Creative Class Projects: The Cherry on Top of Your Completed Unit

A "Minecraft" version of the 74th Hunger Games arena.

There's no better way to end a unit than assigning a creative project. It allows students to loosen up and have some fun with the content they've just learned. Creative projects work for all content areas, grade levels, and subject matter. Students need to practice creative thinking more often; it will help them later in life with problem solving and give them a leg-up in the job market.

So I'd like to share a slideshow of my students' latest creative projects. I'll be adding more to the mix in the next few days. And if you need some help with how to assign the projects, check out my past posts (there are links on the right side of the page to older posts), which have loads of ideas for creative projects. I also have several handouts and bundles in my teacher store.

So the next time you serve up a unit, allow your students 
to put the cherry on top!


Hunger Games Christmas Ornaments

Happy Holidays from Hunger Games Lessons!  
  On my Facebook Page I posted pictures of these Hunger Games-themed Christmas ornaments. I am giving them away to anyone who purchases a shipped product from my teacher store today and tomorrow. Heck, if I have enough left over, I'll just keep giving them away! And, in case you haven't noticed, I am also having a sale on all my digital downloads through Monday! Don't miss out on our big Cyber Monday extravaganza on TeachersPayTeachers! Use code CMS28 on Monday to get an additional 10% discount. (But you can get 15% off right now in my store!)

They were fun to make and you, too, can make them. Just follow Sara Gundell's instructions (on The Hunger Games Examiner). The only difference in mine is that I used a circular paper punch for most of them.

Then, I decided to get a little fancier. Using my own instructions for making charms, I pasted the paper cut outs to plastic blanks. I used jewelry chain and jump rings to make the loop for hanging on the tree (or wherever you wish to hang it). I plan to give these away as gifts to friends and I'll also include one with any purchase of my 3-CD Hunger Games Trilogy teaching units pack. Some of the fancy ones (pictured below) are missing their chain because I haven't completed those yet. I also haven't decided whether to use chain or ribbon on some of them. I'm not sure which I like better. What do you think?

You can have one of these with any purchase of my Hunger Games Trilogy 3-CD pack!

I just had to!

Sorry, Gale fans, but I didn't make any of him. My loyalty lies with Peeta. ;)
Have you made any Hunger Games ornaments? 
If so, add a link below to your pictures! I'd love to see them!


Things That Make Me Go Hmmm... District 12 Traditions & Giving Thanks

Entering the holiday season makes me wonder what kind of holidays or traditions Katniss and Peeta would celebrate in Panem. Would each district have their own distinct holidays? Would there be any holidays celebrated in Panem? What kind of traditions would Katniss and Peeta start after the rebellion?

As we know, the annual Hunger Games is probably the biggest "tradition" for the Capitol citizens, and we sense that the mood in the Capitol is festive and holiday-like during the pre- and post-Games celebrations.

But it's not until we read Catching Fire that learn more in-depth of the traditions that might be specific to the districts or just District 12.

Some examples include (SPOILER ALERT):

District Holiday: A celebration in honor of the winning tribute. "A holiday for the whole district with free food and entertainers brought in from the Capitol" (p. 25 in Catching Fire*). Unfortunately for District 12, they only celebrated this holiday three times in 75 years.
Parcel Day: Once a month, the district of the winning tribute is rewarded with "food packages...delivered to every person in the district" (p. 25). Again, this day was rare in District 12.

The Victory Tour: An annual celebration in each district."Strategically placed almost midway between the annual Games, it is the Capitol's way of keeping the horror fresh and immediate. Not only are we in the districts forced to remember the iron grip of the Capitol's power each year, we are forced to celebrate it" (p. 4). We are to assume the Tour is about five or six months after the Games; the celebration in district 12 will fall during their Harvest Festival, which is always held on the last day of the Tour.

Harvest Festival (District 12): "We always celebrate the Harvest Festival on the final day of the Victory Tour, but usually it means a meal at home or with a few friends if you can afford it" (p. 86). The Harvest Festival sounds very similar to the American Thanksgiving and other harvest festivals from around the world. The time frame would be correct, as well, as it seems to occur in November. Even the decor is reminiscent of our own holiday celebration as houses are adorned with "bunches of brightly colored corn affixed to the front doors as decoration for the upcoming Harvest Festival" (p. 13).

