Students will learn how Latin and Classical Mythology are used in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series through an in-depth study of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Melissa Travis is a Classicist with a B.A. in Latin from Tulane University. She studied at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome, Italy. Ms. Travis has tutored and taught Latin for almost 25 years. Her experiences in teaching range from the inner-city schools in New Orleans and Atlanta to private and charter schools in North Carolina. Melissa has also taught all grade levels in the public school system. She has also been a teaching assistant in Latin and Greek for the Center for Talented Youth. Ms. Travis enjoys teaching students who want to learn about the present and future from studying the past. Her hobbies include reading, arts and crafts, cooking, and digital art. When she is not teaching, she enjoys spending time with her family and cat named Cleopatra. Ms. Travis is very excited to be working with GHF.
In Latin in Harry Potter, we will begin the course by looking at the character traits which determine the Sorting Hat’s decision in assigning Houses to Hogwart’s students. We will learn whether it is better to have different character traits in a group or all the same. This will be followed by a brief lesson in the Hero’s Quest upon which Harry Potter embarks (specifically in Books 1 and 2). From here we will learn why characters are given names from Latin and Classical Mythology before delving into the world of Mythical Beasts. One class will be solely devoted to spells in Latin and their meaning. Finally, we will test our knowledge of Latin in Harry Potter by having a Kahoot! Competition for the House Cup. Over our 8 weeks of classes, students will gain a deeper understanding of the Classical roots of the Harry Potter Series and appreciate the work of literature as a gateway to learning Latin.
Like most students who love to read, teachers became engrossed in the Harry Potter Series as soon as it came into print. However, as Latin majors in college, we had the unique opportunity to digest the book and appreciate it for all of its Classical allusions. Classicists see Harry Potter as a classic epic of modern literature and enjoy using it as a medium to teach students about the language and culture which we love so dearly. By teaching this class, we hope to create lifelong learners who will enjoy literature not as a simple reader but as an analyst who sees the whole picture which the author is trying to portray.
Sample Course Outline
Before entering into Latin in Harry Potter. students should have read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. If a student is interested in the class and has only seen the movies, please contact the instructor for further information. Ms. Travis is happy to accept enthusiastic students.
- Class 1 : The Sorting Hat – Discussion of Houses at Hogwarts, character traits, and recognizing the importance of diversity in a group
- Class 2: The Hero’s Quest – Students will learn the cycle that a hero must go through in literature and how it applies to Harry Potter himself
- Class 3: Latin Names in Harry Potter – The class will discuss characters in Harry Potter which have names in Latin. Students will learn why a character is described a certain way and how their names adds to the character development.
- Class 4: Mythological/ Historical Names in Harry Potter – Students will learn how characters traits are determined by the mythological or historical stories from which they receive their names.
- Class 5: Mythical Monsters as portrayed in Harry Potter – Students will learn which monsters have a classical origin in Harry Potter while learning the difference between good and evil as represented in art.
- Class 6: Mythical Monsters as portrayed in Classical Mythology – The class will discuss the differences between J.K. Rowling’s monsters and their descriptions in Classical Mythology. Students will create their own depictions of Classical monsters and compare them to J.K. Rowling’s description.
- Class 7: Latin Spells in Harry Potter – Students will learn which spells in Harry Potter come from Latin and their meanings. We will discuss why Latin is used for spells in the books and movies, the grammatical patterns used for spells, and how to create our own spells in Latin.
- Class 8: The House Cup – Students will compete in an online game of Kahoot! In order to determine who can answer questions about Latin in Harry Potter the fastest. Each person will gain a point for a correct answer. Finally, they will discuss the pros and cons of learning Latin and whether Latin in dead in the modern world or seeing a rejuvenation.
Latin in Harry Potter is offered Summer 2019.