Open Source Diagon Alley

It’s Open Source Template Tuesday! Expelliarmus, Sleepy Lectures!


Hi! If you’re new to the blog, welcome! I’m John. And I’m the author of EDrenaline Rush: Game-Changing Student Engagement Inspired by Theme Parks, Mud Runs, and Escape Rooms, a new book from Dave Burgess Consulting. I am RIDICULOUSLY EXCITED to share it with the world! And I truly believe that enthusiasm is infectious — so I love sharing lesson plans, classroom activity walkthroughs, and open source slideshow templates on this site whenever I get the chance.

Because great pedagogy isn’t relegated to any particular subject area. And we don’t teach content. We teach people.

I have a bunch of templates available on this site, and I wholeheartedly encourage you to adapt them to suit the unique needs of your classroom! Regardless of age, content area, or skill level — it is my sincere belief that, in the hands of a great teacher (that’s YOU!), a creative teaching tool or technique can be a total game-changer for any classroom.

So here’s where you come in!

Each week here on the blog, we celebrate OPEN SOURCE TEMPLATE TUESDAY in an effort to help readers get a clearer sense of how adapting shared templates from this site can be super helpful in saving teachers time, effort, and frustration.

Here’s how it works:

  1. For each OPEN SOURCE TEMPLATE TUESDAY, I’ll feature a guest blog from a fellow teacher who’s adapted one of the resources available on this site and used it to change the game in their classroom! I’ll also post an original copy of the template that inspired their lesson so you can see its life cycle in action.
  2. We’ll also feature a guest blog entry from the teacher who adapted each template in their classroom. This is their chance to talk about the tweaks, adjustments, and modifications that they decided to make to the original resource in order to help it be a neater fit in their classroom. It might also help inspire you to take their template (or the original) for a spin in your school! Click any of the links below or check out their Twitter handle to connect further!
  3. In the spirit of OPEN SOURCE TEMPLATES, everything that you’ll see in one of these guest blogs is designed to be shared, customized, and adapted for use in your classroom! Steel sharpens steel, right? And by paying it forward to fellow educators around the globe, the rising tide of #EDrenaline can truly lift all ships — inspiring untold ripple effects of teacher creativity and student engagement around the globe.


The Original Resource:
Gamified Course Syllabus

Today’s Guest Blogger:
Crystal Samuels (@crys_samuels), a digital Communications teacher in Delaware.

The Open Source Template Tuesday Transformation:
Ms. Samuels changed the game in her digital communications course by adding some muggle magic to the default Wild West themed course syllabus I had posted on this site. In the process, she whipped up a wizarding take on a day one classroom welcome activity!


One of the challenges of teaching is the dreaded beginning of the year overview of the course syllabus, getting classroom contracts signed, reviewing classroom rules and expectations. I feel like I spend a lot of time talking at the students the first few days of class, instead of engaging the students in the material. From the start, this sends the wrong message to the students. The students have the perception that my classroom is a dictatorship, and students need to sit and listen but not actively engage in their own learning.

In September, I was on Twitter, and came across John Meehan’s gamified approach to kicking off a year-long course called “Dream Rush.” One thing that really resonated with me is how he turned his introduction to his entire classroom into a game. After coming across John’s “Dream Rush” game, I realized that I can turn my introduction to the course into an interactive game where students can actively engage with the materials, and have fun learning the ropes of the classroom. John posted a template on Twitter which was really easy to work with.

HP characters

Since I am a huge Harry Potter fan, I decided to choose a theme that best fit for me and my students. I decided to choose Diagon Alley as it fit the theme of the students gathering materials to prepare for the long journey of Graphic Design class. Changing the slides was easy, as simple as changing out pictures. I also changed the character selection board to be more “Harry Potter.” For the stations themselves, I used Catlin Tucker’s Digital Citizenship unit from her book “Blended Learning,” and made stations that represented one of the key components of Digital Citizenship.


Students had a lot of fun while competing in these challenges, and I was able to teach the Digital Citizenship course in one day while students creatively figured out challenges. This has totally transformed the culture of my classroom. Students are now empowered to think for themselves, and more importantly, work as a team to resolve issues. After playing this game in my classroom, I observed students developing friendships across different cultures and working together to help each other figure things out by themselves.

Click here to check out the complete Diagon Alley template and save a copy of your own!

Author: John

John Meehan (@MeehanEDU) is an English teacher and school instructional coach at Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, Virginia. He began his teaching career in 2010 as a career switcher through The New Teacher Project, after spending five years working in social media and event marketing. He is a 2017 ASCD Emerging Leader, and an alumnus of the 2016-2018 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Teacher Advisory Council. In 2016, he was named one of Arlington, Virginia’s “40 Under 40” by the Leadership Center for Excellence. He is a past presenter and regular attendee at educational conferences throughout the United States, including the annual conference for National Catholic Education Association, ASCD Empower19, and the Play Like a Champion Today: Character Education Through Sports summer conference at the University of Notre Dame. He’s an avid runner who’s completed more than three dozen marathons, half marathons, long-distance road relays, mud runs, and obstacle course races. John lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.

2 thoughts

  1. Thank you so much for sharing. You have really inspired me this past year and reignited my passion for teaching. The linked ressource (Diagon Alley) is “view-only” in the sharing setting 😉

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