It's (almost) August...Are You Ready for School?

  Where did this summer go? It seems like yesterday I was packing up some books from school for summer reading...and here it is (almost) August and I read maybe half of the books I wanted. And am I ready to go back to school? No. I have a lot of things I need to get done in my room, AND a lot of lessons I wanted to write before school resumes. How about you? Are you ready to go back?

  One thing to help you is TeacherPayTeacher's Back-to-School sale, which starts tomorrow. The weekly 10 Free Download newsletter will go out tomorrow to kick off another school year. And with it, Paul, the site's owner, is giving everyone 10% off for the entire week (August 1st - 6th). You must use code B1T1S when you check out. Many teachers are having sales on top of that to give you even more of a discount. I will be one of them! Find my resources here: Tracee Orman's Store, or check out the "beta" site here: Tracee's "Beta" Store. And have fun stocking up on great lessons for the new school year!

You can find a list of the sellers who are participating in the sale on my Back-to-School Page.

If you haven't signed up for the newsletter, you can sign-up here (on the LEFT side of page--small box to input your email address): TpT Newsletter

If you would like to sell on TpT, you can join the referral program and sign up here: TpT Seller Sign-Up

I hope you have a wonderful school year! Make sure to follow me on TpT to get updates for my latest lessons. The last three I have uploaded have been FREE! :) More about those this week...


Oh! The Things I Found (while cleaning out my classroom cupboards...)

I have a lot of "stuff." It was time to get rid of some of it...

  I will admit that I tend to save things. OK, I'm a pack rat. But...I don't think I've reached hoarder status! I just have a fondness for things that are a little out of the ordinary. Plus, I have a really hard time throwing away things that can (somehow) be useful in the classroom.
  However, I did do some cleaning and tossing of things this summer because I have run out of room in my classroom for them (and I need to make room for more books!).  I do like to have my room looking somewhat orderly at the beginning of the year. It will collect stacks of papers and projects soon enough, so it's nice to at least start out clean, right!?
  Let me first say that I love my classroom & its built-in storage capacity. My entire back wall is cupboards and counter-space (see photo, right). I do have one of the smaller closets (I have a corner room) and the other two English teachers in my building have built-in shelves along the adjacent wall from their cupboards/counter. But, Ann--our wonderful custodian--set me up with some great book cases last year to span one wall of my room (see photo below). And a great student custom-made a shelf in shop-class for me to fit a small gap of wall (not shown). Yes, they all know I love books!

Thanks to my awesome custodian, Ann, I have bookcases along one wall of my room for my class library.

As I was cleaning to make room for more books, I was pretty surprised at some of the items I found in my cupboards. Here's a sample of things I both wonder why I kept and things I forgot I had:

Some old Sports Illustrated magazines from the early 1980's. I also found some Glamour magazines from 1988-89 (my senior year in high school), but those were quickly snatched up by students. I put these in the box of magazines that students can use to cut up...but since they all have laptops, no one has been touching that box. I guess they will just get recycled this year. Unless anyone knows if they are worth money. If so, let me know! I'll gladly sell! ;]
Some old laminated ink-blots I used for creative writing prompts long ago. I forgot I had these. But since I haven't used them in years, I recycled them. We can always create more, right!
A "To Kill a Mockingbird" project with all the characters cast as comic-strip characters. I still think it's cute & clever. The characters the student chose to represent the TKaM characters are perfect! It really doesn't take up that much room...

A box of PEZ dispensers. There are actually two full boxes; these happen to be ones still in the packaging. The others used to hang from my ceiling with fishing line, but they collected way too much dust and grime. So now they reside in a box. :( I would like to find a way to display them in a fun way because the students have fun looking at them. Not sure how, though...
My "Scream" painting that was to be a Halloween costume (to go as the painting--since so many students were wearing the "Scream" masks...), but I liked it too much to cut the eye-holes & decided to hang it in my room instead. I went as Princess Leia's hologram projected from R2D2 instead.
Nope, these aren't real... I had to get rid of some of my Mexican currency before returning to the States on a vacation to Cabo. My husband & I went with another teacher & his wife. We saw these in the airport gift shop & thought it would be a great prank to put in the teacher's lounge to see how many people would try to eat them. Now, at least once a year, I set them on my desk to see how many students will pick them up. You'd be surprised at how many actually do...

