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The Giver Novel Study
This page has printable resources to use with Lois Lowry's novel, The Giver . Activities include vocabulary review, reading comprehension questions, writing prompts, and a puzzle.
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Chapters 11-14, chapters 15-19, chapters 20-23, literature circles.
We have printable literature units for many different books, including Charlotte's Web , Holes , Because of Winn Dixie , and Mr. Popper's Penguins .
We have fiction and non-fiction reading passages for 5th graders. Each passage includes comprehension questions.
Sample Worksheet Images for The Giver Novel
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5 Engaging Activities to Teach The Giver
After jumping into the world of middle school ELA, I have to say that The Giver is my new Gatsby . In other words, it’s my new favorite whole-class novel. It’s even better than Gatsby (sorry, old sport), and it’s such a gem of a book that it just might keep me teaching middle school forever! The Giver is engaging, thought-provoking, and accessible! My favorite part of teaching it is watching how inquisitive, curious, and invested my students become as they read. The book definitely sparks a lot of curiosity on its own, but I deliberately teach this book to hook and engage students from the start! I love to play up the “mystery” of it all, encourage students to ask lots of questions, take note of all the interesting things they observe, and start guessing about what’s really going on in the community.
If you’re ready to similarly engage your students, then here are 5 of my favorite activities for teaching The Giver !
1. PRE-READING LEARNING STATIONS
Learning stations are my favorite strategy for hooking my students before reading. They’re so versatile, engaging, and effective that I use them at the beginning of almost every single unit/novel! A good set of pre-reading learning stations will preview essential background information AND spark students’ curiosity before they have a chance to turn to page 1.
For The Giver, here’s what that looks like:
- Students learn about the genre (dystopian/science-fiction).
- Students debate essential questions through an engaging anticipation guide.
- Students explore the differences between utopias and dystopias.
- Students preview and react to a few of the community’s strict rules.
- Students play a creative word challenge game designed to get them thinking about the power of language in the book!
As you can see, these activities hook and prepare students for further reading! These print/digital pre-reading learning stations are available separately HERE or bundled with other resources for The Giver HERE. For more information about creating your own learning stations, check out the following blog posts:
- 10 Reasons to Implement Learning Stations
- How to Create Engaging Learning Stations
- How to Facilitate Successful Learning Stations
- 10 Ideas for Virtual Learning Stations
2. MOCK CEREMONY OF 12
Chapter 8 of The Giver is practically begging to be acted out in front of an audience of middle schoolers, so take advantage of this and host your own mock Ceremony of 12. It’s a tiny bit of extra effort and work, but I promise you it’s worth the memorable experience. Not to mention, a mock ceremony is a great way to review the chapter, spark connections, and facilitate rich discussions! Here’s what I did to host our Ceremony of 12:
- I created Assignment cards for different jobs in the community. During the ceremony, I assigned these randomly!
- I wrote up a script so I didn’t have to totally wing it as the Chief Elder.
- I designed ceremony programs for my students, so they could follow along during the ceremony. These programs also prompted them to answer a few essential questions and reflect on the chapter/ceremony.
On the day of the ceremony, I donned a black gown (from my college graduation) and a wig (at my students’ request). I also sported a gavel just for fun, and of course, I acted as ridiculous as possible. The whole experience was so much fun for me and my students! 10/10, definitely recommend!
You can find all of these mock ceremony materials, as well as thorough teacher instructions, in this growing unit bundle for The Giver.
3. QUESTION TRAIL
A question trail is my go-to activity to mix things up and break the normal routines of any novel unit! If you’re unfamiliar with it, a question trail is a unique, kinesthetic activity that gets students up and moving on a “trail” of questions around the classroom.
This activity consists of different multiple choice “stations” or “spots” around the room. At each station, students answer a multiple-choice question. Each answer (a, b, c, or d) will send the students to a different station. If students answer each question correctly, they will travel to each station and complete a full circuit. If students answer a question incorrectly, they will eventually find themselves at a station they’ve already completed, which tells them that they need to backtrack. This gives you clear, immediate feedback so you can see who is getting it (“on the trail”) vs. who is not (“off the trail”).
This means a question trail is a great way to review a chapter with both comprehension and analysis questions. I like to do a question trail after Chapters 16-17 of The Giver, just to make sure students are understanding the book and the standards we are practicing before the climax in Chapter 19. Of course, you can create your own question trail for any chapter/s in the book. If you’re interested in my student-ready question trail for Chapters 16-17 of The Giver, you can check it out HERE. To learn more about how to create question trails, head to this blog post.
4. ACTING OUT CHAPTER 19
When you spend so much time cultivating students’ curiosity and playing up the mystery of “release,” it only makes sense to do this dramatic chapter justice! My students read most of the book for reading homework, but I purposefully do not assign Chapter 19 as reading homework! I selfishly want to witness their reactions to learning what “release” really means. To make the most of this scene, I like to transform the chapter into a script and have students act it out in front of the class.