Marriage Toasting (District 12): An informal ceremony for newlyweds in district 12. "...there's always a traditional song we sing as the new couple crosses the threshold of their home. And we have our own little ceremony, where they make their first fire, toast a bit of bread, and share it. Maybe it's old-fashioned, but no one really feels married in District 12 until after the toasting" (p. 249).

The Reading of the Card: Every 25 years, the Capitol requires all citizens of Panem to view the reading of the rules for the Quarter Quell (the 25th, 50th, and 75th anniversary celebrations of the Hunger Games). This occurs in late winter, just before the beginning of Spring.

The Reaping: An annual event held in all the districts to select one male and one female tribute for the annual Hunger Games, with the exception of Quarter Quell years when the reaping selection is altered for a new rule change. This is a one-day event and the start time for each district is staggered so viewers in the Capitol can watch all 12 of the district reaping ceremonies.

Hunger Games: The yearly televised competition of 24 youths (except in Quarter Quell years, when the participants may vary because of special rule changes) to fight to the death, with the winning tribute becoming the Victor. The Victor is awarded a new home in Victor's Village, money for food, assigned (or selects) a hobby in place of working the traditional district industry, and their district is awarded free food 12 times throughout the year on Parcel Day.

Quarter Quell: The 25th, 50th, and 75th anniversary Hunger Games. These Games are held every 25 years, calling "for a  glorified version of the Games to make fresh the memory of those killed by the districts' rebellion" (p. 171).

Opening Ceremony: Following the Reaping, the Opening Ceremony occurs the first night the tributes are in the Capitol. They will kick off the tributes' training and interviews before they enter into the arena for the annual Hunger Games.

Tribute Interviews: Caesar Flickerman interviews each tribute on the eve of the Hunger Games each year. He also conducts an interview of the Victor on their last night in the Capitol before returning home after the Games.

I imagine after the most recent rebellion, the only two events that would still be celebrated would be the Marriage Toasting and perhaps the Harvest Festival 

What do you think? 
• Would the citizens still celebrate the Harvest Festival? 
• What other holidays might they celebrate? 
• Would they mark the anniversary of the end of the war? 
• How would they celebrate such an event?
Feel free to post your answers/comment below. 

Also, you can comment on my post from last November, asking what Katniss and Peeta would be thankful for if they did celebrate Thanksgiving.

I believe they would have a lot to be thankful for, especially after what they have gone through. 
And I'd like to take a moment to thank Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games Trilogy for giving us such a rich series, filled with so many topics, themes, conversation points, and lessons to be learned. Without you, Ms. Collins, this blog would not be possible. You have touched so many people around the world, and brought so many together through your literature. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart!

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

*All references to Catching Fire refer to the following edition: Catching Fire By Suzanne Collins - Scholastic Press (2009) - Hardback - 391 pages - ISBN 0439023491


The Hunger Games Movie Trailer Teaching Moment

Screenshot of the Capitol, courtesy of Hunger Games Down With The Capitol

I couldn't resist sharing "The Hunger Games" movie trailer with my students. It was exciting seeing their reactions, sharing in their excitement. Watching movie trailers of your favorite novels can be perfect opportunities for reinforcing the skills your students are already practicing. While they are not quite like comparing the novel to the full-length movie, they can offer shorter opportunities for analysis and comparisons to the text.

To compare the Hunger Games movie trailer to the novel, you can utilize the still shots posted on Down With the Capitol.
Questions that you can present to your students may include:

1. How do the images on the screen compare to your own interpretation of the following places:
  A. District 12
  B. the woods outside District 12
  C. the Capitol
  D. the arena
  the following events:
  A. the Reaping
  B. the Opening Ceremony
  C. training in the Training Center
  D. the Tribute interviews
  the following characters:
  A. Katniss
  B. Gale
  C. Primrose
  D. Peeta
  E. Effie
  F. Cinna
  G. Haymitch
  H. President Snow
  I. Caesar Flickerman
2. What differences do you notice between the novel and the trailer?

3. Why do you think these changes were made?

4. How does the dialogue between characters in the trailer differ from the dialogue in the novel? Which quotes are the same?

