New Hunger Games Character Posters Have Your Head Swooning?

Oh my goodness. Is your heart swooning over the new Lionsgate® Hunger Games movie posters?  I just love seeing all the actors in character, especially Peeta and Katniss. 

Last night the Hunger Games Fireside Chat had a special broadcast to discuss these new releases. Highlights included discussing Cinna's gold eyeliner (airbrushed or naturally applied?),  Haymitch's long blonde hair (a super-long comb-over, perhaps?) and formal attire, Peeta's sad look, Katniss's flawless skin (but logo placed on the side of her head that looks like Princess Leia as Shylah pointed out via Hunger Games DWTC), Gale's scowl and unnaturally long neck, the beauty and innocence that Rue encompasses, Cato's non-menacing look (and the fact that Cato was included with this bunch) and Effie's pink (or grayish?) hair and outlandish Capitol style. It was an interesting episode and you can catch up by listening here and follow the tweets under the #HGFiresideChat hashtag on Twitter or TweetChat.

Warning: there are some minor spoilers as I discuss my thoughts on the posters.
I have to say that I do love Gale's scowl. I think it is fitting with his character: he is an angry man. The Capitol has taken his father and left him, like Katniss, responsible for his family's survival. He has a lot of angst inside, ready to unleash. 

Rue is perfect. Innocent, sad. Exactly how I pictured her. Can anyone say that Lenny Kravitz is not Cinna now? He is perfect. I was expecting a black t-shirt rather than the bluish button-down (and gold chain), yet it works. Savanna brought up the question about whether he has a pendant at the end of the chain. The way it falls it seems very plausible. And I would love to see what it would be. What do you think Cinna would have hanging on the end? A ring to hold glasses? A simple stone pendant? A token of his own, like some sort of swirly symbol that defines who he is? Perhaps bottled flames? A tape measure or pins? (I love guessing.)

Effie is great: she looks Capitolish with her crazy make-up. I just thought her hair would be brighter. And Haymitch...well, he is not at all how I pictured. I thought balding with darker hair. An observant listener pointed out that Katniss describes his black curly hair in Catching Fire when they watch Haymitch's reaping tape. But, this small matter doesn't upset me. I know Woody will be perfect as Haymitch, so the blond hair is OK with me. I was just surprised at the length of it. And his upturned collar was odd. But it made sense if he was being dressed and cleaned up by Capitol hands, as another panelist pointed out (I have a hard time keeping voices straight while listening, except for Sam's and Adam's, of course). This is most likely how they would, indeed, dress him. Although I pictured the fashion to be more futurish rather than classically-styled.

Cato. Why the inclusion of Cato with this group? Why not Prim? Why not Thresh? Here's my take on this: Cato is the antagonist in the novel for Katniss. All along, he is the real threat, the one standing in her way to victory. Even though we see little of him in Katniss's narrative, I believe he'll play a much bigger role in the movie. He has to. We'll see Peeta interact with him, making a deal with the Careers, and follow their path of hunting Katniss. Cato is the Career leader. This is a bigger role than Prim. Prim's spotlight will come later in Mockingjay, where Katniss spends so much more time with her beloved sister. Thresh and Foxface seem to operate alone, so their parts will be slightly smaller than Cato's. So I was not surprised with Cato's presence amongst the others.  As far as his expression, I'm actually glad we don't see a menacing look. In the end, we do feel for this boy, who is, after all, only human and a product of his environment. Another Capitol pawn who has had no life of his own.Will we see more of this Cato throughout the Games instead of the very end, where he pleads with his eyes for Katniss to end his misery? It could help Katniss realize sooner who the real enemy is. I like the idea of Cato's evil being toned down.

Interesting tidbits: The listeners from Victor's Village (@VictorsVillage) pointed out that Cato, Peeta, and Gale are all missing their Adam's apples. They were surely trimmed and smoothed over in Photoshop, but it is kind of odd once it's pointed out. President Snow (@PresidentSnow) wondered why his poster wasn't released. And others expressed interest in seeing Prim, Caesar Flickerman, Thresh, Foxface, and Clove.