Don’t feel pressured to buy props or get too fancy. In fact, using baby dolls as props might be taking it too far! Because it was 2021, my class ended up using two identical bottles of sanitizer spray for the newchildren twins. Yep, it got that weird, but it was hilarious. If your students are anything like mine, this will make for a memorable reading experience and give you a great chance to reflect, discuss, and process the chapter after the acting!
5. THE GIVER FILM ANALYSIS
I absolutely love facilitating film analysis during/after reading novels, and The Giver is no exception! Film analysis is an engaging, accessible way to scaffold the challenging skill of literary analysis. With the right structure, guidance, and questions, watching a movie can prompt critical thinking and spark rich discussions. I know many fellow ELA teachers don’t like the film adaptation of The Giver because it changes so much from the book, but I think it offers the perfect opportunity for discussion & analysis.
In addition to asking students to compare/contrast the text and the film, try asking them why they think the film directors made certain changes and how these changes affect the audience. These kinds of questions spark more thoughtful insight and engaging discussions. For print/digital worksheets with these types of questions, check out these The Giver Film Analysis resources. For more information on successfully facilitating film analysis for any novel, head to this blog post!
I hope these ideas help you jumpstart your unit planning for The Giver ! For more engaging activities and resources for teaching this book, check out this growing unit bundle full of learning stations, quickwrites, vocabulary resources, and more! If you have any questions about these activities or how I teach The Giver, leave them below and I’ll do my best to answer. 🙂
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The Giver Lesson Plans for Teachers
Teaching The Giver
The Giver lesson plan contains a variety of teaching materials that cater to all learning styles. Inside you'll find 30 Daily Lessons, 20 Fun Activities, 180 Multiple Choice Questions, 60 Short Essay Questions, 20 Essay Questions, Quizzes/Homework Assignments, Tests, and more. The lessons and activities will help students gain an intimate understanding of the text, while the tests and quizzes will help you evaluate how well the students have grasped the material. View a free sample
Target Grade: 7th-12th (Middle School and High School)
Length of Lesson Plan: Approximately 117 pages. Page count is estimated at 300 words per page. Length will vary depending on format viewed.
Browse The Giver Lesson Plan:
Full Lesson Plan Overview
The Giver lesson plan is downloadable in PDF and Word. The Word file is viewable with any PC or Mac and can be further adjusted if you want to mix questions around and/or add your own headers for things like "Name," "Period," and "Date." The Word file offers unlimited customizing options so that you can teach in the most efficient manner possible. Once you download the file, it is yours to keep and print for your classroom. View a FREE sample
Lesson Plan Calendars
The Lesson Plan Calendars provide daily suggestions about what to teach. They include detailed descriptions of when to assign reading, homework, in-class work, fun activities, quizzes, tests and more. Use the entire The Giver calendar, or supplement it with your own curriculum ideas. Calendars cover one, two, four, and eight week units. Determine how long your The Giver unit will be, then use one of the calendars provided to plan out your entire lesson.
Chapter abstracts are short descriptions of events that occur in each chapter of The Giver . They highlight major plot events and detail the important relationships and characteristics of important characters. The Chapter Abstracts can be used to review what the students have read, or to prepare the students for what they will read. Hand the abstracts out in class as a study guide, or use them as a "key" for a class discussion. They are relatively brief, but can serve to be an excellent refresher of The Giver for either a student or teacher.
Character and Object Descriptions
Character and Object Descriptions provide descriptions of the significant characters as well as objects and places in The Giver . These can be printed out and used as an individual study guide for students, a "key" for leading a class discussion, a summary review prior to exams, or a refresher for an educator. The character and object descriptions are also used in some of the quizzes and tests in this lesson plan. The longest descriptions run about 200 words. They become shorter as the importance of the character or object declines.
This section of the lesson plan contains 30 Daily Lessons. Daily Lessons each have a specific objective and offer at least three (often more) ways to teach that objective. Lessons include classroom discussions, group and partner activities, in-class handouts, individual writing assignments, at least one homework assignment, class participation exercises and other ways to teach students about The Giver in a classroom setting. You can combine daily lessons or use the ideas within them to create your own unique curriculum. They vary greatly from day to day and offer an array of creative ideas that provide many options for an educator.
Fun Classroom Activities
Fun Classroom Activities differ from Daily Lessons because they make "fun" a priority. The 20 enjoyable, interactive classroom activities that are included will help students understand The Giver in fun and entertaining ways. Fun Classroom Activities include group projects, games, critical thinking activities, brainstorming sessions, writing poems, drawing or sketching, and countless other creative exercises. Many of the activities encourage students to interact with each other, be creative and think "outside of the box," and ultimately grasp key concepts from the text by "doing" rather than simply studying. Fun activities are a great way to keep students interested and engaged while still providing a deeper understanding of The Giver and its themes.