Why? Why did I keep this full-page ad Billy Corgan took out in the Chicago Tribune back in 2005? I mean, I know why...because I'm a huge Smashing Pumpkins fan. But I'm not sure why I held on to it. So...sorry, Billy. But you just got recycled.
"The Most Dangerous Game" board game, made a few years ago by some students. It's so darn cute, I haven't been able to throw it away. But it does take up a ton of room. It just might have to go this year...
Well, I can't throw out my high school letter jacket, right!? This, sadly, made it to my costume box for dress-up days (we dress up for Homecoming, Halloween, Red-Ribbon week, and various other spur-of-the-moment days). The 80's was our Homecoming theme a few years ago (you know you're old when the era of your high school days is now a novelty dress-up day or Homecoming theme!), so I brought it to school and now it is always on hand just in case someone wants to look like a big dork! (The sailor zip-up hood is especially classy, don't you think! ha)
Need I say more? This, inside my closet, has found a permanent home. Because we've all been there at some point, right!?
No matter what, I continue to cheer on the Cubs. Ya, I don't know why, either. I just always have. Some day they'll make us proud...some day...
Pieces from a Tragedy of Julius Caesar-themed board game. I especially liked the colorful paper die the students made. Alas, it was recycled.
In my Homecoming/Halloween/Dress-Up Days box is a collection of masks. This is my PEZ clown mask. I went as a PEZ clown one year (I converted a box into the red dispenser & wore the mask). It was very hard not having the use of my hands, I must say! My giant Bunny PEZ decided to wear the clown mask. This mask actually freaks a lot of students out. I never realized how many are afraid of clowns! Maybe we should stop watching "IT" in class! Ha ha...just kidding! But I do teach a Stephen King unit that is fun. And creepy.
So what types of things do YOU have lurking in your classroom cupboards and closets? Share them below or link a post to this one. I'd love to read about yours! (It also helps to know I'm not the ONLY teacher who hangs on to things...I know you're out there...somewhere!)


'The Hunger Games' movie photos

Entertainment Weekly's cover of the men of The Hunger Games.

'The Hunger Games' movie photos
Slideshow courtesy of Sara Gundell of The Hunger Games Examiner

I think I love Josh even more after seeing him as Peeta! How 'bout you?
Make sure you check out the slideshow of the first images from Entertainment Weekly's feature on the boys men of The Hunger Games. Or "Hotties" I think they call them, appropriately. :)


Back to School Bonus: Free CD of Lessons with Any CD Purchase

Don't miss out on my back-to-school bonus!

Starting today (July 23rd) through July 31st at midnight, purchase any CD from my teacher store and get a FREE Bonus Lessons CD! This is the same CD that Charity Preston from The Organized Classroom Blog shows you in her video. It is packed with great lessons from so many talented teacher-authors!

The CDs you have to choose from include:
Literature Activities and Resources (grades 6-12)
Poetry Activities and Resources (grades 6-12)
To Kill a Mockingbird Teaching Unit (grades 8-12, college)
The Hunger Games Teaching Unit (grades 6-12, college)
Catching Fire Teaching Unit (grades 7-12, college)
Mockingjay Teaching Unit (grades 7-12, college)
The Hunger Games Trilogy (3-CD pack) (grades 6-12, college) +EXTRA Bonus Lesson CD with even more great products when you purchase the 3-pack (that's 5 total CDs in this package)!

If you are one of my Canadian, Australian, or other international teacher friends, contact me at hungergameslessons@gmail.com if you'd like to purchase a CD. TeachersPayTeachers does not support non-U.S. shipped goods sales, but you can buy directly through PayPal.


