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.
Original lyrics by: Love, Teach
Melody by: Taylor Swift
(to the tune of “Love Story”)
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
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
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?
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.