Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Giver, by Lois Lowry: Some Great Ideas for Teachers

The Giver, by Lois Lowry, is truly one of my all time favorite books. I have read this book aloud to my class every year that I have taught, and will continue to do so. I wrote a review of The Giver in 2008 on my old literacy blog The Literabuss, so I won't get into my thoughts on the book, but I'll keep this post about how to teach with this book, and some ideas to utilize in the classroom with it.

I want to quickly point teachers into the right direction in terms of freely available materials online, so here's some links to those first:

  • The Giver Unit Plan - A nice unit plan put together on Eileen Midure's Homepage. There are vocabulary words, activities, worksheets, quizzes, objectives, and more. A good starting place.
  • The Giver Navigator - Available on Mr. R a (probably not anymore since this was posted in 2003) pre-service teacher from Northern Illinois University.This reads like it was part of a project for a college course, but there are some decent resources here for both teachers and students.
  • The Giver Flashcards - I love Quizlet, so I linked to some great vocabulary flashcards.
  • Scholastic Reading Guide to The Giver - A very nice printable pdf document that includes an author interview with Lois Lowry, questions to guide the reading, laid out by chapter (pages 18-22, if you use one part of this guide, it'll be this part), and guides to theme, settings, characters, etc. 
Next up is a great Youtube video made by a teacher and class. This is an idea I have taken and used as my own. It's a movie preview trailer made by the class, and it's a great long term project. The way I do this is I introduce the idea at the beginning of the book, start up an ideas board, and have students post possible ideas for inclusion in the preview video, which we make as a whole class project at the end of the book. Check out this video (it's not mine by the way):

Finally there's a project that I do each year, called "The Giver in black and white." It's a good project for 5th graders, because it gets them thinking about what it would be like to live in that world. I have each student go  somewhere on the school grounds, and take a picture of something they think is colorful. I then print out their photo in black and white. I wait a few days, then present students with their black and white photo, and ask them to first describe the colors they originally saw. Next, I ask them to describe how it feels to view the photo in black and white, and finally, I ask them to create an abstract drawing (they may need a crash course as to what that is) using the colors that are now absent from their photo.

The Giver is a fantastic book, one that is loved by my students each year. I hope you've either read it, or will give it a shot, you won't be disappointed.

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