Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Let the Games begin!

*This post is by Carla Crews, one of the school librarians at Shades Valley High School/JCIB/Shades Valley Technical Academies.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, movie adaptations of books give us a great opportunity to promote recreational reading. Our library recently invited teachers and students to participate in our own version of The Hunger Games, based on the popular series by Suzanne Collins. The movie release is March 23, and we wanted to encourage students to read the book first! We set up activity stations around the library, which included archery, rope tying, costume design, arm wrestling, trivia questions, online games, and a viewing station for the movie trailer. Several of the station activities offered students a chance to put their name into the “reaping.” Here we deviated slightly from the book, as contestants actually wanted their name in this drawing. Students were quite competitive when they learned that a local theater donated movie passes for the prize drawing!

We began with some brainstorming sessions (and the Internet). The following two resources were particularly helpful during our planning phase:

We gathered our supplies, only spending money on a bow, arrows, and rope. We created themed signage for the event and typed questions for the trivia station. The braided nylon rope was cut into 18” pieces, and instructions were placed at the station for tying various types of knots. Paper rabbits were set up as targets at the archery station. Due to some concerns about teenagers shooting a bow in the library, we used a child-size bow and ‘play’ arrows that had suction cup tips... no damaged walls or speared children! For the opening ceremony costume designs, we already had all the necessary supplies – paper, pencils, crayons/markers, and lots of books on fashion, costumes, and clothing design. We also included a list of the districts’ trades and industries for inspiration. The Scholastic website offers some exciting online games related to The Hunger Games series. These online games, along with The Hunger Games Wiki, were set up as desktop icons at the computer station. Students could scan a QR code at the viewing station to watch the movie trailer. Tributes showed off their strength as they conquered opponents at the arm wrestling station, our school-friendly alternative to the brutal combat of the actual Games.

If you’re looking around on the web for ideas related to The Hunger Games, check out the hashtag #THGyalsa on Twitter. This was a YALSA-sponsored tweet session during Teen Tech Week to discuss the movie release and library programming ideas. One librarian tweeted that she is planning a Wii Archery tournament. And should you decide to turn your library into a Hunger Games arena…  may the odds be ever in your favor.

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