflepuff in their heart, even if they pull a slip of paper that says "Slytherin"...but for the duration of your program, they'll be a Slytherin. Expect tears. Give comfort and assurance.

(When available, I've linked to the items I purchased)
  • Sorting Hat
  • Stool
  • Mini Bluetooth Speaker (connected to your phone)
  • Sorting Song
  • Plastic Cauldron
  • Slips of Paper w/House Names (Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, Slytherin and Hufflepuff) OR Temporary Tattoos w/House Crests (enough for 1 for each person, divided as evenly as possible between the four houses)
Set Up:
It's so simple! Grab a stool. Put the small bluetooth speaker stop the stool. Cover the stool with a Sorting Hat. Write the house names on slips of paper and drop them into the cauldron.

Gather the kids around. Play the Sorting Song (I used this one, which is a snippet from one of the audiobooks, narrated by Jim Dale. Each time the hat sings, it's a different song, so feel free to make up your own or record one from a different book!). Then, one at a time, have kids sit on the stool with the hat atop their head. As they sit on the stool, have them close their eyes and reach into the cauldron to take a slip of paper. Read aloud (with enthusiasm!) the house into which they've been sorted.

Once everyone is sorted, the real fun can begin!

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