So, what do you think of the new posters? Any thoughts on Katniss's facing to the right and the rest facing to the left? 
Will you buy any of them for your classroom? I think I might have to. I really love how so much emotion is expressed in their single poses. The innocence, the anger, the sadness, the strength. Perfect.

 All photos are courtesy of Lionsgate®, Entertainment Weekly, and the Hunger Games Examiner


Defending the Whole Class Novel

As you can tell, I support teaching the whole class novel, at least for a couple of books. I have found so much success with teaching The Hunger Games trilogy in my own classroom with students of all levels and ages ranging from freshmen to seniors. I know many teachers in middle school AND college are having success with them, as well.
Whole-Class Novel: Yay or Nay?
Do you teach a whole-class novel?

I also teach To Kill a Mockingbird as a class. It's definitely a classic that I believe is important enough that every student should read at least once in their lifetime.

Kristen from Secondary Solutions alerted me to this controversy and she wrote a great blog post defending teaching novels in the classrooms. You can read her post here: In Defense of the Whole Class Novel

She touches on four arguments that the opposition brings up, which are: range level of students varies, students should choose their own reading materials, too many assessments, and teaching theme, plot, and literary elements can be taught with poetry or short stories instead of the novel. Her counter-arguments are valid against all these points.

I do understand the arguments for and against teaching the whole-class novel. I have to admit, for some books I completely agree. If I do not like the book, how will my students like it? I simply refuse to read any material with my students that I don't truly enjoy myself. I have to be enthusiastic about it if I expect them to want to read it.

But I do give my students silent reading time to choose reading materials of their choice. They can read graphic novels, magazines, newspapers, etc.. I want them to read simply for pleasure and enjoy it. But how can I justify my job if this was all we ever did in class (though I would simply love that, I tell ya!). I have had years where we only read one novel the entire year as a class (To Kill a Mockingbird). I spent more time on free-choice reading, short stories, poetry, drama, and, of course, fitting in all the writing instruction, as well. I had more complaints from students during those years because we didn't read another novel as a class. The fact is, the majority like it. Many are not comfortable enough to read a novel on their own and be responsible for knowing what they should about it. Some students really need that structure and guidance that a whole-class novel offers.  (Yes, others are more advanced and can handle analyzing the text on their own.  This is why I also believe in separating students by ability rather than age. If a freshman is capable of taking an upper-level honors course, let them! If a senior is at a freshman level, that's the class they should be in. If that student needs to repeat two years of that particular level in order to master those skills, they should be allowed to do so. Why do we automatically advance them when they aren't ready? I don't think we'd be arguing over the whole-class novel if we had students at similar abilities in our classes.)
The Hunger Games is an excellent choice for a whole-class novel.

I think at the high school level, teaching one or two books as a whole class is not harming the student. It may be easier to accomplish at the middle school level where the books are shorter and less complex. I love Donalyn Miller, author of The Book Whisperer and middle school teacher (who I had the pleasure to finally meet last year at the Illinois Reading Conference), and agree that we need to offer choices for students. But another essential element is the time devoted to reading in class. How can I give my students quality reading time in a 44-minute class period when I also have to teach writing, as well? I do try as best as I can, but, truthfully, most of us have our hands tied once they get into high school. We take a subject area that is traditionally split between reading and English in a nice long 1.5 to 2-hour block each day, then cram it into a 44-minute combined class period in high school, yet expect the high school teachers to cover all the same standards in half the time. In addition, the materials are longer and more complex. Then we wonder why students struggle in high school.

Believe me, I would love to have my students for two class periods. And I would love to let them read novels of their choice all the time. I would also love to have a classroom where all the students are enjoying what they read; one that is more like a book club meeting where we get to share our thoughts about what we read each day. Oh wait, I do have that classroom. It happens every year when I am teaching The Hunger Games...as a whole-class novel.

Things That Make Me Go, "Hmmm...." Part 1

District 6 - Transportation

As I re-read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, I find myself wondering about different things. I thought I'd start a weekly series of things that make me go, "Hmmm?" These are thoughts that pop into my head that make me even more excited to see the movie, hoping these questions are answered on the big screen.

