A web site for the developing language teacher

Lesson plan to accompany the December 2001 Newsletter

Materials with kind permission from the web site

For a Word version

Save Harry

The material from the site is presented here as an hour & a half lesson plan. There is a lot more on the site that you could use, as well as a lot of other related sites - health sites, Coca Cola & Mc Donalds etc, & it could easily develop into a project about junk foods.

Preliminary information

Time: 1 1/2 hours??

Level: Intermediate upwards

To give extensive & intensive reading - stages 2 & 3
To focus on .... see stage 4 - depends on the group.
To give short letter writing practice - stage 6
To give freer speaking practice
- stages 1, 5 & 7

That the stds will be interested in Harry Potter & consumerism.
That the language in the text will not be too difficult.

Anticipated Problems and Solutions:
Some of the vocabulary may be challenging >> pre-teach essential items.

Text from the web site, with kind permission.
Comprehension check task.
Letter examples from the site
Role cards


Save Harry banner


Stage 1 - Warmer - Harry Potter

10 mins tch<>stds, std<>std, tch<>stds

1. Those that have read HP tell partners what it's about. If all have read some then they talk about their favourite bits.
2. Feedback - you could ask: seen the film? better than the book? as you imagined it when reading the book?
3. Ask if anyone has noticed who is promoting the film - Coca Cola - what do they think about this?

Alternatively you could lead in though Coca Cola & drinks, brainstorming different drinks & vocab connected to Coca Cola - at the same time introducing the CC related vocab in the text: cans, soft drink, gulp, ...Then you could get the stds thinking about what the link between CC & Harry Potter could be.

Stage 2 - Extensive reading

5-10 mins tch<>stds, std<>std

1. Set the task with a time limit of 2 minutes - stds read & find out:

- Why should we save Harry?

2. Handout texts
3. Stds compare ideas.
4. Feedback

Stage 3 - More intensive reading

10 mins tch<>stds, std<>std

1. Set the task & handout the comp. check.
2. Stds read & answer the questions individually.
3. Stds compare answers.
4. General feedback - pick up on any problems they may have & ask further questions.

Comprehension check

1. What are the names of the Harry Potter film? Why do you think they changed the name for the US?
2. Look quickly over the text to see what the following numbers refer to:

1.6 billion
4.1 billion
2.17 billion

3. According to the article, what are some of the effects of drinking Coca Cola?
4. Why is the company lucky to get Harry Potter now?
5. Who else is being used to promote Coca Cola?
6. How do you think the company is going to bring the drink to your kitchen sink?
7. Why do 'we lose with every gulp' - in the last line?

Stage 4 - Language focus

10-15 mins tch<>stds, std<>std

This is left up to you as it does depend on the group you are teaching & what you have been looking at recently. There are several points you could focus on in the text - tenses, vocabulary, discourse - see the problem section that talks of the dangers of the drink: causes, is likely to, promote, increase the risk of etc,
1. Ask the stds to underline all examples of the area.
2. Stds compare ideas.
3. Feedback - elicit the examples & any useful rules there might be.
4. A practice activity - this could be a written exercises to consolidate.
Could you tie it in with the coming stages in the lesson? - the cause & effect language could be brought into the letter writing.

Stage 5 - Response to the text

5-10 mins tch<>stds, std<>std

1. Stds in pairs discuss their opinions of the Save Harry campaign.
2. Pairs up pairs into groups of four to see if they have different ideas.
3. Feedback & general class discussion.

Stage 6 - Letter writing preparation

15-20 mins tch<>stds, std<>std

1. Introduce the idea of writing to the author, complaining about the CC campaign - would they write a letter?
2. Handout letters - see below - & ask them to read them & decide who is writing each & what reasons are given. They could do this in pairs.
3. Feedback & focus on the language in the text that expresses disappointment:

I was totally disappointed to hear that
It saddens me
It saddens me that it comes down to
I am very disappointed to learn that
I sincerely wish you had not

Get the stds to underline examples in the text, elicit what they are & look at the form. You could add in some more disappointment exponents:

I am upset to hear that
I was shocked to hear that

4. Elicit the general format to the letters:
positive expression about the books > expression of disappointment about Coca Cola with reasons given > expressions of hope that the situation will change.
5. Stds write their own letters to the author. Monitor & help out - encourage them to use one or two of the disappointment expressions.
6. Stds swap their letters & they correct each others. Hand back & they discuss the corrections.
7. Put the letters on the walls & all of the stds wander round reading them. They could vote for the most interesting, most effective, most disappointed...
8. Take in the letters to look at later - comment on each & hand back the next lesson. If the stds are very motivated by the theme, they could write a final version & send it off to the author!

Letters taken from the web site

Dear Ms. Rowling,

I am a fourteen-year-old Harry fan. I worship Harry and was looking forward to the movie to come out, but unfortunately I was totally disappointed to hear that soft drinks was involved, encouraging children to drink Coca-Cola. ... Drinking too much soft drinks would cause obesity, and destroy our health. So I would love to see the true Harry, but not "Harry on sell."

Carmen T.,
Hong Kong

Dear Ms. Rowling,

It saddens me that Harry Potter is now in cahoots with Coca-Cola. When you said you were not going to get into all that endorsement frenzy I was thrilled. It seemed that there was someone with ethics and thinking beyond the almighty dollar... It saddens me that it comes down to money rather then what is right and better for society. Harry Potter was such a gift to children and it sounds like it is now about big bucks.

Sarah W.

Dear Ms. Rowling,

Hello! I am very disappointed to learn that Coke has bought the sole worldwide marketing rights to the first Harry Potter film. I feel that your books have done so much good for children, and they are so impressionable. This is very much like giving your personal endorsement to Coke! Children need our protection until they are old and wise enough to form intelligent decisions. I hope this decision is somehow reversible, and that you would consider making some kind of change in this respect.