5. Which scenes were you hoping to see in the trailer but didn't?

6. Why do you think they were omitted?

7. Which scenes were you pleasantly pleased to see included in the trailer?

8. Do you think the author would be pleased with what she sees on the screen? Why or why not?

9. Does the trailer make you want to see the movie? Why or why not?

You can discuss these questions with your students or have them write their answers. You could even offer it up as an expository writing exercise. If you do a unit on propaganda, critique Lionsgate® on the effectiveness of its advertising and marketing strategies for the movie.

  *You can download a handout to use with ANY novel/movie now! 
Download {HERE}*

Did you show your class the trailer? What was their response?
If you have additional ideas, feel free to share below!


Hunger Games Movie Trailer is Amaaaazing!

So my morning classes and I watched the Good Morning America broadcast of The Hunger Games movie trailer (along with Josh Hutcherson's interview about playing Peeta), and the consensus is two very big thumbs up.

There's so much to talk about, but since I am still at school and need to get some other work done, I promise to write more later. I wanted to let you know you can watch the trailer {HERE} on iTunes and make sure to tune in tonight to The Hunger Games Fireside Chat to talk about the trailer. I am sure the #HeadForTheSquare hashtag will be brought up, as well.

Update (Or, My After-School Comments):
So, there's a few things we discussed in my classes that I thought I would share with you. Feel free to comment below to anything you'd like to share, as well. I've also embedded the trailer, below, for your convenience!

I think everyone agreed that the trailer is amazing and gave viewers even more than we expected. Here are some "critiques" of specifics, but please keep in mind that this is not criticizing the trailer in any way,  just questions/observances that were brought up as we watched it:

1. The district 12 fence:  We pictured it as chain-link electrified fence with barbed wire looped on the top (like you see around prisons). It didn't give the feel of Katniss "sneaking" out to go hunt. Perhaps the imagery of how she had to climb a tree in Catching Fire to get over it is the reason I thought it would be much taller! (And did she already have her weapon when she left the district? She always kept her father's bows/arrows hidden in a hollow tree in the woods.)

2. The hovercraft: Holy smokes! That thing was more massive and military-like than we imagined. But amazing! We also thought it would be quieter. More like a flying saucer. And weren't they hidden in a rocky ledge when they see the Avox girl? Maybe this is a different moment in the movie?

3. Prim crying: It makes sense to have this in the movie. We know Katniss worries inside about her sister, but never really see Prim getting emotional before the Reaping.

4. Reaping: My students did not like Effie's look. They pictured her younger. I actually thought it was a great look. I just imagined her hair pinker. I do love her accent - that is exactly how I imagined her to sound (though I've never pronounced Peeta's last name Ma-lark).

5. Prim's Reaping Slip: Computer printed with her name, rather than handwritten. But what is with the black tag on it? Does that mean that it was rigged? Oh wait...looks like they all have them now that I saw a slow-mo on Tumblr. OK, I take that back!

6. When Katniss volunteers: Oh my...total chills and even choked me up some the first time I saw it. I know I will get emotional at this part in the movie.

7. Peeta: Oh, sweet, sweet Peeta! Love Josh in these scenes. Love Josh as Peeta, period! He truly is perfect!

8. The Capitol: Much darker than I imagined. I thought it would be brighter, more colorful. But I do like this look - goes more with the futuristic dystopian theme.

9. Lenny is awesome! We love Lenny as Cinna.

10. Caesar Flickerman: My students were shocked - they said, "We thought Caesar was old!" But, in the Capitol, you can look ageless, right!? I think Stanley Tucci will be unbelievable in this role. That hair was unexpected! And so, so perfect! ("Why isn't she wearing a jeweled dress? The dress should be jeweled!!" this was heard in each class period. I agree, but...still love!)

11. President Snow: Much bushier beard than I thought he'd have. Thought he would have it more well kept, trimmed. But still love Donald Sutherland in this role!

12. Training center: Why did I always picture this as an actual old-school gymnasium? This training center is so cool! And those stunts. Wow. Just, wow...

