Hunger Games for 6th Grade?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by OUOhYeah, Jul 13, 2015.

  1. OUOhYeah

    OUOhYeah Comrade

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    I'm curious to see how others feel about this. I have my own view points on this book, and the reason I ask is because I would like to see if anyone has taught with it in 6th grade?

    The books I have that I will be teaching this year are:

    1.) Junkyard Wonders (First day thing) - I know it's below their level.
    2.) How to Eat Fried Worms - I think will be summarizing because it's such a short book.
    3.) James and the Giant Peach
    4.) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
    5.) Never Ending Story - Theme
    6.) Hatchet
    7.) Possibly Hunger Games
     
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  3. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Seems okay to me. Recommended age range on lexile.com is 12-18+. There's some violence, for sure, but it is popular within their age group. If you have concerns, you could offer an alternate novel for students whose parents request it.

    The lexile levels of most of your books, though, are below grade level, particularly books 1-4.
     
  4. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    In our district, it's a 9th grade book, not because of the reading level but because of the content. BUT, we put it at the 9th grade level before the movies came out. I think a lot of middle schoolers have probably already seen it, so it would most likely be ok.
     
  5. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    As a parent, I would be hesitant to let my 6th grader read it. So much depends on the maturity of the student. You might run that by your admin.
     
  6. OUOhYeah

    OUOhYeah Comrade

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    I just looked up all of my books on scholastic. Most of them are 5.1-5.5, which is perfect for a 5th and 6th grade classroom. I am going to replace one of the books with a Joey Pigza book. These books are easier to read, but I will increase the rigor on them with what I do.

    Also, I am questioning the violence of it. I know from the movies I wouldn't want my students exposed to that.

    I forgot that I had Number the Stars in there as well. I found a REALLY good Novel Unit for it.
     
  7. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    How are you fitting all these in?! I never get through more than 3 novels a year cause we're always doing some kind of supplemental work alongside them. Am I the worst? :unsure:
     
  8. OUOhYeah

    OUOhYeah Comrade

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    No, I'm just planning. I'm a first year teacher to be honest, so I'm trying to figure out what works and what doesn't. The only two books that I am 100% about right now are Neverending Story and Number the Stars.
     
  9. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    We have The Hunger Games reserved for grades 7 and 8 at our school although many of the students have certainly seen the movies before that.
     
  10. MLB711

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    I'm not a parent but if I were, I would feel the same way. Most of my 6th/7th students are not mature enough to read it IMO. I would also run it by admin.
     
  11. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    I agree that the first 4 books are too low a level unless you have struggling readers in 6th grade. What books are the other 6th grade teachers using? As a first year teacher I would start there.
     
  12. mrsammieb

    mrsammieb Devotee

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    When I taught fifth grade last year, we didn't really do a lot of books studies as we were mostly working on non-fiction content. BUT I found time for:

    Mick Harte Was Here- I used this one in the beginning- it is a lower level book but it is VERY thought provoking and I had them site evidence to support their thinking

    Danny Champion of the World- I love this book. This one has so many twist and turns. It's by Roald Dahl so it is much like James and the Giant Peach.

    Number the Stars- I bought a unit for vocabulary and comprehension questions. It was perfect with our WWII study.

    This year our principal stated she did not want to see the whole class reading the same books. Even if you differentiate within the book with questions. This will be difficult to manage but of course you have to follow the direction of administration.
     
  13. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I taught it to 8th graders. It was a fantastic unit! I would be okay with 7th graders doing it, but I'm not so sure about 6th. I could see some parents not being okay with it.
     
  14. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    It is a tough call. Hunger Games might be okay for late in the year when they are a bit more mature. You still may get a few parents who will object to the violence at that age, and I can see their point.

    Hatchet is a good book for 6th grade, although I use it in 5th grade. The books you put down as 2,3,and 4 are much more for 4th grade than 6th grade. If you can choose different books for 6th grade, here are 10 that they would enjoy. I put them in my preference from #1 my favorite, #2 my 2nd favorite etc.

    1. Wonder
    2 The Wednesday Wars
    3 The Outsiders
    4 Schooled
    5 Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie
    6 The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
    7 The Watsons Go to Birmingham
    8 Bridge to Terabithia
    9 Holes
    10 Tangerine
     
  15. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I think you're going to find that by 6th grade, your students will have already read a lot of these books, particularly 2, 3, 4, and maybe 6. I know there is a difference in reading and teaching them, but you're going to run into management problems, and kids won't reread something they've already completed. Especially 6th graders.

    Also, that is a lot of fiction...when do you have time for nonfiction? Short stories? Poetry?
     
  16. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Jul 14, 2015

    I guess the criteria for picking books should be based on

    • reading level
    • content maturity
    • themes being taught

    I suppose the one other criteria might be student interest. All the other literary devices: characterization, imagery, symbology, etc., I see as only a means to get at theme.

    Books where there's a movie already out there present an interesting issue. While there might be a lot of interest there also exists an easy shortcut for those who simply don't want to actually read. In fact, if they've already seen the movie it might be hard to resist this shortcut. Maybe this isn't so much a problem if you really just want to talk about overarching themes that can be derived from the movie (it does, at least, spur student interaction if they feel they understand the material, regardless of how they got that understanding).