Essay Questions/Writing Assignments
These 20 Essay Questions/Writing Assignments can be used as essay questions on a test, or as stand-alone essay topics for a take-home or in-class writing assignment on The Giver . Students should have a full understanding of the unit material in order to answer these questions. They often include multiple parts of the work and ask for a thorough analysis of the overall text. They nearly always require a substantial response. Essay responses are typically expected to be one (or more) page(s) and consist of multiple paragraphs, although it is possible to write answers more briefly. These essays are designed to challenge a student's understanding of the broad points in a work, interactions among the characters, and main points and themes of the text. But, they also cover many of the other issues specific to the work and to the world today.
Short Essay Questions
The 60 Short Essay Questions listed in this section require a one to two sentence answer. They ask students to demonstrate a deeper understanding of The Giver by describing what they've read, rather than just recalling it. The short essay questions evaluate not only whether students have read the material, but also how well they understand and can apply it. They require more thought than multiple choice questions, but are shorter than the essay questions.
Multiple Choice Questions
The 180 Multiple Choice Questions in this lesson plan will test a student's recall and understanding of The Giver . Use these questions for quizzes, homework assignments or tests. The questions are broken out into sections, so they focus on specific chapters within The Giver . This allows you to test and review the book as you proceed through the unit. Typically, there are 5-15 questions per chapter, act or section.
Use the Oral Reading Evaluation Form when students are reading aloud in class. Pass the forms out before you assign reading, so students will know what to expect. You can use the forms to provide general feedback on audibility, pronunciation, articulation, expression and rate of speech. You can use this form to grade students, or simply comment on their progress.
Use the Writing Evaluation Form when you're grading student essays. This will help you establish uniform criteria for grading essays even though students may be writing about different aspects of the material. By following this form you will be able to evaluate the thesis, organization, supporting arguments, paragraph transitions, grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. of each student's essay.
The Quizzes/Homework Assignments are worksheets that can be used in a variety of ways. They pull questions from the multiple choice and short essay sections, the character and object descriptions, and the chapter abstracts to create worksheets that can be used for pop quizzes, in-class assignments and homework. Periodic homework assignments and quizzes are a great way to encourage students to stay on top of their assigned reading. They can also help you determine which concepts and ideas your class grasps and which they need more guidance on. By pulling from the different sections of the lesson plan, quizzes and homework assignments offer a comprehensive review of The Giver in manageable increments that are less substantial than a full blown test.
Use the Test Summary page to determine which pre-made test is most relevant to your students' learning styles. This lesson plan provides both full unit tests and mid-unit tests. You can choose from several tests that include differing combinations of multiple choice questions, short answer questions, short essay questions, full essay questions, character and object matching, etc. Some of the tests are designed to be more difficult than others. Some have essay questions, while others are limited to short-response questions, like multiple choice, matching and short answer questions. If you don't find the combination of questions that best suits your class, you can also create your own test on The Giver .
Create Your Own Quiz or Test
You have the option to Create Your Own Quiz or Test. If you want to integrate questions you've developed for your curriculum with the questions in this lesson plan, or you simply want to create a unique test or quiz from the questions this lesson plan offers, it's easy to do. Cut and paste the information from the Create Your Own Quiz or Test page into a Word document to get started. Scroll through the sections of the lesson plan that most interest you and cut and paste the exact questions you want to use into your new, personalized The Giver lesson plan.
Everything you need for every book you read.
Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Lois Lowry's The Giver . Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
The Giver: Introduction
The giver: plot summary, the giver: detailed summary & analysis, the giver: themes, the giver: quotes, the giver: characters, the giver: symbols, the giver: theme wheel, brief biography of lois lowry.
Historical Context of The Giver
Other books related to the giver.
- Full Title: The Giver
- When Written: Early 1990s
- Where Written: Maine
- When Published: April 16, 1993
- Literary Period: Contemporary
- Genre: Dystopian novel
- Setting: A managed community in a futuristic society. The community is cut off from the outside world, which is referred to as "elsewhere."
- Climax: Jonas learns that when his father "releases" newchildren, he actually kills them. Jonas decides to leave the community.
- Antagonist: Jonas's community and its system of Sameness
- Point of View: Third-person limited, through Jonas's eyes
Extra Credit for The Giver
Awards: The Giver won the 1994 Newbery Medal, considered the most prestigious award for children's literature.
Banned Book: Although The Giver tops countless school reading lists, it has also been banned by some schools, which claim that some of the material, like euthanasia and suicide, is inappropriate for children.
One of Three: Lowry has written two more books set in the world of The Giver and including some of the characters from The Giver . The three books together are often described as a "loose trilogy." The second book in the series is Gathering Blue and was published in 2000. The third, The Messenger , was published in 2004.
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The Giver by Lois Lowry Lesson plans and other teaching resources
Lois Lowry The author's official site.
