Alabama elementary school adopts Harry Potter-inspired house system

Students are divided into four houses at Winfield Elementary. Igis is red. Imperium is green. Renovare is blue and Sapiente is yellow. (Photo by Wendell Edwards)

WINFIELD, Ala. (WBMA) - As soon as you step into Winfield Elementary School, you can’t help but notice the reference to all things Harry Potter — right down to the house system straight out Hogwarts.

Teachers adopted the same idea here. All students in grades kindergarten through fourth grade are divided into four different houses.

Lauren Trull, who teaches fourth grade science and social studies, first heard of the idea when she visited the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta .

"I wanted to share it," Trull said. "My co-workers went. And we all decided we've got to do it."

And so they did.

Here's how they made it work.

Instead of a magical sorting hat, the students are sorted by spinning this wheel with four different colors on it. Whatever color the student landed on determined their house.

Each house also has its own crest, colors and its own character traits. Students wear t-shirts with the name of their house on the back, each reflecting a unique Latin name and meaning.

Ignis is red. Sapiente is yellow. Renovare is blue, and students who landed on the color green were in Imperium. For Imperium, as an example, the traits are ambitious, leadership, determination and adventurous.

"So the kids in that house strive to have those characteristic traits and put that word in their vocabulary and in their life," Trull said.

The students earn points for their houses by following the Winfield Super-7. It is seven simple rules any teacher would want a student follow; like number seven -- "no matter what, always be honest."

There's a house winner named at the end of every nine-week grading period.

Fourth grader Brody Lynn is in Sapiente, the house sitting in third place, right now.

"To me, the house system, it shows your competitive side in house competitions," Lynn said. "And your house is like your family in the school."

Trull said that's the true magic of this house system.

"This house system has given them a place of belonging at school. This is their group," she said. "They want to come to school. This is who they belong too."

It's making students feel right at home.

At the end of the year, one will win the House Cup. The goal is to implement the system at the middle school as well.

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