Happy New Year! Resolutions, Freebie, & Hunger Games Haymitch Humor

Happy New Year! From www.hungergameslessons.com and www.traceeorman.com

Happy New Year, Friends!

I apologize for my lack of posts lately. I've been pretty busy this month working on my Divergent novel unit (I'll post the link as soon as I get it up), so my blogging has been obsolete lately.

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My resolution is to blog a little more here and on my other blog: Mrs. Orman's Classroom. How about you? What do you resolve to do in 2014?

In case you haven't seen it yet, here's my 2014 New Year Activities FREE download. Enjoy!

Free 2014 New Year Activities


And last but certainly not least, here's some Haymitch humor for you. Seemed fitting on New Year's to include him. ;)

Please be responsible. Unlike Haymitch.

Hey Hay... Let the par-tay begin!


"A Christmas Story," "I, Frankenstein," and Random Memes

Ralphie Meets Katniss - Click for more funny memes on www.hungergameslessons.com

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HAPPY FESTIVUS! (Yes, today celebrates Festivus, but I won't be airing my grievances...)

It's holiday break, so I hope you are enjoying some much-needed rest and relaxation, my teacher friends! As you can see, I have slacked off blogging this month. But with finals given, my grades posted, and my Christmas shopping almost all done, I thought I would have a little fun and make some memes for you to enjoy. Feel free to share, pin, and post. A link back would be great, but as long as you don't crop out my url, you're good. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Above, I thought I would have fun with Ralphie from "A Christmas Story" and Katniss from "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." And below, another variation...

Katniss thinks Ralphie should shoot a bow and arrow instead of a Red Ryder BB Gun:

Who needs a Red Ryder BB gun when you can shoot a bow & arrow? Click for more funny memes on www.hungergameslessons.com

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Did you see the trailer to "I, Frankenstein" when you went to "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"? If so, what do you think of the monster referring to himself as Frankenstein? English teachers know that Frankenstein was actually the doctor who created the monster. But according to "A Dictionary of Modern American Usage" published by the Oxford University Press, the use of Frankenstein to refer to the monster is now acceptable. What do you think, English teachers? Does it bother you at all?

You might be an English Teacher if you think it should be "I, Frankenstein's Monster" Click for more funny memes on www.hungergameslessons.com

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I also posted this on my Instagram and Mrs. Orman's Classroom blog. When I gave my students their final exam over Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, it included a nice little typo. I was completely unaware because my spell check has already learned the word "mockingjay," of course. Had I read it aloud as I tell my students to do before they turn things in, I would have caught it. Instead, one of my 5th period sophomores pointed out the mistake when he asked me if he should write about Katniss. ;)

To Kill a Mockingjay? Click for more funny images on www.hungergameslessons.com

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This is for my Pinterest Grammar Errors board. My nephew was so kind to allow me to photograph his shirt, in which he had printed that he was his classmate's #1 fan. But they forgot to put the apostrophe in "Owen's".  *cringe*
*Owen's #1 fan #grammarfail

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Here's another image from my Instagram. After seeing a similar "Phone Jail" on Pinterest, I decided to make my own.
Phone Jail from www.hungergameslessons.com Click for more images

 But the problem is...
Overflowing Phone Jail from www.hungergameslessons.com Click for more images
Yep, my 5th period English class is overflowing. This is only about half of the students. Guess I need a bigger jail. (Disclaimer: My students all have laptops, so they still have immediate access to technology. During tests, however, I do require they leave them with me. Also if I catch them SnapChatting.)

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Happy Holidays from Hunger Games Lessons! www.hungergameslessons.com

And a couple of images to leave you to wish you a Holly Jolly Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Wonderful Holiday, whatever you celebrate! And if you are a Festivus worshiper, here's something special for you...

Replace your Festivus pole with a wrecking ball. :) Same thing, right?

Have a Wrecking Christmas! Click for more funny images from www.hungergameslessons.com

This image was made by one of our students and displayed in our commons in December. 
I laughed every time I walked past it.