Before TheCapitol.pn released the district industries, I always thought District 3 included transportation, along with electronics/technology. Why did I think this? On page 219 in chapter 16 Katniss describes the boy from District 3 being from the place "where they have the factories, where they make televisions and automobiles and explosives." But, as you can see from the poster of District 6, they are responsible for transportation.

Is it possible that District 3--technology--still makes the automobiles, while District 6 is just responsible for the actual physical transportation of Capitol officials, tributes, and victors? What do you think?

I think that District 6 must just be the transporters. Based on their occupations (also released by TheCapitol.pn), it seems their job is just getting people around, not making the vehicles.

And one more thing that makes me wonder...are those hovercrafts in the District 6 sky (see close-up of image below)? They somehow don't look like the image I had of a hovercraft. I always pictured one looking more like a flying saucer. These look a little like flying motorcycles. Although, I do find them fascinating. (I have so many more things that make me go, "Hmmm..."  about these hovercrafts!)

So, do you have something that makes you wonder as you read The Hunger Games? If so, comment below. Perhaps we can figure it out, or maybe it is something that we'll just have to wait and see.
Detail of District 6 poster. Are those hovercrafts in the sky?
District 3-Technology

Images are from TheCapitol.pn's Facebook Fan Pages and courtesy of Lionsgate®. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is published by Scholastic Inc. and quoted from the U.S. paperback version.


New Revelations With TheCapitol.PN District Seals and Occupations

District Seals for The Hunger Games
Panem District Seals from TheCapitol.PN

TheCapitol.pn revealed new posters for each of the 12 districts of Panem on their Facebook pages. Lionsgate®'s The Hunger Games movie marketing ploy? Perhaps. However, I was excited to see each district display their main industry and the occupations that would be assigned to individual "citizens."

Why is this information so fascinating?
As someone who has been trying to map each district in Panem since 2009, any little shred of information about each place helps pinpoint its location. I am a visual learner. And I love maps. Therefore, if one isn't provided, I will create it myself. Of course, I'm also a stickler for accuracy. The problem is, we aren't provided with all the information about the districts in the series because we are limited to what Katniss knows (and sometimes she just doesn't pay attention to the details, or just doesn't care). As frustrating as this is, it's also one of the "draws" for me into the novels. I was craving more information about each place during Catching Fire and Mockingjay, hoping for more tiny shreds so I could tear apart my old maps and piece together a new one. I analyzed each tribute, looking for clues as to where they may be from, hoping there would be distinct signs pointing me to a location.

So how can I use this in my classroom with my students?
I have an activity for students to create their own maps of Panem and fill out a chart of each district and its industry. I want them to use context clues to gather as much information as possible in order to make their map, rather than randomly place districts wherever. In doing so, they practice geography and close reading skills by gathering information and inferring where it would be located, then plotting it on a map.  While reading The Hunger Games, students really only have specific information to plot the Capitol city and district 12. However, they can use context clues and research to speculatively plot districts 1, 3, 4, 11, and 13.

With the additional information and clues the posters and website provide, students can easily attempt to plot all 13 districts using logical reasoning and research. My example is here.

To further help them along, provide them with this list of occupations Panem district citizens have been assigned by TheCapitol.PN:

District Occupations
1 - Goldsmith, Vinter, Furrier, Perfumer, Jeweler
2 - Stonemason, Plasterer, Brick Mason, Brick Layer, Concrete Finisher
3 - Technician, Engineer, Tester, Technical Support, Assembly Operation, Assembly Operator
4 - Canner, Trawler, Ship Captain, Deckhand, Longliner
5 - Systems Analyst, Engineer, Equipment Manager, Maintenance, Plant Security Officer
6 - Mechanic, Conductor, Porter, Baggage Handler, Router
7 - Load Puller, Furniture Builder, Lead Climber, Carpenter, Lumberjack
8 - Warehouse Manager, Weaver, Factory Worker, Designer, Dressmaker
9 - Plower, Cropper, Sower, Farmer, Harvester
10 - Barn Manager, Milker, Rancher, Breeder, Butcher
11 - Sorter, Farmhand, Gardener, Harvester, Irrigator
12 - Coal Miner, Metallurgist, Geologist, Surveyor, Blaster
(These are all from the Facebook pages for each district. If I am missing any, please let me know in the comment section below.)