Teacher Guide to The Giver How might students use storyboards to demonstrate and to extend their learning? Check the resources here. Includes essential questions, plot diagram, character maps, exploration of dystopiansocieties, key themes, motifs and symbols, vocabulary, and more. Note: Storyboard That helps sponsor this site.
Text to Text: The Giver and "The Dark Side of Young Adult Fiction" This article pairs the novel with a nonfiction article from The New York Times. It also provides some biographical information about Lois Lowry and includes a video interview with her.
The Giver A message from the author, booktalk, pre-reading activity, thematic connections, interdisciplinary projects, vocabulary, and related titles.
The Giver A black-and-white activity designed as a followup to the novel.
The Giver Students explore the effect of different colors as an introduction to the idea of "no-color" in the book.
The Giver Designed for grades 7 and 8, this novel guide includes theme openers, crosscurricular activities, research assignments, and related readings.
The Giver : 7 Creative Classroom Activities Job Fair, Memory Book, Travel Brochure, 90-second Video Adaptation, Cover Redesign, Emotional Rainbow, Community Newspaper. Great ideas for helping students connect to the text.
The Giver Educator's Resource Guide Discussion questions, writing prompts, cross-curricular connections, debate topics. academic vocabulary like irony , turning point . Designed to accompany the 2014 film. 28 pages; Adobe Reader required.
The Giver — Authority A unit lesson that will have students be researchers and recorders in the process of finding information on Utopian societies, cults and authority. Students will complete a Powerpoint, Glogster, essay or news broadcast by the conclusion of the essay.
The Giver : Crossword Crossword puzzle with answers. Access requires Adobe Reader.
Memories Matter: The Giver and Descriptive Writing Memoirs From the site: "By discussing the importance of having a written history of humanity, and the ways in which prior knowledge and life experiences influence others, students soon realize the horror of Jonas's utopian society. This understanding generates a keen interest in the descriptive writing of students' own history."
Teaching Problem Solving Through The Giver In this blog post a teacher describes a prewriting strategy that helped students narrow a topic before writing an argument paragraph.
Vocabulary from The Giver Words are presented in context and with definitions. Click on a word for pronunciation, examples of recent use, more.
Word Search: The Giver This 2-page printable requires Adobe Reader for access, includes answers.
Word Unscramble: The Giver A list of 16 scrambled words drawn from the book. This 2-page printable requires Adobe Reader for access, includes answers.
Lois Lowry Links to lesson plans for other works by Lowry.
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The Giver Lesson Plans
Lesson Plans and Ideas for Teaching The Giver
10 Lesson Plan Ideas for The Giver
Below are 10 quick lesson plan ideas for teaching The Giver by Lois Lowry. If you want detailed daily lesson plans and everything else you need to teach The Giver in one easy download, check out this amazing full unit plan. Lesson Ideas 1. Introduction to the novel: Before diving into the book, introduce students to the basic plot and themes of The Giver. This can include a brief summary of the story, discussion of the setting and characters, and identification of key themes such as individuality, conformity, and the value of memories. 2. Character analysis: Have students choose a character from The Giver to analyze in depth. This could include creating a character map, writing a character sketch, or Read More …
The Giver Questions – Chapters 9 to 12
For the full list of questions, please see my Ultimate Unit Plan for The Giver. Instructions These questions are intended to compel students to engage with The Giver in a meaningful way. They can be used in many ways, but may be most effective when first done in writing and then discussed as a class. Chapter 9 1. (a) How do Jonas’ instructions contradict the community rules? (b) What challenges do you foresee? (c) How will his life change? 2. If you were Jonas, how would you react to these instructions? Chapter 10 1. How does the Giver treat Jonas? Give specific examples from the story. 2. This is the first time that Jonas can ask any questions he wants. Read More …
The Giver Questions – Chapter 5 to 8
For the full list of questions, please see my Ultimate Unit Plan for The Giver. Instructions These questions are intended to compel students to engage with The Giver in a meaningful way. They can be used in many ways, but may be most effective when first done in writing and then discussed as a class. Chapter 5 1. Why does Jonas force himself to describe his whole dream despite his reluctance and embarrassment? 2. What is the communities attitude towards and treatment for “stirrings”? What does this say about the community? Chapter 6 1. What type of person might not “fit in” to a carefully planned and organized community like the one in The Giver? Chapter 7 1. Why do Read More …
11 Activities for The Giver
Whether you substitute teach or have your own classes, you can never have too many quick activities and assignments on hand to fill the gaps that sometimes arise. Here are 11 good ones that will fit well with The Giver, but can also be used with any novel, play, or short story. And if you really want to save time and reduce your workload, download this full unit plan for The Giver and enjoy stress-free teaching for weeks. 1. Create a Quiz Students create a quiz for the novel, short story, or play being studied. They can use an online quiz-making site like quizyourfriends.com, or do it the old-fashioned way with pen and paper. 2. Character Horoscope Students write a Read More …
New Ending Activity for The Giver