Susan A.
Toronto, Ontario

Dear Ms. Rowling,

I am 37. My daughter is 12. My sons are 11 and 8. We love, adore, worship Harry Potter. We've read all the books together-out loud and individually, alone. You have an amazing mind. I sincerely wish you had not sold out to Coca-Cola. As much as I love Diet Coke, I try to keep my kids away from soda and they already argue with me on that point. With Harry supporting Coke, you've just made my job as a parent much harder.

Colleen K.

Dear Ms. Rowling,

Your books have done a great deal of good for my nephew and many other children. I enjoy them myself. It would be a shame to offset this contribution to society by indirectly promoting the consumption of Coca-Cola, a drink full of sugar and without nutritional benefits. ... As a published author, I know how difficult it is to be successful in book writing. But I hope that the children that have made your books a success will not be betrayed.

Thomas S.

Stage 7 - Roleplay

15 mins tch<>stds, std<>std, tch<>stds

1. Introduce the idea of the roleplay in groups of three - a fan, the author & a representative from Coca Cola, scientist against the drink's harmful effects.
Hand out the role cards - see below. Go round & check all are OK on their roles. Give them a few minutes to think of what they might say - encourage them to take some notes.
3. Roleplay - go round, listen in & take notes on +/- language output.
4. Content feedback - ask if they have resolved anything - what arguments were put forward etc.
5. Linguistic feedback - on the board put some good examples of language use & some problem examples - ask the stds to decide which were the good & which the not correct. Praise for the good ones & elicit the corrections for the wrong utterances.

You are the author of Harry Potter, JK Rowling. You agree that it is a shame that Coca Cola have the rights to the film but you feel the film will reach more people if a company the size of Coca Cola promotes it. You have recently bought a castle in Scotland with the money but you don't really want to mention this - it could be embarrassing.
You are a big fan of the Harry Potter books & the film. You are very disappointed that the author has given the promotion rights to Coca Cola. You have children who are fans of the books. You have heard a rumour that the author has just bought a castle in Scotland with the money from Coca Cola.
You are a representative of Coca Cola. You feel that the author has every right to choose who she wants to promote the film. Coca Cola is a responsible company & invests a lot of money in many charities, including children's ones. You feel that Coca Cola is no more harmful than milk.
You are a scientist who has been researching the effects of Coca Cola on children. You are shocked at what goes into the drink & feel that Coca Cola is public enemy number one. You have lots of data to prove your points.

Save Harry


On November 16, 2001, Warner Brothers will release in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada the first movie based on the "Harry Potter" books. In the days, weeks, and months that follow, the movie will open in over 50 countries. (Check out the schedule of opening dates to see when it opens near you.)
Coca-Cola is paying Warner Brothers an estimated $150 million for exclusive global marketing rights for the first film, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." (It will be called "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" in some countries outside the U.S.) Author J. K. Rowling reportedly is receiving $15 million as part of the deal. (Read their press release.)

Coca-Cola will feature "Harry Potter" on packaging and in advertising of its carbonated and noncarbonated soft drinks. Rowling is not allowing depictions of Harry drinking Coca-Cola products, and Coca-Cola says that literacy programs, including donations to Reading Is Fundamental, will be part of its marketing program.

But the bottom line is that books adored by children (and adults!) around the world are being used to sell more junk food!


Soft drinks are junk foods.
The typical 12-ounce (360 ml) soft drink contains 150 calories and 10 teaspoons (40 grams) of refined sugars. Americans gulp down more soda pop than anyone else. Consumption has doubled over the past 30 years, with companies now producing an average of almost 600 cans per year for every man, woman and child!

Increasing scientific evidence shows that soft drinks have helped fuel the obesity epidemic (twice as many American youths are overweight or obese now than 20 years ago). In many other countries, too, people are consuming more soft drinks, and obesity is a growing problem. Read what top scientists have to say about the link between obesity and soft drinks.

Obesity causes major social and psychological problems. It also increases the risks of such deadly diseases as diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease. Drinking a lot of soda pop is likely to replace more healthful beverages - such as water, fruit juice, and lowfat milk - and thereby increase the risks of osteoporosis (brittle-bone disease) and cancer. Finally, sugary soft drinks promote tooth decay.

Coca-Cola: Big Money for Empty Calories
The Coca Cola Co. and other soft-drink makers spend enormous sums to promote their products. Over the past decade in the United States, for instance, soft-drink companies have spent about $6 billion on advertising.

In 1999, Coca-Cola spent $511 million on promotional activities on top of $355 million in advertising. That same year, Coca-Cola spent $1.6 billion on marketing worldwide. Source: Advertising Age, September 2000; February 1999. Such promotions are not challenged by health campaigns mounted by government health agencies or nonprofit organizations/NGOs. Those agencies should sponsor major campaigns to promote healthful foods and criticize junkier ones.

Despite all the money being spent on advertising, Coca-Cola Co.'s profits are down - Coca-Cola Co. made $4.1 billion worldwide in 1997, but in 2000 profits declined to $2.17 billion. Even so, Chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola, Douglas "You-Know-Who" Daft, who made $92 million in total compensation last year, promised an aggressive advertising campaign to help push Coca-Cola consumption and profits higher once again. He signed up Christina Aguilera, Jakob Dylan of the Wallflowers, Disney characters, and our beloved "Harry Potter" to help him make Coca-Cola the "preferred beverage" around the world. He has even said the company is researching how to bring Coke products to your kitchen sink, so you could fill up a glass any time you wanted!

All that to sell a product where we lose with every gulp!

Harry needs your help


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