Lesson Cloud Authors Hosting Back-to-School Dollar Days & Giveaway for Teachers

The Dollar Days Sale & Giveaway sponsored by The Lesson Cloud!

The Lesson Cloud authors are presenting a big Dollar Days sale this week! PLUS, you can win a $75 gift card to Really Good Stuff in our Back-to-School Giveaway!

You can get great deals on so many teacherspayteachers lessons, activities, printables, and other teaching resources for just $1 or $2. But it's only happening Sunday, July 29th and Monday, July 30th, so you'll need to put those items on your wish list or add to your cart so you don't forget.

To see all the great resources that will be marked down and to enter the $75 giveaway gift card, go to 
There you can click on the grade-level resources that are marked at super discounts and enter our giveaway!

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Fire Up for the Olympic Games

The Olympic flame arrived in London and has been making its rounds through the city, even taking a ride on the London Underground train. It will reach its final destination Friday during the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Summer Games.

So, in the tradition of being obsessed with The Hunger Games, I couldn't help compare the Olympic flame with Katniss, the Girl Who Was on Fire (this is a good discussion to have during/after chapter 5 of The Hunger Games).

Have your students research the Olympic flame. Ask:
- What does the Olympic flame symbolize?
- What does the torch relay symbolize? (And who started it? Why?)
- Who carries the flame? Who lights the cauldron?
- What happens to the flame at the close of the Games?

Then have your students compare the rituals and symbolism of the Olympic flame to the District 12 tributes. Discussion questions could include:
- Are there any similarities to the symbolism of the Olympic flame and the symbolism of the Tribute's costumes?
- Is it a coincidence that the District 12 tributes are the final "team" in the Ceremony and dressed in flames? (Comparing the torch relay.)
- Why isn't Peeta referred to as "The Boy Who Was on Fire"?

Are there other similarities? Feel free to share in the comments below. And enjoy watching the Olympics!

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An Official Map of Panem...Well, Partially, Anyway

Photo courtesy of Mockingjay.net via Hunger Games Adventures

Thanks to my friends at Mockingjay.net, a partial Map of Panem was revealed on The Hunger Games Adventures Facebook Game. As you can see, it shows the outlines of all the districts and reveals districts 12, 11, 2 and the Capitol. And, of course, the change in land form, with poor Florida well below sea level.

One thing I noticed is that District 11 does not seem to be the largest of the districts, as stated in the novel. I also wonder about the district that falls in between Districts 11 and 12. I wasn't expecting that. This may be a clue that the map is probably not officially endorsed by Suzanne Collins and it is simply a depiction from The Hunger Games Adventures' developers standpoint. But still, it's pretty cool to get some sort of "official" perspective.

Of course, this outline now gives us specific regions for each district. So, knowing what each district's industry is, have your students plot the rest of the districts using deductive reasoning. If they need some help, here's a list of the districts and their industries:
District 1 - Luxury goods
District 2 - Masonry [The Hunger Games and Catching Fire SPOILER: Capitol's defense/Peacekeeper training]
District 3 - Electronics/Technology
District 4 - Fishing
District 5 - Power
District 6 - Transportation
District 7 - Lumber
District 8 - Textiles
District 9 - Grain
District 10 - Livestock
District 11 - Agriculture
District 12 - Coal Mining
District 13 - Graphite mining [The Hunger Games and Catching Fire SPOILER: or nuclear technology]

Where would you place the districts? Here's a link to my previous Map of Panem post with rationale for each district's placement. I'll be posting my new picks shortly, though I sense they will fall pretty well in-line with the regions here. Whether they match up with the actual district numbers when those are revealed is another question all together.  

Here's a link to Mockingjay.net's original post: http://mockingjay.net/2012/07/22/hg-adventures-map-panem-revealed/#

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The Opening Ceremony: Comparing the Hunger Games to the Olympic Games

The Olympics will kick off next week in London with the Opening Ceremonies and all its festivities. I cannot help but think that Suzanne Collins thought of the Olympics when she wrote The Hunger Games trilogy. With its focus on glam and glitz, the hoopla surrounding the kick-off to the Olympic Games definitely seems very Capitolish. So what does that say about us?

Of course, this is a topic that is sure to come up when you are teaching The Hunger Games. Are we the Capitol? In many cases, it certainly seems so. Just look at the two images above, one depicting the streets of the fictional Capitol of Panem for the Opening Ceremony (or, Tribute Parade, which it is referred to in the movie) and an image depicting the opening of the Summer Games from EuroTeam World of Tickets. Actually, the way the Capitol streets are transformed into the likeness of an arena, we could compare it to any large-scale sporting event. But it is the actual ushering in of the Tributes and Athletes that make the Hunger Games and Olympics especially similar.