This lesson plan comes from my Ultimate Unit Plan for The Giver. It includes everything you need to teach the entire novel, so you can take a break from prep work. Click here to learn more. Instructions Start by discussing the ending of The Giver. Did you like the unresolved ending? Why do you think Lois Lowry chose to end The Giver this way? What do you think happened next? Students can then start on the assignment: writing an alternative ending for The Giver. Before students begin writing, they should consider the following: 1) Jonas and Gabriel are cold, tired and getting weaker. How does Jonas find the strength to go on? 2) What effect does the sunshine have on Read More …
Four Attributes Lesson Plan for The Giver
This lesson plan for The Giver asks students to consider the challenges of being the Receiver, and why Jonas was chosen for this role.. In The Giver, the Chief Elder explains that to have any chance of success, the Receiver must possess four essential attributes: intelligence, integrity, courage, wisdom. For each of these four attributes, students are to explain what it is, and why it is important for the Receiver. They must also provide specific examples that show each of the attributes in Jonas. Finally, they should create a symbol to represent each attribute. I like to have my students create a four quadrant chart for each attribute, with each quadrant providing answers to the questions above. My complete unit Read More …
The Giver Vocabulary Crossword
The crossword puzzle below uses vocabulary from Pages 1‐40 of The Giver. For the full vocabulary list and answer key, plus many other resources, please see my full unit plan for The Giver. Across 3. to punish or criticize severely 6. unaffected by disturbance 7. to signal or summon 9. harsh or grating voice 10. irritable Down 1. unshakable belief 2. violation of law, command, or duty 4. deeply serious or gloomy 5. deep and painful regret 8. distracted and deeply agitated
In Class Essay for The Giver
To save hours of prep time and make teaching The Giver easy, fun, and stress-free, consider downloading the full unit plan. Click here to learn more. Directions You are to write an essay about The Giver. You may choose any ONE of the four topics listed below. You are expected to write clearly, include a thesis, use examples or details from the book as appropriate, and explain your ideas fully. Your essay is due at the end of the period. You may use the following to help you write your essay: Your copy of The Giver Your notes on The Giver Questions Remember, choose ONE of the following: 1. What does The Giver reveal about how much the government should Read More …
The Giver Memory Book
This lesson plan is a great way to really draw students into The Giver as they think about the importance of their own experiences and memories. Start by making a list of emotions – love, fear, anxiety, joy, jealousy, gratitude, etc. Get students to call them out, and make a master list on the board for them to copy into their notes. Ask your students to then create a Memory Book describing their own memories associated with each emotion. They can include written descriptions, photos, and drawings. Students can begin in class by listing the memories they want to include. They can then start writing their descriptions and collecting their photos and other elements at home. When the books are Read More …
The Giver Lesson Plan Ideas
I want to share a few of lesson plan ideas with you here to help you get started teaching The Giver. If you have any good lesson plans for The Giver, please feel free to share them in the comment section. And if you want to have your entire unit for The Giver planned and ready to teach, click here to try my full unit plan. Character Diary Entry – Students write a diary entry from the perspective of a character in The Giver. They should make the voice authentic and the topics relevant to the character’s role in The Giver. Start the lesson by discussing what characterization is and how it is achieved. Letter – Students write a letter Read More …
Dystopian Literature Project
When I am teaching The Giver, I usually have my kids read and report on other examples of dystopian literature. There are so many fun books for them to choose from, many of them written in the last five years specifically for young adult readers. I have the notes and instructions all in a nice printable in my unit plan for The Giver, but you can copy and paste them from below to share with your class. Definitions Utopia = a community or society that is perfect, or nearly perfect Dystopia = a society that is undesirable or frightening Intro Dystopian literature often explores the dangers of trying to serve the greater good by repressing the needs of the individual. Read More …
The Giver Questions
For the full list of questions, please see my Ultimate Unit Plan for The Giver. Instructions These questions are intended to compel students to engage with The Giver in a meaningful way. They can be used in many ways, but may be most effective when first done in writing and then discussed as a class. Chapter 1 1. What do the following details from chapter one tell you about the community Jonas lives in? Jonas was frightened when he saw a jet fly overhead. Jonas and his sister don’t know what animals are. Boys and girls are referred to as “male” and “female.” New children don’t spend their first year with their families. It is rare to have visits from Read More …
Peace vs Freedom in The Giver
This is a great lesson plan for The Giver. It gets students to consider the what the objectives and consequences of rules are. You can then get your students to consider the rules of our own society from the perspectives of law makers and citizens. There are lots more lessons like this in my Ultimate Unit Plan for The Giver. You can download the full unit at http://englishunitplans.com/thegiver/ Instructions Context In all societies, people must determine what balance to have between rules and freedoms. In The Giver, Jonas’ society values stability, peace, and order over freedom and individuality. Strict rules govern all aspects of human behavior, all in an attempt to minimize the possibility of conflict. They have peace and Read More …
Theme Lesson Plan
