Happy Easter, Friends!

Happy Easter! May the peeps be ever in your favor.

For those who celebrate it, Happy Easter! 

I don't know the original source of the Peeps-inspired parody, but The Hunger Games Community Facebook Page posted it this morning. 

{If you know who created it, please comment below so I can credit that person. Thanks!}

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Catching Fire: Interview Foreshadowing

Catching Fire Interview Foreshadowing "Just Winging It" www.hungergameslessons.com

In chapter 17, pages 248-249, Cinna has just helped Katniss into her wedding gown for the final tribute interviews with Caesar Flickerman. After instructing her to do a twirl like she had the previous year, Cinna asks Katniss what her plans are for the interview. She replies, "...this year I'm just winging it."

Oh, how I love Suzanne Collins' style!

Once again, these are the gems we get to enjoy on re-reads. I gave my students who had already read Catching Fire a choice between re-reading and reading a different novel. Only one chose to read a different novel. For anyone who argues that students aren't getting anything out of re-reading a book, I have to say that perhaps they get even more out of it. So many of them flew through the trilogy and cannot even remember big events that took place. These re-reads offer the opportunity to see the book from the perspective of knowing how it ends, causing them to read a little bit closer and enjoying lines like Katniss' above. Have your students who have already read the book seek out these hints of foreshadowing. They'll be amazed at how many they find and will appreciate the author's craft.

Classroom Connections: Exploring foreshadowing while re-reading Catching Fire on www.hungergameslessons.com

Image credits:
Cinna's Capitol Portrait by Lions Gate Movies®, courtesy of www.CapitolCouture.pn
Mockingjay Dress by Grednforgesgirl on www.DeviantArt.com
Catching Fire quote written by Suzanne Collins
Compiled by Tracee Orman, Hunger Games Lessons


March Madness, Panem-Style!

Every year I get the March Madness fever. I don't watch basketball at all throughout the year (except for my son's team, of course), but when those NCAA brackets are released, I'm a sucker for trying to pick the winners.
Hunger Games Character Bracket by Deanna B.
Student example by Deanna B.

My students tend to catch the fever, too, so this year I decided to create some literature-inspired brackets so we could take that same enthusiasm for basketball and apply it to class.

Since my seniors are reading Catching Fire right now I gave them blank ones so they could seed the characters. But...I couldn't let them have all the fun. As they argued who would win in a competition between Prim and Rue (gasp!), I started filling one out for all the characters in the trilogy (actually, I couldn't fit them all). I've uploaded the image and placed it below, but you can download the PDF free in my teacher store for a better-quality printable. I uploaded some blank brackets that can be used for any novel, story, or history lesson, too.

So...who would YOU choose to win in my Hunger Games version of March Madness?
The Hunger Games Trilogy Tournament Bracket www.hungergameslessons.com
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Download the free activities to use in your classroom here:
The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay Tournament Madness Brackets
Literature & History Tournament Madness Brackets

Note: This is not associated with the NCAA March Madness tournament or any of its affiliates or sponsors. It is for educational purposes only.


Happy St. Patrick's Day, Haymitch Style: Exploring Heritage in The Hunger Games

Every Day is St. Patrick's Day for Haymitch: Exploring Heritage in The Hunger Games Trilogy

St. Patrick's Day seems to be a fitting holiday for Haymitch: stumbling drunks are just part of the festivities.
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But, it does make me wonder (perhaps I should write, "it's one of the Things That Make Me Go Hmmmm...") about different heritages and ethnic backgrounds of the characters in The Hunger Games trilogy.

I first read about the topic on a guest post by Elizabeth Baird Hardy (EBH: Don't Go Down Into That Hole...) on the Hogwarts Professor website April 14, 2010. We then had a nice exchange in the comments section about the roots of the characters from District 12, especially Katniss and the other Seam characters (I posted as "Tracee"). 

Obviously in the movie Haymitch is portrayed with blonde hair; but in the book, he is "Seam" like Katniss and Gale with gray eyes, olive skin, and dark hair. The term "Melungeon" is brought up by commenter "Laurelkat" in the article, which sparks everyone's interest. This was the first time I had heard that term used to describe the Seam characters, but it certainly isn't the last time it's explored.

Classroom Connections
Have your students use inductive reasoning (context clues of character descriptions: physical traits, personalities, habits, dialects, location in Panem, etc.) to infer the District 12 citizens' background/ethnicity. 

As an added challenge, have students try to infer the other district citizens' roots. Depending on which book your students are reading, some districts may have no context clues to draw from. For readers of The Hunger Games, have them attempt District 11. Readers of Catching Fire can attempt Districts 3, 4, 7, and 11. And readers of all three can try to attempt them all. 


Celebrating Shakespeare: The Ides of March Are Come...But Not Gone

Share your favorite quotes from Shakespeare
March 15th is upon us, which means it is officially the ides of March, or middle of the month. Of course, this statement has much deeper meaning than just professing the date. It is the day Julius Caesar was stabbed 23 times--and warned almost as many times--in William Shakespeare's play The Tragedy of Julius Caesar.
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Instead of rewriting another post to commemorate this date, please read the one I wrote two years ago:

Also, you can find many connections between The Hunger Games trilogy (in particular Mockingjay) and Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. Julius Caesar was not the only character who lost his life in a brutal manner on the ides of March. Cinna the poet is also brutally attacked for having the same name as a conspirator. Even after finding out he is not a conspirator, the angry mob murders him "for his bad verses." Re-read page 334 of Mockingjay--in particular about the "unfortunate incident." Coincidence? I think not.