13. Where's Haymitch?? Oh, there he is. The 1.2 seconds we get to see him. Really!? Really!? That's all!? We want more Haymitch! We also wonder if he'll fall off the stage at the Reaping and if he'll punch Peeta and Katniss almost stabs his hand on the train. Love those parts!

14. Private session: We truly hope she shoots the apple out of the pig's mouth. We get that glimpse of where the Gamemakers are hanging out, and it will just be perfect!

15. Rue peeking around the corner: Sigh... She looks so sweet and innocent. So sad...

16. Seneca Crane's Beard: This is one of the highlights, or perhaps unexpected bonus, of the trailer (and film): seeing Seneca Crane as Head Gamemaker with that funky Capitol-looking beard. So outrageous, so fitting! The sophomore boys were especially admiring it. Could it be a new trend? What do you think? lol

17. Silent Salute (this is probably out of order): This part gave me complete chills. I love that scene. Katniss must give the district 12 citizens this when she is in the arena?? I do hope the citizens still give it to her at the Reaping, though. And this is nit-picky, but it was the left hand they used in the gesture, not the right. But, it's all good.

18. Katniss going up the tube into the arena: My heart was pounding watching. Breathtaking.

19. Countdown: Does the countdown begin when she is below, or will it begin above ground like in the book? And will it just be 10 seconds or 60? (Sixty is probably too long for a movie, so 10 will probably do.)

20. Where's the Cornucopia? We were hoping to see this 20ft. golden horn.

21. Why are the tributes so close together? We imagined them further apart. This makes it even more...disturbing, almost. How do you get out of that? I guess that's why 11 died in the bloodbath.

22. Not an Orange Backpack: Hmmm....I am sure this will come up in tonight's Fireside Chat!!

23. Wow, Peeta is FAST!

24. What...you can't stop THERE!! Noooooooo...keep going!!! Oh man, we have to wait until March!!??

I am sure there is so much more I am missing here. Which is why I will be tuning in to the Hunger Games Fireside Chat tonight! There's always great conversation and people bring up all those little details the rest of us miss. Make sure you listen at 10 p.m. EST and chat along with us on Twitter using the hashtag #HGFiresideChat.


Things That Make Me Go Hmmm... The "What Ifs"

What if the symbol of the rebellion was an Angry Bird instead of the Mockingjay? 

Yes, this is a silly question, but sometimes those silly questions lead to deep and meaningful debates. I like to ask "What if" questions during class discussions to get my students' creative juices flowing (and engage in some critical thinking, but they don't need to know that's what they're doing).

So for this third installment of "Things That Make Me Go Hmmm...," I've decided to share some of the "what ifs" we discussed in class recently about The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and see if they have you Hmmm?ing, as well. Feel free to share these with your students for discussions or as journal prompts (warning - some spoilers ahead):

• What if Katniss's dad hadn't died? How would Katniss be different? Would she still be as protective of Prim?

•  What if Katniss's mother hadn't become depressed and was able to take care of her family? Would Peeta have found another way to connect with Katniss (since the bread incident would never have happened)?

• What if Katniss didn't volunteer for Prim? Or if Prim refused to let her volunteer? Would Prim be strong enough to survive the Games? Who would her allies be? Would Peeta die for her?

• What if Gale was chosen as the male tribute instead of Peeta? 

• What if Haymitch didn't drink? Would he have a different strategy for Katniss and Peeta? Would they have more sponsors?
• What if Effie wasn't so annoying? What if she was more like Cinna?

• What if they had to walk to the Capitol? How long would it take to get from the Appalachian Mountains to the Rockies? (Forrest Gump might know...)

• What if Cinna wasn't Katniss's stylist? What would her slogan be?

• What if Madge gave Katniss an Angry Bird pin instead of a Mockingjay pin? Would Rue still want to be Katniss's ally?

• What if District 13 wasn't blown off the map by the Capitol but abducted by aliens instead? What if it was just a massive government cover-up? Would life be better for the District 13 citizens in space or on another planet?  

• What if the citizens of District 12 gave Katniss chocolate cookies instead of the silent salute? (That's from my student Brody.)

• What if Katniss had full water bottles in her orange backpack? Would she have played the Game more offensively?

• What if Rue hadn’t warned Katniss about the tracker jacker nest? What would have happened that morning?

