The Hunger Games Inspires a Hunger for Learning for Students in Mountain View School District’s THINK Together Summer Program
El Monte, CA – It was all about the Mocking Jay, tributes, Katniss, Peeta and hoping the odds are forever in your favor during the THINK Together Summer Learning Program in the Mountain View School District (MVSD). The 20-day program centered on the popular book, The Hunger Games and engaged students in standards based reading, comprehension, writing and enrichment classes based around the book.
The Summer Learning Program was made possible thanks to MVSD’s partnership with THINK Together, a nonprofit education company that provides academically oriented after-school programs and other educational support to schools, and a generous grant from Walmart Foundation and their partners, the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA). Over 400 sixth through eighth grade students had the opportunity to participate in the THINK Together Summer Learning Program held at Madrid Middle, Kranz Intermediate and Monte Vista Schools.
Staffed by MVSD teachers and THINK Together personnel the summer program provided academic rigor, daily physical fitness sessions, music, cooking, art, fashion, team building skills and field trips. Students enjoyed field trips to the Discovery Science Center, The Museum of Tolerance, and the Aquarium of the Pacific.
“The mixture of MVSD staff and THINK together staff was a winning combination,” said Lillian Maldonado French, Superintendent. “Our teachers provided the academics and the THINK Together staff complemented the instruction creating a rich, integrated learning experience for our students.”
According to NSLA research a lack of summer learning and enrichment opportunities leads to “summer learning loss” or “summer slide” in students. With the state’s severe budget cuts to education MVSD, like many school districts, has been forced to eliminate regular summer school programs. MVSD’s collaboration with THINK Together enabled the district to provide a wonderful and academically enriching program for its middle school students.
“THINK’s curriculum is great for the summer,” said Hugo Moreno, Madrid School’s assistant principal. “It’s powerful for the students and they really had fun while they were learning.”
Teacher, Annamarie Mezin-Williams, appreciated the enthusiasm the students brought each day to their classrooms.
“The Hunger Games theme really motivated the students to engage in the instruction and we had a lot of fun with it. We created board games, essays, character analysis, game shows, artwork and math lessons around the book and the students really responded well to it.”
The field trips were a favorite part of the program for many students
“My favorite field trip was the Museum of Tolerance,” said sixth grader, Kareem. “It was sad at the museum because we learned a lot of people died because of social injustice but I learned a lot about history there and it was interesting.” Sixth grader Alan liked the math and science part of the curriculum the best.
“We got to build cars and projects out of K’Nex and it was awesome.”
Aligned with the Hunger Games theme, students were divided into Districts and competed in a quiz show where tributes from each district answered questions about the book and its characters. They were awarded points and earned rations for their districts.
Adrian Arvizu, Madrid’s THINK Together Site Coordinator was pleased with the success of this summer’s program and the excitement that the Hunger Games theme brought.
“In the morning classes the students covered a lot of reading and comprehension components using the book and then the afternoon enrichment classes all coincided with the theme. ”
“Day in and day out we are dealing with budget cuts, so we are very grateful to have that partnership with Walmart and the National Summer Learning Association which enabled us to provide such a wonderfully enriching summer program for our students, ” said Adam Carranza, MVSD Board of Education Clerk.