Theme can be a challenging concept for students. They often confuse it with topics or morals. I find that every year, no matter which grade level I am teaching, I have to go over theme several times to make it stick. For The Giver, I use a three-part lesson plan to teach theme: notes, statements, paragraphs. Notes I start by asking student to make a list of topics from The Giver. After a few minutes, I get them to share their lists, and I write several topics on the board (freedom, individuality, memory, repression, etc.) Once we have a good list to work with, we go through each topic and discuss what the novel says about it. What does The Read More …
Introducing The Giver
Teaching The Giver can be a lot of fun, but it is essential to get your students hooked on the novel within the first class or two. Do that, and you can focus on guiding them towards the outcomes you want them to reach. Fail to get them engaged from the start and you will be battling their boredom for the entire unit. When I teach The Giver, I like to start with an Anticipation Guide, which usually leads to some vigorous discussions. If you can get your kids to argue with each other about the fundamental issues in the novel, you’ve got them. I give my students a handout with several strong statements related to themes in The Giver. Read More …
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The Giver: 8 Creative Class Activities
The Giver by Lois Lowry is a teacher’s dream novel. The complex dystopian plotline, dynamic characters, and thought-provoking themes provide so many opportunities for teachers to foster text-to-self and text-to-world connections. Critical thinking activities that allow students to empathize with the characters are a must-have in any novel unit. Below are 8 of my favorite activities for The Giver that do just that.
1. The Ceremony of 12 Simulation
This first activity is always a class favorite. It allows students to empathize with Jonas and his friends as they are assigned careers by the Chief Elder during the Ceremony of 12 .
How This Activity Works:
Welcome students to the classroom with a colorful poster for The Ceremony of Twelve. Once they are all settled, immediately transform into The Chief Elder. Address the class explaining that although they have spent the last 11 years learning to fit in and standardize their behavior, that this ceremony will celebrate their differences. Then, one-by-one present each student with their new job and a designated card that states all of the roles and responsibilities. After each student gets their assignment, have the rest of the class say in unison, “Thank you for your childhood.”
Give your students a choice of assignment. They can either fill out an application for a job switch or write a journal discussing their feelings on their new role in the community!
2. Seeing Beyond Activity
In The Giver , Jonas has the capacity to ‘see beyond.’ This means that Jonas, unlike the other members of the community, can use his senses from memory that allow him the ability to see color. This fun, seeing beyond class activity allows students to step into Jonas’ shoes to understand his ability to see beyond.
Students enter the classroom to a colorful poster welcoming them to Seeing Beyond. Ask them to circulate the room to different areas that have hidden image optical illusions. Some will be able to see the hidden pictures, while others will not.
After the activity, students work with partners to discuss how they felt when they were or were not able to see the hidden image. They will also discuss how it felt to successfully or unsuccessfully help someone else see the image and how this relates to the novel.
3. Memory Transmission Activity
Through his role as The Receiver, Jonas receives transmitted memories of the past from The Giver. This FREE memory transmission activity allows students to empathize with both Jonas and The Giver as they will both receive and transmit memories. This one has always been a real hit with my students!
Put a colorful poster on the door welcoming your class to The Giver’s Annex. Then, transform into The Giver and give each group of students descriptions of new memories that Jonas will receive.
Some of the memories involve painful memories, like homelessness, while others involve more positive memories like Neil Armstrong’s arrival on the moon! Students discuss prompting questions that will have them understand the value of keeping the world’s memories safe. After all the memories have been transmitted, they will shift into the role of The Giver. In this role, they will transmit one important historical memory to Jonas of their choosing.
4. The House of Old Activity
The elderly in The Giver are seemingly treated with the utmost respect and care in The House of Old , but the reader soon learns that things are not as positive as they appear. The elders of the community are killed (a.k.a released from society). This activity allows students to examine how the elderly are treated in different cultures/countries in the world and how this compares to how they are treated in Jonas’ community.
Students will enter the classroom to a colorful poster welcoming them to The House Of Old. They participate in small group discussions with information cards that provide details about how the elderly are treated in different cultures. When they are done, they fill in the blank card with how the elderly are treated in the novel and share with the rest of the class!
5. Dream Sharing Activity
In Jonas’ community, everyone must share any dreams they have with their family members. On the surface, dream sharing seems like a good way to keep open communication about inner feelings. In reality, however, it is another way that the government can keep control of the thoughts of their citizens and squash any independent thinking. This activity allows students to interpret their own dreams and consider what deeper meaning their dreams may have.
After reading chapter 6, a poster welcoming them to Dream Sharing greets students at the door. Break the class up into groups of 4 and tell each group to imagine they are family members. Each group receives dream prompt cards with common topics for dreams that have symbolic meanings. Each student shares a dream they remember which connects with one of the topics. If they can’t connect with any topic, they can share any dream they remember.