    If you want them to be able to pull meaning directly from text, though, it could be a problem. They essentially given the meaning, and typically in movies the theme is emphasized in some fairly explicit manner. With my own kids, each time we watch a movie I prod them to identify the theme. It annoys them, but I've noticed that they've started doing it themselves. It's nice, but even more interestingly they've started identifying just prior to the theme actually being stated that it's going to be said. Movies have less time,I suppose, so can't be quite as subtle.

    This is also why I like poetry for education -- short enough to read in class, but subtle enough to house multiple themes deftly.

    My kids also delight in picking out unintended themes. One theme of the Avengers, for example, being not to live in cities because they're apt to destruction.by marauding gods and giants (they know it's a joke, but in a sense they're not so terribly wrong, if you replace gods with war, disease, and other like disasters).
     
  17. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    That's funny, because we do Holes with 4th graders here, and The Outsiders with 8th graders. I taught The Hunger Games to 9th graders, but that was before the movie came out. Now a local middle school does it in 8th grade, so we don't do it in 9th grade anymore.
     
  18. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    What are your objectives? I agree with 3Sons. The objective comes first-then you match the literature to it.
     
  19. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I know many use The Outsiders in 7th and 8th grade. Nothing wrong with that. I read it when I was in 6th grade, and I think it could work in the 2nd semester of a 6th grade class.
     
  20. OUOhYeah

    OUOhYeah Comrade

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    I believe this is getting a bit off topic. I realize the first 4 books are below level, but I have struggling readers and I do not want to overwhelm them. We will be using nonfiction in our Social Studies class of course and our ELA/Science. I will be using this tool called elanews.com, which has a ton of resources. I was thinking about replacing James and the Giant Peach with Tom Sawyer, but again that book is a lot like Hatchet.
     
  21. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I was just commenting on how in each school or district we can get very set into what is read each year, but it can be so different in each school. Ultimately, you have to know your kids and choose something that is right for them.

    Personally, I would not choose The Hunger Games for 6th graders because there are some pretty graphic depictions of violence, and some of the social and political themes that make the book so interesting will be above their heads. The movie based on the book is rated PG-13. Kids always want to watch the movie after they read the book and I would not be surprised if several parents of 6th graders do not allow them to watch PG-13 rated movies.

    Do you plan to do literature circles, or whole-class novel studies? I only have time each year for four, maybe five books, plays, etc. if I'm really teaching them and pulling in poems, nonfiction, and other good texts to supplement them, and still doing writing, grammar, independent reading at their level, etc. It could be that there isn't time to cover as much as you are planning and you can leave some of the novels off.
     
  22. OUOhYeah

    OUOhYeah Comrade

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    I chose "The Giver" and it will replace the James and the Giant Peach/Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I will also use supplements for Number the Stars that are non fiction.
     
  23. raynepoe

    raynepoe Companion

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    My kids love How To Steal A Dog. It is about a homeless girls who plans to steal a dog for the reward money. It is a great discussion group.

    I am thinking about Wonder too.

    I teach 5th grade.
     
  24. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    OUOhYeah, I teach special ed to 6th-8th grade with struggling readers at 2nd-4th grade reading levels. Grade level texts can still be accessed with scaffolding, audiobooks, partner reading, etc. They will be bored with the "baby" books. It's a good choice to replace "James..." and "Charlie..." with "The Giver."

    I have done "The Giver" with 6th. We also did "Wonder" and "Seedfolks." This year I am going to do "The One and Only Ivan" for the first time. This group surveyed as highly interested in animals, so we'll see how it goes.
     
  25. OUOhYeah

    OUOhYeah Comrade

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    I honestly don't really agree with what you just said. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach are both books I was planning to "scaffold" with. Just because the vocabulary and the length isn't at a 6th grade level, doesn't mean you cannot use them. Some of the content in those books are extremely higher order thinking. It's up to me how far I want to push that of course.

    Besides, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is 5.9 on scholastic :).
     
  26. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Does your district or state have any guidelines for book choice? Are there other 6th grade teachers at your school? Did your students read certain books for summer reading? I'd hate for you to plan a whole unit then find out that that book is not on the approved list, or taught in another grade, or whatever. Our state has recommended text sets. At our school we do not have to follow those exactly, but at some schools they do. Our district also has recommended lists of books. You may also want to consider what your school has a class set of already. I try to only require my students to buy one book a year, so other than that I'm limited to the selection in the school library.
     
  27. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    You need to do what's best for your class... I personally wouldn't do Charlie... with sixth graders though. I've leave it for the younger kids.
     
  28. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    In every school I have worked in they had specific books for each grade level. Have you checked to see if other grades have used the books you mentioned? Is there a way to find out what reading level the students are on before you choose? If MOST are reading below grade level that would definitely influence your book choices.
     
  29. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Ok. So I'm really trying to stay above the line and polite and all...but seriously? I hate to pull rank, but you have said you are a first year teacher, correct? If you are coming here asking veteran teachers for advice, maybe it would behoove you to listen to said advice.