• What if Katniss had given Rue her knife when they split up? Would she have been able to cut herself out of the net and get away from Marvel?

• What if Rue lived and they announced that two tributes could win if they were from the same district; would Rue and Katniss break their alliance? Would Katniss still seek out Peeta? Would the four of them take on the Careers and Foxface? 

• What if the final three tributes alive were Katniss, Peeta, and Rue? Would any of them be able to kill each other? (This question courtesy of The Hunger Games Fireside Chat.)

• What if the arena really was a big cake with frosting?

You can have your students come up with their own "What if..." questions. Have them write them down on a little square of scratch paper and put them in a bowl (or old coffee grounds container; old OxyClean containers also work well) and have other students draw a question from the container to discuss or write about.

And to make your job easier, I've already copied these down (with additional questions) and placed them in a table that can be copied and cut into squares for students to draw. And there's some blank ones so they can make up their own "What if..." questions. Enjoy!

Hunger Games Lessons is not affiliated or associated with author Suzanne Collins, Scholastic Books/Scholastic, Inc., The Hunger Games trilogy, Lionsgate® Movies, Angry Birds, or any of the aforementioned’s affiliates.

Hunger Games Full-Length Trailer to Debut on Good Morning America Monday

So I really won't need to buy tickets to Breaking Dawn now. Good Morning America (GMA) will be debuting the full-length trailer Monday (Nov. 14) morning. To find out more about the trailer and other great Hunger Games news, check in with the ever-awesome fansite The Hunger Games Down With the Capitol to stay in-the-know!


The Hunger Games Full Length Trailer: One Reason to See Breaking Dawn Movie

Photo courtesy of Hunger Games Philippines Tumblr

So, even though I did love reading the Twilight Saga novels, I have to admit that I have NOT been a fan of the movies at all. The acting has completely turned me off and after having to see Twilight right away in the theater, I waited until New Moon and Eclipse were out on DVD before seeing.

But...with the news that The Hunger Games full-length trailer WILL debut with the Breaking Dawn, part 1, movie, well, I think I might just have to suck it up and go see it.

What do you think? Would you go to a movie just to see a trailer? Kind of crazy, huh? But, it's The Hunger Games, so it's all good...


The Hunger Games Teaching Unit Updates

Do you teach The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins? If so, you'll want to check out my newly-updated teaching unit!

My best-selling Hunger Games Teaching Unit digital download now includes the following files:
• Common Core Standards chart with alignment to my lessons
• Added even more to my discussion questions
• Updated my Settings, Theme, Symbolism, and Map of Panem file to include new information provided by TheCapitol.pn
• Included a separate Teacher's Guide to the Setting file
• New organization/structure and pages added to the Student Survival Pack
• Newly updated Teacher's Guide to the Student Survival Pack
• Included a sneak peek at some of my new Katniss Character Analysis handouts
• Added the Additional Symbolism file

Those who order the CD will automatically have these updates. Those who purchased my digital unit will want to re-download the file (free) by logging on to their TpT purchases page and reactivating the file. Then you have 24 hours to download it again.

I have appreciated everyone's feedback on my unit; your suggestions have helped me make some great improvements and I love hearing of your success stories! Remember to send me any links to stories, pictures, or websites that show your students/class/school (or student work) so I can showcase them on my page. :)

Thanks so much for your continued support of your fellow teachers on TeachersPayTeachers.com! It's such a wonderful way to help one another in a profession that gets more demanding each year.


Things That Make Me Go Hmmm... The Feast Backpacks

This post does contain spoilers to the later chapters of the novel, so please wait to read if you haven't finished through chapter 25.
For the second installment of "Things that make me go hmmm..." I wanted to bring up the feast at the Cornucopia in chapter 21 of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

In that chapter, Katniss goes to the feast to get the small pack that contains the life-saving medicine for Peeta. She sees the two large black packs, medium-sized green pack, and the one meant for her. We later learn in chapter 25 that the District 2 pack probably contained body armor to protect from Katniss' arrows (and other weapons). Although, since Thresh took both packs, it could have been in either one. And we already know what was inside the tiny District 12 pack. So, what did Foxface's (District 5) and Thresh's (District 11) contain?