After everyone has shared their dreams, give each group the Dream Interpretation Cards that explain the symbolic significance of each dream topic. Students discuss and reflect on how it felt to reveal a dream and consider whether or not this would be a good practice in their everyday life.
6. A World Without Pain Activity
In Jonas’ community, members are sheltered from feeling any physical or emotional pain. While this theoretically seems like a peaceful way to live, Jonas soon learns that feeling no pain desensitizes people and doesn’t allow them to appreciate positive emotions. From pain, people are also able to learn from mistakes and avoid making those same mistakes again in the future. This activity brings this idea to the forefront by showing students a real-life example of someone who feels no pain.
Students work in groups to read information about people who feel no physical pain. You could have them research Gabby Gingras or Ashlyn Blocker, for example. As a group, students discuss whether or not they would like to live a life without physical pain and what challenges they might face if they chose yes. Then, they work with their group to brainstorm a list of advantages and disadvantages to living a life free of emotional pain.
7. The Telling of Feelings Activity
Jonas and his family participate in a nightly ritual called The Telling of Feelings where each person describes an emotion that they experienced during the day and discusses it with the others. Help students understand what this ritual would be like by forming classroom families and simulating the practice.
After reading chapter 2, put students into groups. It is preferable that groups consist of two boys and two girls, but it isn’t necessary. Tell them that the group is their new family and they are to assign roles (parents and siblings).
Each student gets a “Feelings Card” that they fill out in preparation for the ritual. Students must choose a precise word that describes a feeling they had that day. Each member of the group shares their feelings while the other members listen carefully.
After the ritual, have students discuss whether or not they could see themselves doing this with their family, if it would make a family closer, and why they think this is a required ritual in Jonas’ community.
8. Family Forming Activity
In The Giver , couples can only have 2 children as mandated by the government. While this may seem completely removed from the modern-day, this activity will teach students about China’s one-child policy and allow them to consider how it relates to the novel.
This activity works best with a bit of pre-reading discussion. Students discuss how they would react if the government limited the number of children they could have. Ask them if they think this could or would ever happen.
After some discussion, have them read an article or watch a video on China’s one-child policy. I have students record their thoughts as they read using a graphic organizer. The one I use has them consider their thoughts, what they learned, and something that surprised them. Ask students to make a connection between this policy and the events of the novel.
Grab a ready-to-use unit plan with over everything you need to teach T he Giver (340 pages/slides of eye-catching powerpoints, printable assignments, questions, vocabulary, and interactive class activities) by clicking here .
I hope you found this helpful! If you are interested in more tips and resources for developing students’ reading skills in ELA, click here.
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The Giver: 7 Creative Classroom Activities
A perennial favorite with educators, The Giver has been widely taught in schools since its publication in 1993. Over the years, Lois Lowry’s dystopian classic has inspired the creation of countless thought-provoking classroom activities for students. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorites below.
(Please note, in most cases these activities are adapted from several different sources. We’ve included links to relevant lesson plans where possible.)
1. The Giver Job Fair
As a class, compile a list of some of the jobs members of the Community are assigned at the Ceremony of Twelve.
Place each assignment in an envelope and have students pick one at random. Ask each student to complete a job application for the position they received, including the traits and qualities they feel the ideal candidate would possess.
- Lesson plan.
Lucy Knisley, via picturebookreport.com
2. The Giver Memory Book
As a class, come up with a list of common emotions—anger, fear, joy, excitement, etc. Ask students to compile personal memories they associate with each emotion in a journal. Students might choose to include photos or drawings along with their written memories.
Have each student choose a memory to “transfer” to the class, paralleling how the Giver transfers memories to Jonas. Discuss as a group whether there are any memories they might choose to forget, if it meant they would also forgo the emotions associated with the event (shame or trauma, for example).
- Lesson plan.
3. The Giver Travel Brochure
Have students use multimedia tools and persuasive language to design a travel brochure for the Community. Students should consider aspects of Community life that might inspire tourists to visit, or families to relocate there. For example, they might include information on the local economy, government, schools, climate, transportation system and job opportunities.
- Lesson plan. ($ )
Robert’s Resources, teacherspayteachers.com
4. The Giver in 90 Seconds
Have students work in teams to create 90-second video adaptations of The Giver to submit to the Newbery Film Festival. Rather than try and cram every detail of the story into a minute-and-a-half, students should explore ways to add their own creative flair to the narrative. For more information about the festival, click here .
Example of a submission:
5. The Giver Book Cover Redesign
The iconic cover of The Giver features a photo taken by Lois Lowry of an old man she met while researching an article in Maine. In her 1994 Newbery acceptance speech, Lowry told the story of how the man served as her inspiration for the character of the Giver.
“In the summer of 1979, I am sent by a magazine I am working for to an island off the coast of Maine to write an article about a painter who lives there alone. I spend a good deal of time with this man, and we talk a lot about color.