There are so many allusions like this in the trilogy, which makes it all the more interesting when you re-read the series. So today, on the ides of March, let's celebrate the richness of literature and share our favorite quotes from Shakespeare and/or The Hunger Games trilogy. Please add yours in the comments below.
"Cowards die many times before their deaths..." The Tragedy of Julius Caesar
Caesar's response to Calpurnia when she is urging him to stay home.
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"Ambition should be made of sterner stuff." The Tragedy of Julius Caesar
From Mark Antony's funeral speech.
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You can find materials for both Julius Caesar and Mockingjay (with connections to Caesar) in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Font in images by Kimberly Geswein.


Snow Day? Every day is Snow Day in Panem

Snow day? Every day is Snow Day in Panem. www.hungergameslessons.com

We have a snow day today, so I couldn't resist making this meme with President Snow. 
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While I'm at it, here are some of my favorite images lately (these were not created by me):

They reapin' errbody out there.
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If we burn, you burn with us.
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I'm Super Sirius.
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If we could learn to spell, that'd be great.
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You can find many of these and more on my English Teacher GeekClassroom Humor, The Hunger Games, and Grammar Errors Pinterest boards. I also have Catching Fire and Mockingjay boards! :)

And don't forget to check out CapitolCouture.pn and The Hunger Games Movie Facebook for the latest "Catching Fire" images. You can find Caesar Flickerman's on Fandango.


Meme Assignment Your Students Will Love

Assignments Your Students Will Love

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Teaching the second half of the year is always the most challenging. We have fewer breaks and we all tend to get spring fever. If you have seniors, there's also the dreaded "senioritis" they all seem to come down with. (I think my seniors had it by the second week of school.)

It's even more important during this time of year, though, to offer engaging assignments they want to do. Yet, it's hard coming up with new ideas. Instead of trying to create them all yourself, just get to know your students. Last year when my students were fixated with websites like High School Memes, I decided to utilize that obsession with a meme assignment: create a meme related to the chapter we just read. I expanded the activity when I posted my "Meme Activity..." in my teacher store, which includes a presentation on what memes are, an icebreaker meme assignment, and a mini-research project about memes. It's a versatile bundle that any content teacher can utilize in class. I also have a full set of classroom posters teachers can download with popular memes I created. Check them out here: Teacher memes for classroom display or presentations.

Recently, my seniors made some memes based on Part I of Catching Fire. Some made additional memes for The Hunger Games, and some--who have read the entire series--were excited to create memes for the rest of Catching Fire and Mockingjay. I won't post those yet, but I do want to warn you if you haven't read Catching Fire: spoilers ahead!
Catching Fire Memes - Created by Students
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You might be wondering, "What are the educational benefits of assigning a meme?" That is a valid question. Looking at the finished product, you probably won't see the learning process that went into it. But if you observe your students while they are working on them, here's what you'll find:
• Students re-reading the text to find something they can parody or reference.
• Students asking one another questions, such as, "Which character said...?" and "Didn't this event take place at...?" and "Why didn't you use this picture? Doesn't it go better with that scene?"
• Students using technology to create the actual meme (some used meme generators online, while others found images and used programs on their MacBooks to add their own text, such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Fireworks, or Pages).
• Students editing their own work and peer editing one another's. (I stipulated that they needed correct spelling and usage, though some misspellings, like "Capitol" with an "a" instead of an "o" slipped through.)
• Students critiquing one another's finished product and offering suggestions, even explaining and justifying their choices.

Not only do they allow students to engage in critical analysis of each other's work, they also offer opportunities for deeper class discussions. Memes mimic real life; touchy topics are exposed, opening up your classroom to complex conversations you may have otherwise skipped.  

Use Memes to Discuss More Serious Topics in Class
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Do you use memes in class? Comment below and see my Facebook page for more conversation about using memes in class.

Assign a Meme for a Chapter Summary or Review
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And one last thing: not all of the memes students turn in will be school-appropriate, no matter how many warnings you give them. For some students, they honestly don't realize where they crossed the line. For others, they are just testing the waters. I let them state their justification for using it and ask if there would have been a better way to say the same thing without losing the point. Some students made great arguments; others, not so much. But I believe in giving them the opportunity to be responsible rather than eliminate the activity all together. Here are a few that were questionable for various reasons. (Keep in mind these were made by 17, 18, and 19-year old students, so I'm more accepting of things that I wouldn't allow in my other classes.) Frankly, they still made me laugh!
Catching Fire Memes #HungerGames
Catching Fire meme: Romulus Thread #HungerGames

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Meme Activity for class includes:
Engaging Meme Activity for Any Class

Engaging Meme Activity for Any Class with Teacher PresentationMeme Activity with Student Templates You Can Share Electronically

Meme posters for your classroom:

Teacher memes posters bundle

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