Lionsgate unveils official movie website & poster for 'The Hunger Games'

It's official! The first movie poster for the upcoming Hunger Games film.

To view the poster IN MOTION (very cool), click here: Hunger Games Poster in Motion This image courtesy of MovieNews.IE.

Article (link below) and photo courtesy of Hunger Games Examiner, Sara Gundell. Movie poster by Lionsgate.
Lionsgate unveils official movie poster for 'The Hunger Games'

And, if the movie poster isn't enough, here's the official movie website, also released today by Lionsgate: The Hunger Games Movie


Stock up on Resources for Back to School

I can't believe it's almost time to go back to school! Many schools, especially those with more balanced calendars, will be heading back to school the first week of August. So it's a great time to stock up on those resources you need before you get back into your classroom.

You can find many of my free Back-to-School downloads at my TpT store or browse on my list of lessons page under "Miscellaneous Digital Downloads."

Some of my favorite FREE Back to School downloads include:
Back to School (or Anytime) Top 10 Lists
BINGO Icebreaker
English Lesson Plan Template

One of my all-time favorite presentations to show my students early in the year is my "Importance of English Class" Powerpoint that shows hilarious errors in real life. The kids always get a kick out of it and want more. I love it when they are excited for English!

If you are a science teacher, check out Science Stuff's page for a great "Christmas in July"sale right now!

Hope you have a GREAT school year!


The Organized Classroom Blog: Using The Potter Games in Your Language Arts Class

Charity Preston from The Organized Classroom made a great three minute video explaining how you can utilize The Potter Games in your language arts classroom. Check out her blog for the article and video.

Also, hats off to Adam Spunberg, Savanna New, Shylah Addante, Sam Cushion and ALL the contributors on The Potter Games for making it hugely successful in its first week. My role has been small compared to theirs, but I feel so fortunate to have been a part of this great project.

As Charity says in her article, I will be creating some writing activities that you can use with your students while they play the online choose-your-own-adventure game. I'll also offer the lesson free and post it here.

And look at this incredibly awesome graphic Samuel Shallenberger made for The Potter Games:

Created by Samuel Shallenberger
Perfect, isn't it!?


Exclusive Interview with the Founder of the Potter Games, Adam Spunberg

Exclusive Interview with the Founder of the Potter Games, Adam Spunberg

Anni from GeekInvaders.com shares Adam's answers on how The Potter Games was created. Tomorrow, more about the other contributors involved! :)


Click "Like" if You, too, Love Harry Potter!

This week marks the release of the FINAL Harry Potter movie: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2". Though I am sad to see the series end, I'm so excited to see the rest of the novel played out on the big screen.

How do you feel about the movie? Will you see the midnight showing Thursday, watch it in the theater later, or wait until it comes out on DVD?

In the meantime, check out The Potter Games, which combines my two favorite novel series: Harry Potter & Hunger Games! You don't have to wait as long for the release of this exciting new website. Tomorrow at 11 p.m. EST (10 p.m. CST), all will be revealed...

So if you, too, love Harry Potter and feel the same, click "Like" and share with your friends!


Have You Heard of The Potter Games?

As we near the release date of the final Harry Potter movie, I find myself a little sad to see the magical world end. I've looked forward to re-reading the books before each movie, then watching them come to life on the big screen.

So when I came across The Potter Games site, I was very intrigued. Could this be real: a mash-up between my two favorite young-adult series!? And just what is it, exactly? All will be revealed on July 11th at 11 p.m. EST/10 p.m. CST. But in the meantime, to quell your curiosity the mysterious Capitol webmasters (or Gamemakers?) have been releasing reaping videos, and the latest: this note from the Dark Lord himself. Hmmm...may the owls be ever in your favor, indeed!

You can follow all the daily reapings (by none other than Rita Skeeter herself) on the The Potter Games Facebook page and get live updates on Twitter, as well.


The Meadow Song in The Hunger Games - Free Bookmarks Download

Download my FREE Meadow Song bookmarks.
Note: This post contains SPOILERS.

