The Hunger Games – Visualizations and Symbols

Posted November 5, 2010 by 1 Comment

For this week’s Hunger Games segment, I’m going to focus on Visualization and Symbolism. Good readers tend to visual scenes much like a movie while they read a book, but not all readers do this automatically. In fact, it’s part of what holds reluctant readers back. If a reader can’t visualize while reading, how can he or she understand how symbols are used by an author to represent ideas and themes?

In order to help my students understand this concept, I used The Hunger Games. After reading about the costumes Katniss and Peeta wore during the opening ceremonies, I tried to compare it to the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. Much to my dismay, many of my students had never seen an opening ceremony.

When you find a teachable moment, you jump on it!  I started my lesson off by showing a highlight reel featuring the opening ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  After the video, we discussed how opening ceremonies are used to represent a country’s culture. The acts themselves become symbols. The students discussed what type of people they thought the Chinese were based on these performances.

Students then added the definition for Symbolism to their Lit notebooks. Symbolism: the practice of representing things by symbols, or of investing things with a symbolic meaning or character.

Next, students were randomly assigned a district from The Hunger Games

District 1- luxury goods for the Capitol
District 2- Medicine
District 3- Machinery/Factories
District 4- Fishing
District 5- Breeding/ Splicing DNA
District 6- Scientific Research
District 7- Lumber and Construction
District 8- Weaving/ Clothes-making
District 9- Hunters/Food Processing
District 10- Mathematics.
District 11- Agriculture
District 12- Coal
District 13- (now terminated) Nuclear Power/Graphite mining

The students were asked to design and draw an opening ceremony outfit for the tribute from their district, just as Cinna design an outfit to represent mining for District 12. Under their designed they wrote a paragraph explaining how their design symbolized their district.

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