Just like when I blew up that crate, yo

Friday, March 16, 2012

If you've never read the Hunger Games, you should just skip this post.

If you have read the Hunger Games but have an aversion to other forms of pop culture, you still might want to skip this post.

For the past few weeks, my students have been working on projects as a wrap-up to our Hunger Games unit.  I let them choose between art, writing, and performance-based projects, with several choices in each category (record and edit your own movie trailer, write your own fan fiction chapter, design a movie poster, etc). There is nothing more fun to me as a teacher than watching my students be their creative, weird selves, and I can practically see their synapses firing as they work hands-on.  Winning for everybody!

As I was watching them work, the same sentiment kept coming up.

"You guys are so lucky!" I'd say, watching students use my Nerf arrows to stab each other dramatically in front of their "cameraman," poised with my iPhone. "I don't remember doing anything this fun in junior high.  In fact, I think I only smiled three times." 

"I'm so jealous," I told one student as she quietly edited her partner's script. "I wish I was in 8th grade again."
"You were in 8th grade once?"
"Don't look so surprised."

I kept wishing I could be back in 8th grade to do one of these projects.  The only thing I remember about 8th grade English class is thinking the rest of my class were complete idiots for not understanding sentence diagramming. The only thing I remember about the rest of middle school English was a friend and I almost getting kicked out of my 7th grade class for laughing hysterically during "Rikki Tikki Tavi." That's it.  Sentence diagrams and a weasel.  No projects, no technology, no laughing.  Well, unless we were reading a story with a hilarious name.

On the last day before Spring Break, my students presented their projects.  I was blown away.  They put so much time and energy into these projects (I imagine partly because my rubric was almost impossible.)  Look at this movie poster one of my students drew!


After everyone had presented, I told my students how today had been my proudest day as a teacher, and how I was so amazed at their creativity and talent.  Then I told them how jealous I had been watching them, and how I had been wishing there was some way I could participate as their teacher.  By the time I got out my guitar from the closet and sat down, they were already screaming.

My dear readers, I give you: my first song.

"Hunger Story"
Original lyrics by: Love, Teach
Melody by: Taylor Swift
(to the tune of "Love Story")

Verse 1: 
We were both young when I first saw you
Outside the bakery I was starved
You threw some bread
Luckily it missed my head

I see Effie at the District Reaping
See her make her way through the crowd 
And say, "Primrose"
I couldn't bear to see her go

Chorus:
Then she drew Peeta Mellark, the boy with bread
And Claudius said, "Don't you eat that nightlock yet!"
And I was crying in the hovercraft
Begging you, "Please don't go,"
And I said,

Peeta, take me to the cave that's by the stream
I'll forget that you are Merchant I am Seam
Girl on fire and the boy with the bread
It's the Hunger Games, but, baby, we'll stay fed

Verse 2:
So I sneak out to the roof for some fresh air
The windchimes blow, and you whisper, "I dare
For them to see
That they don't own me..."

See the lights at the Capitol party
See you tell Caesar how I stole your heart
Is it a lie?
Or just a method to survive?

(Chorus)

Bridge:
I got tired of waiting
Wondering if your fever would ever go down
My faith in Haymitch was fading
When I saw that parachute floating down
And I said,

Peeta, let me get that backpack from the Feast
Just lie back now, have some syrup, go to sleep
You'll be unconscious, I'll fight Cato
Just like when I blew up that crate, yo

Peeta, run there's some mutts about to eat us all
An "X" on his hand, with my last arrow Cato falls 
Is this in my head? I don't know what to say
Claudius gets on the speakers and the Anthem plays,

"Only one victor; the two of you will have to choose."
Death for one would mean that we both lose...
"Wait, wait--stop!  We'll get you out of this mess,"
District 12 victors, baby, just say, "Yes."


I don't claim to have any kind of singing voice, but they made me feel like I was T. Swift herself.   Even if I did cheat in the bridge by making "down" rhyme with "down".

It was a very good day.

Love,

Teach

18 comments:

  1. I wish you could time-travel about 20 years into the future and hear these kids tell THEIR kids about "this awesome teacher I had in middle school". You are making memories and building character (and characters!). Amazing.

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  2. SHUT UP. That is amazing, you are seriously the coolest. And that poster is legit!! Do your kids get extra credit for seeing the movie?? Best. Teach. Ever.

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    Replies
    1. You're the best mom ever! Want to come adopt all my kids? Or at least the good ones? Ok. I'll tell them you're on your way.

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    2. I could use some help... how old are they? 13? Sure, I'll take 'em! See ya soon ; )

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  3. Aaaaaaah! I LOVE it! Kudos, both for giving them freedom and control to create, and for leaving out to Spring Break on such a high note! Enjoy your well deserved break!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Colleen! I enjoyed it (and am enjoying it) very much :) Hope you are relaxing somewhere and drinking lemonade or your beverage of choice.

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  4. I've been reading your blog for a while, and I love all of your posts, but this was just fantastic! I was singing the lyrics aloud in my house... while sitting here alone. Thanks for being so great!

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  5. LOVE THE SONG!!!! I harassed my principal into letting me take my 7th and 8th graders to see the movie, and they are SO excited! Most of them chose (because I let them chose their own creative projects too - best way) to make their own Mutts, and they came out so cool. It's so much better to teach books that your students love, right?!

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    Replies
    1. Nicely done! I am still in the process of harrassing my principal about a field trip. I'm pretty sure she puts her head down on her desk and groans when she gets emails from me about it.

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  6. This is amazing. I teach middle school math (at an all girls school) but have been reading the YA books that my girls have been raving about. I'm only slightly jealous that they are going at Midnight on Thursday and I have to wait to go over spring break with the English teacher.
    Thanks for all of your awesome posts!

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    Replies
    1. Stephanie!!!
      Small world, lady. Except that I think I started reading this blog because you posted about it on Facebook. Hope you're doing well, lady.
      Love,
      Desiree Pettus Rios
      C7

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  7. Okay...
    1. Hunger Games is my new Harry Potter (well... maybe not quite to that extreme, but pretty close.)
    2. I was so stoked to see that you read it with your class and love when you tell tidbits of their learning from the series.
    3. That poster... I almost cried. Seriously, it's beautiful. (Note: I am also nine months pregnant, most things make me cry... but I probably would have anyway.)
    4. As self-disrespecting as it probably is for a 26-year old woman, I absolutely love Taylor Swift. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven when I saw your song, and I pulled up iTunes right away to listen to the music as I read/sang along with yours. Almost cried again. (Happy tears.)

    I am finishing up my last week as a teacher's aide/remedial teacher in a junior high much like yours (have been there since December), and plan never to return to junior high until my soon-to-be-born son is attending. Not my niche... second-graders are much more pleasant. However, I will hopefully be reading your blog until then and beyond. xoxo

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  8. Before I read this, I told my own students (as I sat in a desk to read aloud with them) that I wished I was in school again. They get to have so much fun learning! They all agreed that school is pretty fun, except for homework (which they said they have too much - I don't think so).
    Your lyrics were perfect and the poster, WOW! Kids have so much to offer and finding that place where they get to create and learn and share is one of those quests that we strive for in this profession. Keep it up, Teach!

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  9. You are inspiring! I just moved and I'm just substituting at this time, but I can't wait to get back to full-time classroom teaching and insert a bit more of myself in there. I will continue reading this heartfelt blog.

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  10. I love The Hunger Games, but unfortunately can't share it with my students....3rd grade...not so appropriate.
    The poster was amazing!

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