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Images were taken/created by ©Tracee Orman. All Rights Reserved. 
Images used in depictions by Lion Gate® Entertainment and MGM/UA Entertainment Company
Wrecking Ball Christmas made by an Erie High School student
Citation for Frankenstein usage: Bryan Garner, "A Dictionary of Modern American Usage", New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998


Hunger Games Freebies

Free resources for The Hunger Games trilogy - Bookmark this!

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Are you looking for free activities to use while teaching The Hunger Games trilogy? Then you've found the right place! Not only do I have plenty of free printables that are ready-to-use immediately, but I have numerous discussion topics with specific questions to ask your students in my blog posts.

To find them, just click on the links below. You'll find these same buttons on my side bar, too. So if you forget to bookmark this page, you can still click on the buttons to get what you need!

But just in case, you might want to bookmark me now. ;)

Hunger Games Freebies - Free Resources for Teachers

Hunger Games Connections: Articles Related to The Hunger Games Trilogy

And with the Olympics coming up, you won't want to miss any of my Olympic-related posts, connecting The Hunger Games with the events. Click on the button below to find my previous posts and any new ones I post.

The Olympics and The Hunger Games Related Articles

Some of my most popular lessons, such as my Twitter Tweets (featuring a sample profile of Katniss Everdeen) are FREE!

Katniss Everdeen Twitter Profile via www.hungergameslessons.com

Don't forget to download the free resource from Teach.com for incorporating pop culture into your curriculum. 


Is Black Friday Shopping Really That Different from The Hunger Games?

Is #BlackFriday shopping any different than the #HungerGames? Post on www.hungergameslessons.com

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Earlier today the headlines read "Violence flares as shoppers slug it out for the best Black Friday deals." Really? Is saving a few bucks on a big-screen TV worth risking your life? Apparently so...

This is one of my "Things that make me go hmmmm..." posts where I wonder what is wrong with humans when we are willing to incite violence over something as petty as a parking spot? How far off is this from the real (albeit fictional) Hunger Games in Panem? Could we be closer than we think to living in this dystopian world?

Let's look at the proof we have:

The Reaping
-In The Hunger Games trilogy, District children between the ages of 12-18 are reaped for the Games, though other children may volunteer to spare a fellow citizen.

-In the U.S., Black Friday shoppers are all volunteers, unless you are dragged there by a friend, spouse, or other family member. In some cases, bribery may be used to sweeten the deal.

Marketing for the Games
-Sponsors fork over tons of money to the Gamemakers to ensure their favored tribute wins the Games.

-Advertisers fork out tons of money to entice shoppers into their stores.

Mad Dash to the Cornucopia
-When the gong sounds, tributes sprint toward the cornucopia and fight over the best weapons and supplies.

-When the doors open, shoppers sprint to the designated displays to fight over the sale merchandise.

The Lone Victor
-Only one tribute becomes a Victor. The rest, of course, die.

-The only Victors on Black Friday are the people who stay home, realizing they don't need to fight to the death over junk they don't need.

Seems to me that our priorities are seriously messed up. At least Katniss volunteered for a noble cause: to save her sister. Any parent who risks their life to get a toy for a child is sending that child the message that the toy is more important than having a parent. And any kid who is bratty enough to prefer a toy over their parent is spoiled rotten doesn't deserve the toy in the first place.

How much more violence will it take for people to rise up and say enough is enough? Considering that it looks like this has been one of the most successful Black Fridays in recent years, my guess is not for a while.

*  *  *

Classroom Connections: Have your students read about the violence that has occurred on past Black Friday shopping days. Then ask them:
-What could the stores have done differently?
Classroom Connections: Black Friday shopping-What could stores do in the future to prevent violent outbursts?

For a math connection: Have your students research the economic benefits of Black Friday shopping. Ask them:
-What would happen to the economy if there weren't sales on Black Friday?
-Would shoppers still buy the items they normally would during a sale? Or would they buy fewer items?