    We are all telling you that those books a) will likely have been read in previous grades, b) are low levels, even for 6th graders, and c) the interest level may not be there for 6th graders. Also, your objectives should drive your selections.

    I'm just sayin'...in as nice a way as I can...you don't know everything.

    :sorry:
     
  30. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I know the list has changed since the original one (thankfully), but I want to know your rationale for choosing the books. It sounds to me like it is because you have the books. If so, poor decision.

    Taking out grade level, length, and other things that have already been discussed, let's talk about genre. You can only cover a limited number of books in a school year. Why in the world would you choose two books which are so similar? I'm specifically referring to James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Not only are they both within the fantasy genre, they are by the same author. One of the best outcomes of novel studies is getting students interested in reading. Kids who are not a big fan of fantasy are going to be bored to tears during two novel studies. The kids who are engaged are going to pick other Roald Dahl books to read, making reading two of them redundant.

    And, back to your original list, I have read three of them as an after lunch/recess read aloud in 1st, 2nd, and/or 3rd grade (depending on the book).
     
  31. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I'm going to echo the advice that you find out if some of the books on your list are used in other grades at your school. We have a few books that we "reserve" for Grade 8 at my school--The Outsiders and The Giver--while nothing really prevents a teacher from using them earlier, we respect the decision. There are so many outstanding books out there, we don't need to risk stepping on anyone else's toes.
     
  32. OUOhYeah

    OUOhYeah Comrade

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    This echos all of the other posts. I am not doing this because I have the books or I don't want to get new books. I am simply trying to find books that my kids would enjoy. The Giver was a great suggestion and I am so thankful to everyone for suggesting that. I already have big plans on what I will do with it. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory though I am standing by. I know some of these kids and I know for a fact that have only seen the movie. They have never gone into the book before, at least not at school. I know this by talking to teachers at my school.

    Also, I'm sorry for offending you or anyone else. I just feel the need to do this book with my students. It is on their level and it is a great book. I am not allowed to do Tom Sawyer as it is banned for obvious reasons.

    I really do appreciate all of the advise! And again, I apologize if something came over the wrong way to anyone reading this post.
     
  33. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    For what obvious reasons is Tom Sawyer banned? Granted it's been years sine I read it, but I don't remember why it would be a banned book.
     
  34. OUOhYeah

    OUOhYeah Comrade

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    Language, for example, N***** Jim.
     
  35. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Jul 15, 2015

    Tom Sawyer is on the 6-8 Common Core list of reading examplars. However, I think that one might be more suited for 8th grade and your students might be better served with Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Students tend to really go for that novel. In addition, going by the list, I strongly suggest A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle and a couple of the following poems:

    Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. “Paul Revere’s Ride.”
    Whitman, Walt. “O Captain! My Captain!”
    Carroll, Lewis. “Jabberwocky.”
    Navajo tradition. “Twelfth Song of Thunder.”
    Dickinson, Emily. “The Railway Train.”
    Yeats, William Butler. “The Song of Wandering Aengus.”
    Frost, Robert. “The Road Not Taken.”
    Sandburg, Carl. “Chicago.”
    Hughes, Langston. “I, Too, Sing America.”
    Neruda, Pablo. “The Book of Questions.”
    Soto, Gary. “Oranges.”
     
  36. OUOhYeah

    OUOhYeah Comrade

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    I love A Wrinkle in Time!
     
  37. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    My favorite junior fiction novel, ever. I used it one year in 5th, but it really is more of a 6th grade book.
     
  38. TonyBalonga

    TonyBalonga Rookie

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    Jul 15, 2015

    Streets Of Mogadishu

    I would not recommend the book or the movie. To much violence, language, etc. But I would also not recommend the movie Black Hawk Down for the same reason.
    Maybe the authors include violence and language along with the idea that such an evil premise does not belong in public schools. Even liberals might wonder about the political correctness of having public school students read The Hunger Games. It might give some communities an excuse to complain about the teachings in today's schools.
    The premise of Black Hawk Down may not provide transference of the same analogy as The Hunger Games, but I would doubt that every premise needs analysis in public schools. Actually, I think the premise of The Hunger Games seems unclear and might only be good for open ended discussions with no answer. I guess there might be some value in talking about dictators that make childish sense as with the irrationality of terrorism.
    However there is a book I would recommend - Streets of Mogadishu which was written by one of the characters portrayed in Black Hawk Down. It does not give students the feeling that bad language might be acceptable in public school, and it does teach some good moral concepts.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2015
  39. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Imma just gonna assume you are either trolling, kidding, or have lost your ever lovin' mind...:unsure:
     
  40. TonyBalonga

    TonyBalonga Rookie

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    I have no idea why you say that. Unclear.
     
  41. ktdclark

    ktdclark Comrade

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    Jul 20, 2015

    My son in 6th grade last year read Hunger Games. In 7th and 8th, he will have to read the next ones (although he loved Hunger Games so much he went on to read them both this summer).

    I read aloud Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to my second graders. Best book ever. :)
     

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