Both events require the participants to dress alike in outfits to represent their homeland. In the Olympics, the athletes dress in the flavor of their country. In the Hunger Games, the Tributes represent their districts. Perhaps the costumes for the Olympics are not quite as flashy, but is their costume really that important? Didn't the athletes go nude in the Ancient Games? Why do we even care what the athletes are wearing for this event?

Perhaps the reason this is a big deal is because of the emphasis of the arts in Olympic Games. In the past, there were actually art competitions. In the Ancient Games, artists and sculptors flocked to the Games for inspiration and to showcase their talent. Are the opening outfits a way to showcase our own artistry? If that's the case, doesn't it seem sad that American athletes won't be wearing garb made by Americans, but made by Chinese residents?

In contrast, do you think the outfits for the Tributes are made in the Capitol or in district 8, where they produce and manufacture "textiles"? We know for certain that the home districts do not make the Tribute's outfits. So does it really matter if American outfits are made in China? Or is this satire? Was Collins making a statement about the outfits, making fun of the fact that they should represent the districts, and yet they are nothing like the districts themselves? Just like the Capitol, which is supposed to represent the entire nation, but only really represents its own residents.

Yet, I hardly believe Ralph Lauren was trying to make a satirical statement with his French-inspired and Chinese-made design for the American athletes. Even so, it is a perfect satire. A little Monty-Pythonish...and fodder for Saturday Night Live, I imagine.

What do you think? Does it matter what the athletes wear or where the outfits are made? Have this discussion with your students and explore more about the arts in the Olympic Games and how the arts are incorporated into the Hunger Games, as well. Utilize websites such as Olympic.org and TheCapitol.pn for more information and debate.

Photo credits: Images used in the photo art above from Lionsgate Movies® and Getty Images. Mockingjay designed by Tim O'Brien for Scholastic Books®. Photo collage/art by Tracee Orman for Hunger Games Lessons.

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The Hunger Games Blu-ray & DVD Special Feature Comic-Con Clip!

Entertainment Weekly shares a peek at some of the footage we'll find on The Hunger Games Blu-ray and DVDs, which will be released August 18th. I can't wait to share this with my students after we finish the novel. How about you? Will you show it to your students?


The Original Silent Salute? Comparing Moments from the Olympic Games with The Hunger Games

Integrating events from pop culture with your curriculum is an excellent way to connect with and engage your students. So whether you are currently teaching summer school, or just planning ahead for this fall, you can utilize the Olympic Games for class discussions and mini-research projects.

With less than 20 days until the opening of the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games, I thought I would try to highlight a few areas of focus for discussion. Today's is the silent salute. (Warning: this post contains spoilers. If you have not finished the novel, do not read further.)

In chapter two of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, the District 12 citizens give Katniss the three-finger silent salute: a gesture that shows thanks and respect her for her sacrifice. (p. 24) In the movie, Katniss gives the District 11 citizens the silent salute after Rue's death and they return the gesture. Note: In the novel, Katniss tells them thanks for the bread, but does not give the three-fingered silent salute. (p. 239) At the time, Katniss realized that she had publicly displayed rebellion toward the Capitol's mores by honoring and adorning Rue's body with flowers. In turn, District 11 defies the Capitol by sending Katniss bread (or saluting her, as shown in the movie). These are public acts of rebellion toward a repressive government. So...how does this relate to the Olympics?

Have your students research the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Chances are they'll see the iconic image of Tommie Smith and John Carlos (seen above) in their own "silent salute." Ask students the following:
• What did Smith's and Carlos' gesture represent (or symbolize)?
• How did the public react to their gesture?
• What repercussions did they suffer because of their gesture?
• How does their statement (or form of rebellion) compare to Katniss's gesture of rebellion in The Hunger Games?
• How does it compare to the silent salute by the district citizens of Panem?
• Would Smith's and Carlos' gesture get a different response today? Why or why not?
Helpful source for responses: Black history political and social statements at the Olympics (LA Sentinel)

Connect with History
This is a great cross-curricular activity with the history department. Students who are studying the Civil Rights Movement can offer insight about the atmosphere around the world at that time: the TET Offensive in Vietnam ushered in the new year, both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy are assassinated, the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia, and a myriad of student protests erupt both in America and Europe over the course of the year.

