“ J. K. Rowling always said that the seventh Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, would be the last in the series, and so far she has kept to her word… And now comes Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a play in two full-length parts that begins previews in London on Tuesday, June 7, opens July 30 and is being advertised as the official ‘eighth’ story in the Harry Potter canon.” S. Lyall, The New York Times
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key
“ Set 19 years after the events of Deathly Hallows, the play imagines Harry as an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic and focuses on his middle child, Albus Severus, and his struggle to come to terms with his family’s legacy.
No one who remembers the frenzy surrounding the publication of each of the Potter books would be surprised to learn there is now a frenzy surrounding this play and all the details around it, like the disclosure that a black actress, Noma Dumezweni, is portraying Hermione.
The news has been released slowly — Ms. Rowling is a master of controlled publicity — and on Tuesday cast photos of a grown-up Harry (Jamie Parker) and Ginny Potter (Poppy Miller), along with Albus (Sam Clemmett), were unveiled on the Pottermore website.
Performances, at least for the first of the two parts, are sold out through May 2017. Secondary-market tickets to the first preview are selling for as much as 4,000 pounds (nearly $5,800). And the play’s script — by Ms. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, who is also the director — is No. 1 on the Amazon best-seller list, despite the fact that it won’t be published until July 31, Harry Potter’s birthday.
If that wasn’t enough, next fall comes Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a movie that is both a spinoff and a kind of prequel. Written by Ms. Rowling (who did not write the screenplays for the eight Potter movies), it is very loosely based on her book of the same name. That volume was a fictional wizarding-school textbook; the film takes its supposed author, Newt Scamander, sends him back many years to when he was a young man, and transports him to America.
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The movie, starring Eddie Redmayne, is expected to be the first of a trilogy.
Indeed, all this new material is proving very exciting to very many Potter fans. They can’t get enough. The “Dumbledore is gay” revelation, in 2007, became a major world news event. And now, even the smallest snippet of information about the play — the introduction of hand-carved sconces for each of the Hogwarts houses and of new wand designs, for instance — sends the internet into ecstasy. Clearly Ms. Rowling has not wanted to put Harry Potter behind her.”
IN MEMORY OF THE GREATEST
“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. His hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see.” ~Muhammad Ali~
NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.
Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.
Time: Approximately 2 hours.
Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.
Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.
I. Pre-Reading Activities
Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos
Directions: Have students examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. After they examine the photos, ask students to create a list of words and ideas that they think might be related to this article.
II. While Reading Activities
Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.
- Ms. Rowling continues her immersion in Potter-world.
- She has regularly interjected new elements into the old stories.
- She also regularly produces fresh ancillary material.
- There is now a frenzy surrounding this play.
- Ms. Rowling is a master of controlled publicity.
- Fantastic Beasts is both a spinoff and a kind of prequel.
- The movie is expected to be the first of a trilogy.
- The film transports Newt Scamander back many years to America.
- It’s an interesting dilemma for an author.
- She created an elaborate world over many volumes.
Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.
Both Philip Pullman, author/Arthur of the “Dark Materials” series, and Stephenie Meyer, author of the “Twilight” cereals/series, have spoken/speaking about farther/further books to come, years after those stories were apparently/apparent put to rest. On the other extreme/extremes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle grew so weary/worry of Sherlock Holmes that he killed/kilt him off, only to reassure/resurrect him years later in response to widespread public unhappiness.
Grammar Focus: Prepositions
Directions: The following sentences are from the news article. For each sentence choose the correct preposition from the choices listed. Note that not all prepositions listed are in the article.
Prepositions List: in, for, of, with, by, on, at, to, as, into, across, around, over, through, from, during, up, off,
What’s an author ___do when she once seemed ___be done?
Performances, ___least ___the first___ the two parts are sold out.
Author___ the “Shiver” and “Raven” series, spoke___ the temptation ___revisit characters she thought she had finished___.
Characters ___unfinished business inveigle themselves___his head, he said___ a telephone interview.
III. Post Reading Activities
Directions: Have students use the WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.
Who or What is the article about?
Where does the action/event take place?
When does the action/event take place?
Why did the action/event occur?
How did the action/event occur?
Directions: Place students in groups and have them discuss the following statements. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the following topics.
- “With a new set of movies on the horizon, some fans worry that Ms. Rowling will make the same mistake that George Lucas did after the three original Star Wars films, producing inferior work that detracts from the brilliance of the original.”
- Have each group compose a letter or note to a person mentioned in the article telling her/him their thoughts on the topic. Share the letters as a class.
1-Minute Free Writing Exercise
Directions: Allow students 1 minute to write down one new idea they’ve learned from the reading. Ask them to write down one thing they did not understand in the reading. Review the responses as a class. Note: For the lower levels allow more time for this writing activity.