For social studies connection:
-When did Black Friday shopping sales begin?
-What was the reason (or event) that triggered that trend?


Incorporate Pop Culture into Your Curriculum to Connect with Teens

Sparking Their Interest: Engaging Students with "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"

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Incorporating pop culture into your lessons has many benefits. The folks over at Teach.com and USC Rossier School of Education understand the impact it can have, which is why we teamed up to bring you this great free downloadable resource!

I'm so excited to share with you Sparking Their Interest: Engaging Students with "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire". Click on the link and you can read the articles and download the free resource. It includes numerous ways you can bring a spark to your lessons and watch your students become more engaged and vested into what you are trying to accomplish. (Download also found below.)

I Teach to Make Reading Fun!

If you teach The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, or Mockingjay, feel free to place the special button on your website, as well! Click on it to get the html code.

I hope you enjoy the FREE download! And I'd like to thank Stephan Maldonado and the folks at Teach.com for doing a fabulous job putting the packet together for all of you!


Catching Fire Movie Review Part 2: Least Favorite Moments *Spoiler Alert*

My least favorite moments from Catching Fire - from www.hungergameslessons.com

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While I actually really liked the sequel "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire", there were a few things that kind of disappointed me. Are these deal-breakers? Not really, though the subtle hint at what is to come kind of worries me (I address this in my final point, below). Overall, I think the movie was a much better representation of the novel than the first. You can read all my favorite moments HERE. Continue on for my least favorite (which is a much smaller list, by the way).

*This list contains SPOILERS to the Catching Fire novel and movie AND Mockingjay novel.*

Moments that disappointed in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" movie:

• Plutarch's missing watch...why leave it out? Was it going to be too obvious? Too much of a giveaway? I don't know, but it seemed such an important part of the book and I couldn't help being disappointed when it was left out.

Missing from the movie? Peeta and the Morphling from District 6

• Peeta training with the morphlings...This isn't really a disappointing scene since it was left out. We're teased about it in US Weekly, but it never made it to the final cut. I really hope they put the deleted scenes on the DVD extras. I'd like to see more of everything from the movie!

• Katniss's Jesus-like sacrificial crane ride into the hovercraft...This was a little too overdone for my taste. I get that it's symbolic; I get that she thinks she is dead (anyone who read the book knows this already). So when she takes this ride up I really didn't need the arms-out Jesus-on-the-cross image to reinforce it. Besides, the flames below only made her outline look even more green-screened and fake.

• Finnick's unemotional appeal on the hovercraft...In the book, Finnick is ready to die alongside Katniss; he's an emotional wreck. The fact that Annie will probably be tortured by President Snow is too much to bear. And yet, here he is in the movie scheming along with Haymitch and Plutarch, not at all frazzled and desperate.

• The final scene with Katniss on the table...The second time I saw the movie, all I could think about was how much it reminded me of Bella in Twilight's Breaking Dawn Part 1 final scene. *Cringe* I know there is absolutely no comparison, but this really didn't do it for me for the ending.
  I see the look of terror in her eyes, then she slightly squints, telling us that she wants to seek revenge against the Capitol. But that's not how the book ends. Nor is it how Mockingjay starts. She wants nothing to do with this rebellion. She doesn't want to be the damn mockingjay. It infuriates her when she realizes she's just a pawn. She is so against the rebellion, it takes five chapters in Mockingjay to convince her to be the mockingjay. And even then she only does it on certain conditions.
  But, the look in her eyes at the end of the movie tells us she has committed to the cause, like a soldier who has signed on to fight in a war, not realizing the horrors that come next. Like she has it all together and will help lead the revolution. Somehow that look in her eyes at the end felt fake, contrived, because Katniss never really feels this way in the novels. Not once does Suzanne Collins glorify war in her novels. Not a single death is gratifying, including those of Presidents Coin and Snow. Katniss is an utter wreck at the end of Catching Fire; if she had squeezed her eyes closed and let a single tear fall, that final scene would have been more fitting.

