Celebrating Banned Books

While it is a popular book used as a teaching tool in schools, The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, was one of the most challenged books of 2010 due to being “sexually explicit, unsuited to [a number of] age [groups], and [violent].” It is often surprising when books are banned from schools, so talking to students about book banning can help spark rich classroom discussions and boost critical thinking skills.

History of Book Banning

Books are banned by different organizations for a multitude of reasons. The history of book banning is…


Biology, Ecology & Jabberjays: Teaching Science with Science Fiction

Sci-Fi in Sci-Ed

The literary genre of science fiction offers a “human lens” to complex scientific ideas, providing readers and learners with a more comprehensive and accessible view into topics such as biology, chemistry and physics. Bringing this genre into the classroom offers an interdisciplinary approach to learning, integrating English-Language Arts (ELA) and History into science lessons, which is especially important with the implementation of the Common Core Standards and its focus on ELA skills across all content areas. Education initiatives such as the


The Secret? (We Need Downtime)

This post was originally published on Wonder of Children, by Lisa Dewey Wells, on October 14, 2013.

Lisa Wells has taught for 20 years in independent schools in MA, NY and MD. She currently writes a blog on child development, teaches yoga and tries to spend as much time with her two high schoolers as they will allow. Lisa’s committed to knowing each learner as an individual, creating a classroom community where the social curriculum is interwoven with the academic fabric and sharing her work with yoga and meditation with teachers and students. As a consulting teacher for the Northeast Foundation for Children’s Responsive Classroo…


Rue, Racism, & Reading: Using The Hunger Games to Talk About Comprehension Skills

Last year’s release of The Hunger Games garnered a great deal of media attention. The movie, adapted from Suzanne Collin’s science fiction novel(s), portrays a dystopian future where young children from each ‘district’ are selected to fight to the death as means of entertainment. The movie and novel have received high praise from critics such as Roger Ebert and The New York Times. The Hunger Games, while critically acclaimed, raised controversy in various corners of the Internet — fans of the young-adult novels voiced their concern and disappointment over the characters Rue, Thresh and Cinna being portrayed by African-American actors.

Public Controversy

This public discontent raises a number of concerns, including issues of representations of race and diversity in today’s media, and that Lenny Kravi…


History and The Hunger Games

With November 22 drawing near, legions of superfans are waiting with baited breath for Catching Fire, the second movie in the trilogy based off of Suzanne Collins’ hit young adult series The Hunger Games. The trilogy follows the trials of Katniss Everdeen, a teenage girl who lives in Panem—a country that rose from the ruins of America. Each year, the 12 districts in Panem are forced to send two children into the Hunger Games, a gladiator-esque battle to the death that is televised with alarming pomp and circumstance.

For many, the cultural and historical allusions are obvious nods to the brutality and bloodshed that lines our history books and the corrupt nature of politics and government that we see today. For students who have yet to learn about an…


Before “The Hunger Games” There Were…

The Hunger Games trilogy — The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay — has taken the world by storm with three bestselling novels and a hit movie franchise. Written by Suzanne Collins, the first novel was published in 2008 and is popular with a wide range of readers, from preteens to adults. The Hunger Games has even become a common teacher resource in schools.

The novel is popular with teens for its post-apocalyptic setting and 16-year-old heroine, Katniss Everdeen, who is forced into the annual battle of life and …


November is “Catching Fire” Month on!

Catching Fire, the film adaptation of the second book in the international bestselling trilogy The Hunger Games, comes to the big screen on November 22. This installment of the equally popular movie franchise, which tells the story of a dystopic future where the 12 districts of Panem rebel against a totalitarian Capitol, is one of the most highly anticipated movies of the season.

Students love The Hunger Games, but their fascination doesn't simply have to be an obsession with popular culture. Great teachers like yourselves recognize the potential to transform something entertaining into something educational, harnessing students' interests to engage them in productive learning.

In the spirit of turning popular culture into a …

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