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Archive for March, 2012

I have mentally written this blog since I started this unit in January, but have been completely swamped. The Hunger Games has been one of my favorite books since I read it. This year, I was blessed with an Honors class that was actually willing to work outside of class (read an additional 10-13 pages a night and answer story questions EVERY night–on top of their regular English Homework.), so I decided to go for it. I received an amazing start from Tracee Orman, who has a TON of information available for on Teachers Pay Teachers. So, I took her ideas and ran with them.

Having 28 students in my class, I began the unit with breaking my class into groups of 4: One male tribute, 1 female tribute, 1 Stylist, and 1 mentor. The tributes were the ones to actually complete. The stylist helped with costume design and publicity, and the mentor was responsible for getting sponsorships and conducting advertising. Though there are 12 districts in The Hunger Games, I chose 7 because there are 7 districts that make it out of the first couple of days, and I wanted the kids to be able to follow “their” characters in the book for a while. The Opening Ceremonies

The first activity we did was the Opening Ceremonies. Students had one chance (Just saying their name and District) to make an impression on a group of study hall kids who were our “Sponsors.” At the end of the ceremonies, these students voted on their favorite tributes. They had another chance to vote after the tribute interviews, where I interviewed each student on their strengths and weaknesses, focusing on why the sponsors should support them.

Marine WorkoutsThen, we had the marines come in and do a boot camp with our students. They talked about real survival and how soldiers are trained to think in order to make it in life or death situations. And, they made my students (all of them–mentors and stylists too) do a PT session. My students were sore for the next few days.

The mentors and stylists had to publicize their tributes. They were each given a section of the hallway to use as their “District” space to decorate. They made advertisements and talked to their classmates and underclassmen. Both the seventh and eighth grade got to vote on their favorite tribute, which they did by putting “Panam dollars” in the envelope for their tribute.

Finally, everything was set and it was time for “The arena.” Outside, I made a circle of chairs about 40 feet apart. The stylists and mentors led their tributes blindfolded out to the “arena” and got them on the chairs. At my count, they had 60 seconds to look around the arena. In the arena (Space between the chairs), there was food (cracker packages), water (Water bottles), medicine (band aids), and weapons (glow stick weapons from the dollar store with stickers attached to them.) When I said go, they had to go grab what they wanted.

Our tributes played it safe (grabbed stuff and got out of the arena), so it wasn’t the “bloodbath ” of the book. Those who got weapons (Stickers) had supplies for the next stage. In between classes (and not in a way to get in trouble or be obvious), students had to try to “stick” each other. If they got another tribute with a sticker between the shoulder blades, that tribute was “Dead,” unless they had “Capitol medicine” (band aids) in order to be healed. I kept pictures of each “tribute” up in my room, where I kept track of how many times they had died, and how many “kills” they had, so their classmates could decide who to “Sponsor.” I also eliminated tributes in a number of other ways:

1. Minute to Win it: Intellectual capacity and dexterity were key components in the games. We played the Minute to Win it games of catching pencils (balancing them on the top of your hand, tossing them up, and grabbing them–2 at a time, up to 12 in under a minute.)and juggling balloons (3).

2. Fruit identification (for the chapter where Foxface dies.): From a distance, students had to identify what is fruit and what is not. I mixed wax fruit in with Prickly pears, ugly fruit, star fruit, red bananas, and blood oranges.

3. Muttations (for that chapter): We were down to four tributes, so I allowed the “Dead” tributes to be “mutts” and chase the live tributes through an obstacle course. If they “stuck” the tributes, they died.

4. “Knife Throwing.” I was down to 2 tributes for the chapter where Cato falls, so I had them throw pencils at each others’ tribute pictures. The first one to make a hit was the winner.

My winner got a copy of the book and a Mockingjay pin, while their District got Dairy Queen Gift cards.

Finally, today, we went to the opening showing of the movie. We got lunch for our kids and another teacher demonstrated archery. Then, we went to see the movie, and finally to Buffalo Wild Wings to analyze the experience. Doing this has been an incredible experience, and a TON of work. But, hearing a student tell another teacher that today was “The most fun I’ve ever had!” makes it all worth while. Truly an unforgetable experience!

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