My final notes:
My least favorite moments from Catching Fire
After Katniss shoots the forcefield,
none of the characters are ever the same again.
  If Francis Lawrence wants to show how war hurts everyone, he can't show Katniss as a strong warrior anymore. We know from the books that as soon as Katniss lets that arrow fly into the forcefield, none of the characters–besides maybe Beetee–are ever the same again, including the Girl on Fire. They are merely survivors in a world they don't even want to belong. Depressing? Yes.
  But we must put aside this desperation to make Katniss commercially appealing in order to stay true to the message of the novels: war is completely depressing. Everyone loses. Everyone is broken. And we spend our entire lives trying to put the pieces back together.

Which moments were less-than-stellar in your opinion? Please share in the comments below.

Sources--All references to and images from the movie and novel are credited to:
©2013"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" Lions Gate Entertainment Inc.® http://www.lionsgate.com/
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins ©Sep 2009, Suzanne Collins, publ. Scholastic Press978-0-439-02349-8 http://www.scholastic.com/home/
Other images: Hunger Games Explorer - http://www.thehungergamesexplorer.com/us/

Catching Fire Movie Review, Part 1: Scenes That Wowed Me *Spoiler Alert*

Favorite Moments from "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" movie

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  "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" is fast-paced and stays relatively true to the books. I have seen the movie twice and in both instances am thoroughly impressed with the acting, the sequence of events, and the choices the director–Francis Lawrence–makes. It is much more satisfying than the first movie, though I still worry about some of the themes translating to those who have not read the books.
  The following list includes my favorite moments from the movie. I will include my least-favorite in a separate post. Please note: there are movie and book *spoilers* to both Catching Fire AND Mockingjay in my lists!

Moments that WOWed me in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire":

District 11 Silent Salute - Favorite Moments from Catching Fire movie
• District 11 Victory Tour stop...everything about that scene was spot-on. And it was just as heart-breaking–if not more–seeing it as it was reading it. When Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) looked at Rue's family and began talking about how she sees Rue in the wildflowers, in the mockingjays, and especially in her sister Prim, the tears started streaming. They played the same heart-wrenching music we heard in "The Hunger Games" after Rue's death, which was a reminder of the first round of tears shed for Rue. But the moment that actually made me choke back some sobs was when the old man whistled and gave Katniss the silent salute. Jennifer Lawrence's reaction mimicked the audience's: the horror, the helplessness, the disgust of the atrocity that happens next to the old man. Peeta's (Josh Hutcherson's) reaction had the same horrified look when the trigger was pulled. Thankfully the door closes to spare the audience–and keep it at a PG-13 rating–but that doesn't mean it didn't diminish the effect of what had happened. The Capitol's reaction to the seemingly innocent whistle and salute is still frighteningly terrifying.

• Snow's granddaughter...what a great addition to the story! It will tie in very nicely with Mockingjay and really showcased Katniss's impact with the Capitol audience.

A favorite moment in Catching Fire: Seeing the "real" Buttercup

• Buttercup is back...Thank you, Suzanne Collins, for insisting that Buttercup's portrayal is true to the novels. Yes, it's a small detail. But it is only when Buttercup returns to District 12 looking for Prim that both the reader and Katniss finally grieve and come to terms with the loss of the beloved character.

Favorite moments in Catching Fire: Stanley Tucci as Caesar FlickermanFavorite moments in Catching Fire: Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket

• Effie and Caesar, aka Elizabeth Banks and Stanley Tucci. Their acting provided the perfect comic relief. If it weren't for the scenes these two played in, it would have been such a depressing movie. They both showcased the ridiculous and outlandish Capitol attitude of excess and egocentrism.