I love that Suzanne Collins incorporates the "Meadow Song" (The Hunger Games, chapter 18, pages 234-235) in all three books of the trilogy. The song is rich in symbolism and truly represents one of the underlying themes of the series: finding peace in a world that is, basically, messed up. It's a sad song, yet also a song of hope. The listener may have troubles, but can wash them away by realizing tomorrow is a new day and they will be forgotten. The meadow also acts as a guardian for the listener.

Katniss used the Meadow as her path to the woods, which brought nourishment to her family in The Hunger Games. She also used the song as a way to bring peace to Rue in her final moments; it was one they sang as a lullaby to crying babies to soothe them. It was passed down from generations, a "mountain air" her teacher called it.

In Catching Fire, Katniss recalls the soothing and protective meadow from the song as a perfect place for Peeta and his future children to live. This, she thinks, as she plans sacrificing herself to protect him, just as the daisies guard the listener in the song.

In Mockingjay, the actual Meadow in the Seam takes on the role as a final resting place for all those uneasy souls destroyed by the Capitol. But the cycle of life is always continuing in a circular fashion, and in the Epilogue, we return to the Meadow to see Peeta's (and Katniss's) children playing there, safely.

Applying in Your Classroom
Have your students analyze the Meadow song as a poem. Questions you can ask include:
  -What is the tone of the piece?
  -What is the rhyme scheme/pattern?
  -Find examples of figurative language. (Personification, metaphor)
  -What is the message the writer is conveying?
  -What does the meadow symbolize?

I created these bookmarks and you are welcome to share them with your students. Each one has the lyrics of the Meadow song (also referred to as Rue's Lullaby). Two options for printing: larger size - five per page or smaller size with 10 per page. Print onto card-stock paper (or print onto regular paper and laminate), then cut and distribute to your students!

You can find the full download on my TeachersPayTeachers website store HERE

These are FREE and for classroom distribution/educational and non-commercial use only. You may distribute them on your website if you link back to my website (www.hungergameslessons.com), but commercial use is prohibited.

For the full-size, full-quality download, go to my TpT Store HERE or on Scribd, below.
Meadow Song Bookmarks - The Hunger Games


Listen to Fireside Chat Tomorrow (Tuesday, July 5th)

In observance of the July 4th holiday today (Happy Independence Day, by the way!), episode 14 of the Hunger Games Fireside Chat will broadcast live tomorrow at 9 pm CST.

The topics of discussion will include (quoted from the website):
  • We’ll reveal the TOP THREE ANTHEMS in our Panem Anthem contest and tell you how to vote for the winner!
  • We’ll share the Top 10 Ways to Celebrate Independence Day in Panem.
  • We’ll discuss: WHAT IF everyone had sided with Coin and agreed to more Hunger Games with the Capitol’s children? Could the world of The Hunger Games actually exist?
  • We’ll also delve into some Snow and politically themed Crackpot Theories and introduce a new segment that you won’t want to miss — trust us! 
As always, you can follow along on Twitter using the hashtag #HGFiresideChat. It is a great way to be involved in the conversation and ask questions of the discussion panel.  This week's panel members will include Jennifer Canzoneri of Smart Pop Books, and Ariel Birdoff, a children’s publishing expert (and lead singer of Madame Pince and the Librarians), along with regulars Sam Cushion of I Am the Mockingjay and hosts Adam Spunberg and Savanna New.

Use the prompt for the Panem Anthem Contest in your classroom. It can be used around any patriotic holiday no matter your country of origin. Use the prompt around Veteran's Day, Independence (or Liberation) Day, Emancipation Day, Victory Day, National Day, Labor/Labour Day, Flag Day (have students design a flag for Panem, as well, for Flag Day).

Don't forget to VOTE for Hunger Games Lessons for best teaching blog in the "specialty" category. You will have to vote for blogs in the other categories for your vote to count, however. THANK YOU!
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