The 1969 Vietnam Lottery Draft, courtesy of SSS
For further discussion, compare America in the late 1960s with Panem. 
• What is the difference between the Hunger Games reaping and the 1969 Vietnam Lottery Draft?
• How many youths were affected in the 1969 draft? In subsequent drafts? How many youths have been reaped and lost their lives in the history of the Hunger Games? (Math Hint: 74 years for The Hunger Games, 75 years for Catching Fire; those who are using this lesson while reading Catching Fire or Mockingjay will know to double the number of tributes for the 50th Games and add two Victors for the 74th Games. Catching Fire readers who have not finished the novel can figure the total by the 74 Games since the number of survivors from the 75th Games is not known until Mockingjay.) Helpful resource for Vietnam draft statistics: http://www.sss.gov/LOTTER1.HTM
• How were the youths who rebelled against the draft treated by the government and/or the citizens?
• How does this differ from the way Katniss is treated when she rebels? Would it make a difference if the "draft dodgers" were women? Would they be treated differently?
• What if Peeta led the rebellion? Would he have a similar reception to those who rebelled against the Vietnam war?
• Why does gender make a difference in protests? Is the government more likely to use physical punishment for men than for women? {If it's wrong to use on women, why is it OK to use for men? Shouldn't it be wrong in both instances?}

For further enrichment, have students study the images from the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The German athletes give their own "salute" for Aryan supremacy. Despite warnings of Hitler using the Games for political propaganda and threats of boycotting, the Games went on and the Germans were not reprimanded for their public display of supremacy. (Source: NPR Nazi Olympics Tangled Politics and Sport.) Ask your students why officials would allow this, yet balk at the actions of Smith and Carlos?

Top image: Art designed by Tracee Orman using photos from Lions Gate Movies® and the Associated Press (AP). Black Panther salute from the Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/30/black-power-salute-1968-olympics#  Original caption: John Carlos (on right), Tommie Smith (center) and Peter Norman, who wore an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge in support of their gesture. When Norman died in 2006, Carlos and Smith were pallbearers at his funeral. Photo: AP.

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Casting Updates

Jena Malone will play Johanna Mason in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Lions Gate®) Digital art by Tracee Orman, original images by TheCapitol.PN (Lionsgate) and MovieWeb.com.
In case you hadn't heard the news, Jena Malone has been offered the part as District 7 Victor Johanna Mason in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," released By Lions Gate® November 22, 2013 - yes, still 505 days away. You can catch up on the latest in this excellent post by Perri Nemiroff, which features another edition of How Panem Celebrates Independence Day by our favorite Hunger Games fansites. (P.S. I love how Adam incorporates art into his post on how Delly Cartwright celebrates Independence Day.)

I remember Malone from "Stepmom" and she definitely had the snotty, bratty kid part down. I think she's an excellent actress and while she may seem too young looking, I think she's perfect. Lionsgate continues to amaze me with their casting choices, so I have complete faith that she was the best candidate for the part.

I cannot wait to see who they choose for Finnick Odair. There was some buzz about Hunter Parrish playing the part, but nothing is confirmed. If you have used my Catching Fire Teaching Unit, then you know that Parrish was the actor I had pictured in my head when I read Catching Fire in 2009.
From "Catching Fire Character Graphic Organizer" Teacher's Guide by Tracee Orman. Blocked out answers, arrows, and commentary on the "Reminds Me Of..." section were added and do not show up on the original document. ;]
I honestly do not care whether he is selected since I know the right person for the part will ultimately get it. But, I think it's kind of cool that at least one person who I had originally pictured might be in the running.

The only other visions I had were not of anyone specific. I pictured Beetee and Wiress as more Asian-looking and Seeder and Chaff with darker skin. The one actor for Chaff who comes to mind is Michael Clarke Duncan. Enobaria has to be a woman who you would not want to mess with...perhaps a Grace Jones type? (I actually pictured Grace Jones for Atala's part, but since it's such a small part, a lesser-known actress makes sense.) I can't wait to see how they do her teeth, whoever gets the part. And it probably won't be long before we are talking about who should play Boggs and President Coin.

What do you think? Are you happy with the casting choices so far? 
Comment below or on my Facebook Fan Page.

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Make Sure to Enter Kleinspiration's 1,000 Follower Giveaway!

You can win a free copy of my Hunger Games digital download, plus TONS of amazing prizes in Erin Klein's 1,000-Follower Giveaway!

I am most excited about the autographed-by-the-authors book giveaway. I had the pleasure of seeing/listening to Donalyn Miller {Yes, the Book Whisperer!} at the Illinois Reading Conference a couple of years ago. She is fantastic, and so is her book. I wasn't able to get my copy signed (I just missed her) at the time, so winning an autographed copy would be sweet. Of course, there are plenty of other amazing prizes, including free software and an enormous amount of TpT items.

Make sure to check out Kleinspiration's huge giveaway and enter to win. The deadline is July 4th.

And may the odds be ever in your favor!

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