• "Always"...though we never know what the word is that Peeta says to Katniss as he stays with her in the novel Catching Fire (in this case, on the train rather than at her home after she injures her tailbone and ankle), we do get to hear him say it in the movie. Though I would have liked a little warmer bonding between the two in this scene and in prior scenes, I love that they included it because it tells me they won't leave it out in "Mockingjay Part 2." It's that one word that brings the old Peeta back from his highjacked state, and lets Katniss know that he IS still in there, he does still love her, she just has to help him find his way back; it's the word that tells her she can't kill him no matter how much he begs her to end his life. Bravo to Francis Lawrence for including this line.

• "Fire in the house!"...Claudius Templesmith's line shouted during the Opening Ceremony was one of the funniest moments for me. In fact, the banter between him and Caesar was perfection.

Favorite moments in Catching Fire: Sam Caflin as Finnick Odair

• Finnick Odair...It makes me wonder why anyone would have questioned the decision to cast Sam Caflin as Finnick. He was almost exactly as I pictured Finnick with his stunning smile and cocky attitude. When he offers Katniss a sugar cube, I was hooked.

• Cinna's farewell...You know it's coming, but nothing prepares you for the inhumanity of Cinna's punishment for transforming Katniss's wedding dress into a mockingjay. Just watch Katniss and you can't help feeling the injustice, helplessness, and fear as she enters the arena.

Favorite moments in Catching Fire: Lynn Cohen as Mags

• Mags...every scene that Lynn Cohen played in was perfect. When Mags meets Katniss for the first time, no words are needed. Her eyes show us all the emotion we need: she feels for Katniss, respects that she volunteered for her sister, and believes in her. Mags shows us how others see Katniss: the symbol of hope, the hope for change, the possibility that someday they can be free. Pretty deep when you consider she says it all without uttering a single word.

• Peeta's "death" in the arena...When Peeta hits the forcefield and Finnick saves his life, it's Katniss's reaction that is so stirring. Enough to affect even Snow's granddaughter. I love that we see Finnick look at Katniss strangely in that scene because it foreshadows the Mockingjay scene when he tells Katniss that he knew she loved Peeta (that it wasn't an act) when she thought Peeta was dead in the arena. To me, this shows such attention to detail by director Francis Lawrence. He knew he had to have Finnick react that way in order to pull off that Mockingjay scene.

Favorite Moments from Catching Fire movie: The depiction of the monkey mutts

• The monkeys...Oh. My. Word. They were incredibly disturbing. No, they weren't really orange, but that didn't bother me. This scene happens in the early morning, so it is still dark. And thank God it is. I think if we saw that scene in full daylight, it would have been even more frightening.

• The jabberjays...Again, a stunning and emotionally-terrifying scene. Jennifer Lawrence and Sam Caflin are convincingly tormented by the cries from their loved ones; Josh Hutcherson is equally remarkable trying to convince Katniss that they aren't real. This scene truly portrayed the psychological agony felt by the tributes.

• "There's no one left I love."...Johanna Mason (played brilliantly by Jena Malone) is every bit attitude and spunk as she is in the book. Her line about having no one left really digs deep.

• Beach scene...I loved the locket (and how this was foreshadowed when Effie says to Peeta, "This is the item we discussed..." tipping us off that they had a private conversation about it; it makes me love Effie even more that she got the pictures of Katniss's mom, sister, and Gale for Peeta). I loved how Peeta tried to convince Katniss that she should live. I just wish there was a little more to this scene.

Which leads me to my least-favorite moments. You can read those HERE. But you'll notice the list is much smaller than this. I really did like this movie and thought it was so much better than the first. I think you'll be satisfied with it as a sequel. Please share your thoughts and comments below.

Sources--All references to and images from the movie and novel are credited to:
©2013"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" Lions Gate Entertainment Inc.® http://www.lionsgate.com/
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins ©Sep 2009, Suzanne Collins, publ. Scholastic Press978-0-439-02349-8 http://www.scholastic.com/home/
Buttercup: https://twitter.com/QuarterQuellOrg/status/389516132975394817/photo/1
Other images: Hunger Games Explorer - http://www.thehungergamesexplorer.com/us/

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