I hadn’t planned to neglect this blog all summer, but I had a hysterectomy in June, and the recovery took longer than I’d anticipated. (In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have based my expectations on how fast the dog bounced back after being spayed. Her biomechanics aren’t quite the same as mine.)
Anyway, I’m fine now and have spent the past couple of weeks working like mad to prepare for the new school year.
One new tool I’m making for my classroom is a Muggle variant on the Marauder’s Map from the Harry Potter books to help me keep track of where students are headed when they leave the room. This should be especially helpful in journalism, where I frequently have five or six kids out interviewing sources at the same time.
In J.K. Rowling’s books, the Marauder’s Map is a detailed diagram of Hogwarts — the magical boarding school Harry Potter and his friends attend — charmed to show the location of everybody on campus. Little drawings of parchment scrolls with people’s names on them move around the map, telling the user where everybody is in real time.
My version isn’t quite so intrusive, but it’s practical: I drew a map of our campus and a collection of little scroll-shaped icons with students’ names on them. I’ll laminate everything, stick the map on the blackboard, and attach the icons to magnets.
When students leave the room, they will be responsible for moving their magnets to their intended destinations, allowing me to keep track of their whereabouts at a glance.
I drew my map by hand, but if you’re not confident about your artistic abilities, you could just enlarge your school’s fire-drill map on the copier and dress it up by printing out high-res images of the Marauder’s Map logo and the appropriate incantations (“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good” and “Mischief Managed”) and pasting them in the empty spaces around the buildings.