A getting to know you ESL lesson plan based on Harry Potter sorting hat songs

In this activity, students do a couple of hard listenings to get the main traits (some of which will be new vocab words) of each Hogwart’s House. Then they compose interview questions and finally interview one or more classmates in order to sort them into houses. It’s a kind of getting to know you activity so I remind students to keep it friendly. Going into Slytherin doesn’t make some evil – it makes them ambitious. Not getting into Ravenclaw doesn’t mean someone’s stupid. It just means that the interviewer was more impressed by their courage (Gryffindor), work ethic (Hufflepuff) or whatever. This is pretty much the same as this Harry Potter ESL lesson plan but I’ve added the videos and maybe rephrased some things.

Warmer: Show students the following clip.

The sorting hat scene starts around 1:20. It doesn’t actually have the song that was in the book though.

Listening 1. I read the one from the first Harry Potter book. Students take the following words / phrases and match them to one of the 4 houses: brave, just, wit, unafraid of toil, wise, chivalry, a ready mind, cunning, daring, loyal, nerve, patient, true, use any means to achieve their ends, learning.

Sorting Hat Song – Year One

Oh, you may not think I’m pretty,

But don’t judge on what you see,

I’ll eat myself if you can find

A smarter hat than me.

You can keep your bowlers black,

Your top hats sleek and tall,

For I’m the Hogwarts Sorting Hat

And I can cap them all.

There’s nothing hidden in your head

The Sorting Hat can’t see,

So try me on and I will tell you

Where you ought to be.

You might belong in Gryffindor,

Where dwell the brave at heart,

Their daring, nerve, and chivalry

Set Gryffindors apart;

You might belong in Hufflepuff,

Where they are just and loyal,

Those patient Hufflepuffs are true,

And unafraid of toil;

Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,

If you’ve a ready mind,

Where those of wit and learning,

Will always find their kind;

Or perhaps in Slytherin

You’ll make your real friends,

Those cunning folk use any means

To achieve their ends;

So put me on! Don’t be afraid!

And don’t get in a flap!

You’re in safe hands (though I have none)

For I’m a Thinking Cap!

This one has the second listening I do – from the Goblet of Fire novel. Students match the following:

Gryffindor was… sweet

Ravenclaw was… shrewd

Hufflepuff was… bold

Slytherin was… fair

Gryffindor liked… students with great ambition

Ravenclaw liked… the bravest students

Hufflepuff liked… the cleverest students

Slytherin liked… hard workers

And the lyrics:

Sorting Hat Song – Year Four

A thousand years or more ago,

When I was newly sewn,

There lived four wizards of renown,

Whose names are still well known:

Bold Gryffindor, from wild moor,

Fair Ravenclaw, from glen,

Sweet Hufflepuff, from valley broad,

Shrewd Slytherin, from fen.

They shared a wish, a hope, a dream,

They hatched a daring plan

to educate young sorcerers

Thus Hogwarts School Began.

Now each of these four founders,

Formed their own house, for each,

Did value different virtues

In the ones they had to teach.

By Gryffindor, the bravest were,

Where they are just and loyal

Prized far beyind the rest;

For Ravenclaw, the cleverest

Would always be the best;

For Hufflepuff, hard workers were

Most worthy of admission;

And power-hungry Slytherin

Loved those of great ambition.

While still alive they did divide

Their favorites from the throng,

Yet how to pick the worthy ones

When they were dead and gone?

‘Twas Gryffindor who found the way,

He whipped me off his head

The founders put some brains in me

So I could choose instead!

Now slip me snug about your ears,

I’ve never yet been wrong,

I’ll have a look inside your brain

And see where you belong!

The song from the 5th book is not really suitable if you ask me – it doesn’t really mention the traits this lesson plan is based on.

Filed Under: syllabus & materials design

About the Author

Comments are closed.