If students study various careers in another class, this could be an excellent cross-curricular project. They can research any of these occupations and find where (in North America) the most jobs are located for each particular position, the average wage/income, amount of training needed, etc..

You can see my updated map of Panem HERE using my own rationale and context clues. Though, chances are I will probably revise it once again. I believe with the grain indicating wheat for district 9, I will most likely move it into Kansas.

Helpful links:
Market Clipping of US Crops: http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/sis5219
Map of Nuclear Power Facilities in US: http://www.nrc.gov/info-finder/reactor/
Downloadable Statistics through Census of Agriculture: http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2007/Online_Highlights/Fact_Sheets/index.asp

My Hunger Games Themes, Setting, Symbols, and Map Activity is currently being updated with the new information. I hope to finish it within a couple of days.


Pinterest = Highly Addictive & Visually Stimulating Way to Get Classroom Ideas!

Yes, I've become addicted to Pinterest.com. I love looking at all the pictures from others and reading all the funny quotes. It makes me feel closer to my fellow humans, like we really are all in this together.

This post is part of the linky party going on down at Michelle's Math in the Middle, which points you to a load of teachers who are also "pinning."

I created a Hunger Games Board for all things Hunger Games-related. I also have several other teaching-related boards, as well. You can find them all at www.pinterest.com/MrsOrman If you need an invite to this fabulous site, let me know!

Here are some of my favorite pics from various boards:


Hunger Games Halloween Costumes

The folks at The Hob have put together an excellent feature on Hunger Games-inspired Halloween costumes! So far, they have featured Katniss, President Snow, and Effie Trinket. I am sure the others will be featured soon. They even let you know where you can purchase items needed for the costumes.
Don't have long hair? Get the Katniss wig!

And speaking of great fan-sites, Down With the Capitol has an entire section of pumpkin carving templates you can use to make your very own Hunger Games jack-o-lantern.

So to get in on the Halloween spirit, I have a wicked word find, created just for you by President Snow. But I did include the answer key in case you are really stumped on some of these words. So may the odds be ever in your favor! And Happy Halloween! :)

You can always find loads of Hunger Games activities in my teacher store
NOTE: If you download or view the word find full-screen, the graphics will line up correctly. They are a little scrunched up in my blog column, but they do print correctly once downloaded.
Hunger Games Halloween Word Find


Thank you Pinterest...

At Pinterest.com, pictures speak louder than words. I'm just so glad they finally added an Education category. Thanks to my fellow teachers for adding to the requests to make it possible! :) If you need an invite to this website (warning: it is addictive), let me know in the comments with your email.


DIY: Create Your Own Hunger Games Charms & Magnets

You love The Hunger Games and would love to make a charm bracelet, cell phone charm, or even a magnet to stick on your whiteboard (or in your locker), but have no idea where to begin.

Lesson #1 - Begin here! I've been making my own charms and magnets for several years now. They make great classroom gifts for students who participate in various activities, score well on a really hard test, or just give that extra effort. These will take a couple of days (perhaps longer for 2-sided charms), but the end product is worth it!

Supplies you will need for CHARMS:
1. Charm blanks (I actually buy these on eBay & they come from China. But you can find them other places, as well.)

2. Glue & glaze for the top coat (or a glass bauble, found in craft or dime stores). I prefer Aleen's Paper Glaze for gluing and Judikins Diamond Glaze for the top coat. I have also used Sakura's 3D Crystal Lacquer with success, except it takes much longer to set up. I know many people use other types or two-part resins. Annie Howe's page offers some suggested products. Since I do not make these daily (I usually only make them in the summer or on school breaks), using Judikins Diamond Glaze has worked best for me.

3. Paper cut out of what you want to put in the charm. (Which means you may need to do some photo altering and use a craft paper punch for the right size charm. Most measurements of charms are in mm, while we use inches in the US.)

4. A flat surface in which they can dry for a day or two. I like to use a metal tray. I find these on clearance after holidays for 50¢ or less. The depth of the try keeps the charms from sliding on the floor if you move them (which I usually do, since I work on our dining room table and this is where we eat).