It is clear to me that although I am a highly visual person – a person who sees and appreciates form and composition and color – this man’s capacity for seeing color goes far beyond mine.
I photograph him while I am there, and I keep a copy of his photograph for myself because there is something about his face – his eyes – which haunts me.
Later, I hear that he has become blind.
I think about him – his name is Carl Nelson – from time to time. His photograph hangs over my desk. I wonder what it was like for him to lose the colors about which he was so impassioned. Now and then I wish, in a whimsical way, that he could have somehow magically given me the capacity to see the way he did.”
As a class, talk about the emotions Lowry’s cover evokes. Next, consider some of the elements of a successful book cover. Does it draw the reader in without revealing too much of the plot? Does it stand out on the shelf? Ask each student to design their own book cover for The Giver around an aspect of the story that resonated with them.
Amanda Miller via behance.net
6. The Giver Emotional Rainbow
Hang sheets of different colored paper around the room, with a notepad next to each color. Have students spend 30 seconds at each color, writing down the emotions the color inspires in them. When the time is up, have the students shift to the next color station.
After everyone has rotated through each station, review with the class the emotions inspired by each color. Were they consistent? Discuss why certain colors may have inspired negative emotions, while others inspired positive emotions.
7. The Giver Community Newspaper
Have the class create a newspaper for the Community, following a traditional front page layout. What sort of news might make the headlines? Consider the implications of “news” in a culture of Sameness.
- Lesson plan. ($)
- Edit source
- View history
Assignments are the occupations of the inhabitants of the Community. Assignments are designated when a member of the Community goes through their respective Ceremony of Twelve .
Assignments are made by the Elders may be appealed by contacting them, who form a committee to discuss it. Committees typically take a large amount of time to decide so an appeal is considered to be impractical.
- 1.1.1 The Giver
- 1.2 The Giver (2014)
- 2 Known Assignments
History [ ]
The giver quartet [ ], the giver [ ].
Claire is given the Assignment of Birthmother at the Ceremony of Twelve.
The Giver (2014) [ ]
Known assignments [ ].
- Security Guard
- Director of Recreation
- Assistant Director of Recreation
- Law and Justice
- Instructor of 1’s
- Instructor of 2’s
- Instructor of 3’s
- Instructor of 4’s
- Instructor of 5’s
- Instructor of 6’s
- Instructor of 7’s
- Instructor of 8’s
- Instructor of 9’s
- Instructor of 10’s
- Instructor of 11’s
- Instructor of 12’s
- Receiver of Memory
- Street Cleaner
- Landscape Worker
- Sanitation Laborer
- Fish Hatchery Attendant
- Caretaker of The Old
- Director of Rehabilitation
- Road Crewman
- Food Deliverer
- Collection Crew
- Genetic Scientist
- Night-time Nurturer
- Substitute Laborer
- Swimming Instructor
The Giver Assignment Quiz: What Assignment Would I Get In The Giver?
It is believed that the Community in The Giver has many jobs. Do you want to know which assignment you would get? Try this 'Giver Assignment quiz' that is given below and find out now what job you would receive at The Giver: Ceremony of Twelve. This sounds exciting, doesn't it? So, what are you waiting for? Take up the quiz now! You can share this quiz with your friends too!
What might you do to make some money?
Win a Forensics competition
Make something that can teleport objects around the world
Clean the house
How would you react if you saw a little girl fall off her bike on your sidewalk?
"Ok... There, it wasn't so bad! Want me to teach you how to ride the bike properly?"
Immediately grab a mop and check the sidewalk for any blood.
Find her parents and explain what happened.
Recall the time you fell off your bike and how much it hurt. Then, you realize she must be in pain, so you help her.
Bring her inside to fix her up.
How do you treat your sibling(s)?
I love to flush their head in the toilet...
I make new toys for them every day!
I am often the neutral one between them and my parents.
I lead them in special fun activities!
I don't have any siblings, but if I did, I would probably just ignore them.
What do you do when you go to your grand-parents' house?
Talk over games of cards with grandpops and grammy :)
I look through their bathroom and I'm strangely interested in their dentures...
I plan a way to renovate the stairs so that they can move around more.
I try to get them outside for some fresh air, and maybe a walk.
What is your favorite animal out of these?
What is your favorite food out of these.
Some sort of TV frozen dinner....
A gingerbread house
Fruits and veggies
Milk and cookies
How would you react if someone was mean to you?
Think of all the reasons they might be mad at you
Wonder about what might be causing the problem: you or them?
Just go with it i guess....
Throw some random goop they passed off as lunch today on your offender.
Devise a complex plan of revenge...
What is your favorite class?
Art and Lunch
What is your favorite TV Show out of all of these?
Some crazy show where there are flashbacks and an intense plot.
Anything on HGTV!
The Secret Life of the American Teenager
Pick your favorite color.
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Wait! Here's an interesting quiz for you.