We know that Thresh's was a large one just like the District 2's. Did it also contain body armor to protect Thresh from Cato and Clove's knives and swords (Clove was still alive when the packs appeared near the Cornucopia)? He didn't need food (Katniss remarks he looked better fed than when the Games started) and he wasn't injured.
Katniss also comments that perhaps one of the tributes needs a blanket. Did Thresh's contain a blanket, or was that what Foxface's contained? When Foxface dies, her body was so thin, so that could be an indication that she didn't get food in her pack. But, it also indicates that it might be the one thing she needed the most. But if it was, then why was she stealing food from Peeta? 
We never learn what those two packs contained, so I asked my students what they thought. There's no wrong answers, of course. (Unless we find out in the movie what they contain, but that's not until March.) So here are some of their replies:

Thresh's District 11 Pack: battle armor just like Cato's, a weapon to protect himself from Cato, food, a battle ax, vanishing cream so no one could find him (it obviously didn't work), something to keep him warm, a tent, more rocks (his favorite weapon), a weapon and armor (because he killed Clove with a rock, he obviously didn't have one or get one at the Cornucopia), and my favorite answer: his pack had the armor and Cato's had food because he and Clove probably didn't know how to feed themselves (then Cato stole the pack of armor after he killed Thresh).

Foxface's District 5 Pack: a new pair of light sneakers so she can continue to sneak around unheard, sleeping bag to keep warm, a weapon to defend herself, night-vision glasses so she could steal food at night, "slippers of silence," food, and my favorite answer: a heat-reflecting sleeping bag and warm gloves and hat to keep from dying from hypothermia.

So what do YOU think was in the other packs at the feast? 

Take it one step further: why do you think the two larger packs are black, the medium green, and the smallest orange? Is there any significance to the colors of the packs? Why not have them all the same color since they are already labeled with their district numbers? Certainly the Capitol would be able to find packs all the same color, right? What do you think?


Hunger Games Classroom Training Games, vol. 2

Hunger Games Mock Reaping Classroom Games
Camouflaging the orange backpack...

If you head over to the Hunger Games Lessons Facebook page, you can see the photos I uploaded of our classroom training Games. These were the training challenges the Gamemakers came up with to assess each Tribute and rank them from the 1-12 scale like the real Tributes from the novel are ranked.

Each Tribute had three activities in which they were assessed. My first period Gamemakers came up with target shooting (Nerf gun), agility (obstacle course with a sword-fighting challenge thrown in at the end), and speed (running a 40-yard sprint). Second period Gamemakers had target shooting, camouflage (camouflaging the orange backpack!), and agility by dodging fireballs (nerf-like balls). And my sixth period Gamemakers came up with speed (running a down & back for a total of about 50 yards), knot tying, and camouflage.
Hunger Games Lessons: The Hunger Games Mock Reaping Classroom Games www.hungergameslessons.com
Tributes could use anything in nature to help camouflage their "backpack."
For the final Games, they'll be playing Gamemaker-selected Wii games in which they can compete against one another (without actually causing anyone physical harm). We'll set up the "arena" in the library where they have a lot of room to compete. I am sure after all the Tributes are done the Mentors/Escorts, Stylists, and Gamemakers will want to have their own challenge. Maybe President Snow will even make an appearance for a little Wii boxing!? We'll see...

Hunger Games Lessons: The Hunger Games Mock Reaping Classroom Games www.hungergameslessons.com
Dodging fireballs...
This is the second year we've had the class "Games," and the students have enjoyed it so far. It's a great way to get them physically involved and collaborate with a "team" (each district & the Gamemakers comprised teams of 4 students each). Plus, I happen to love letting them be creative, so this is one of the many ways they can express it in class.

Sponsor a Tribute Example for The Hunger Games Class Mock Reaping & Training
Mentors made propaganda posters for their Tributes. Later, sponsors will have the chance to place bets or sponsor the Tributes of their choice. To earn $$$, citizens must excel at various evil things like tests, reviews, and other assessments President Snow has decided for them. They'll also earn Panem cash just for being citizens, of course. And citizens from other sectors of Panem (aka the rest of the school community) will have the option of sponsoring a tribute, as well.

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