Additional supplies needed for MAGNETS:
1. Magnets - You can buy very strong magnets at a craft store. It's important to get those that are strong because if you use them on your whiteboard at school, you want them to be able to hold up a poster or even a calendar. I've purchased the kind pictured below at Ben Franklin, and also online at Sunshine Discount Crafts.

2. If you prefer, a glass bauble on top (not necessary, though).

Lesson #2 - Create Your Charm

1. Cut out your picture you want to put on your charm blank.
2. Glue the picture onto the charm using Aleen's Paper Glaze (or your preferred brand). You don't want to use too much, but you also don't want to use too little. Experiment with what works. Different surfaces respond differently.

 3. If you have a two-sided charm, glue your picture onto the other side before putting the glaze over the image.

4. Let each side dry for 15 min. or so. Aleen's dries pretty quickly; it is important for the image to be set before you move on.

5. Use your top glaze (I like Judikins Diamond Glaze) and apply a thin first coat. If you have any air bubbles, pop them (or slide them out) with a head pin before it dries.
6. Make sure the glaze is going on evenly and dries on a level surface. Let it dry for at least 3-4 hours before applying a second coat. Then I let it dry until the next day and decide if it needs a third coat. By day 3, it is usually ready to flip over to do the other side. Repeat the steps above for the other side. If you are using Sakura Crystal Glaze, you will need an additional day to let it dry. Also, do not apply the second coat until 24 hours later. Usually, however, this brand may only need 1-2 coats at the most.

7. Once dry, you can use your charms to make charm bracelets, neckalces, earrings, bookmarks, key rings, cell phone charm lanyards, holiday ornaments...whatever. The possibilities are endless!

Lesson #3 - Create Your Magnets

1. You will follow the same steps as creating the charms, except magnets can only be one sided. I'll also add putting a glass bauble on it (which you can do with a charm, but I didn't go over it above). So the first step is to cut out your image you want on your magnet.

2. Place the magnets on a magnetic surface so they don't move around. (I like to use those metal trays, but popcorn tin lids work very well, also.)

3. Next, glue your image directly to the magnet. Again, I use Aleen's Paper Glaze. Other brands do not seem to adhere to the paper or the surface as well, which is especially important with the magnets.

4. Let it dry for at least an hour, just to be sure.

5.   Go to step 6 if you aren't using a glass bauble on top.  Go to step 7 if you are using a glass bauble.

6. IF YOU ARE NOT USING A GLASS BAUBLE: Carefully apply a top coat of the Diamond Glaze. Repeat using the steps listed above for the charms. Once dry, you are done!

7. IF YOU ARE USING A GLASS BAUBLE: Using Aleen's Paper Glaze, glue the glass bauble right on top of the image. Let it set for an hour or so.

8. After the glass bauble seems to have set, apply glue on the bottom if you have any sort of overhang. If the image is larger than the magnet, you'll actually glue the glass bauble to the image first, then glue to the magnet last, and apply glue on the bottom. The glue will act as a seal so the image is preserved. Let dry & you are done!

 I love using the super strong magnets to hold things up in my classroom.  If you are using a glass bauble, you really need a strong magnet, otherwise the magnet will just fall off the surface.

Here's a great tip for transporting and storing them (because those strong ones are going to be drawn to everything - including other magnets!): Use old popcorn tin lids, cookie and candy tins, cough drop or breath mint tins, and even jewelry/watch tins (don't we all get one or two of these for the holidays anyway? What do you do with them? This! They are great for storing magnets!).

They also make great gifts - for your friends, students, family, and your teacher (if you are a student). Make them personal - use a family picture, type a name, or use a picture of your school mascot, a favorite book, movie, actor, sports team...

If you liked this, make sure to share with others or click "Like" above! Thanks for reading and happy crafting!


I have many requests for a template. Unfortunately, I create these in InDesign and just keep replacing images as I need them. Right now I have half a page of Seneca Crane's beard and the other half with names of people I made for magnets before Christmas. I am providing a couple of links, however, that may be helpful.
•  One is to a 1-inch circular template for Microsoft Word that you can download free and place images and edit how you wish.
•  The other is to my Hunger Games Badges activity that I sell for $2; it is a PDF file with button templates with the images/words already in place, but it cannot be edited. I created it in InDesign.

Thanks so much for your interest!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...