The Giver Lesson Plan
Students will examine elements of plot, compare and contrast characters, make predictions while reading, and write another final chapter to the book.
- Grades: 6–8
About this book
Not only is The Giver a superlative example of character development, this novel provokes opinions from students on philosophical issues surrounding the structure of human society. My students loved writing an additional chapter to the book. The chapters were short enough to allow for sharing time, and it was amazing to me to see their creativity.
- Students will examine elements of plot, specifically conflict, climax, and resolution.
- Students will compare and contrast main characters.
- Students will make predictions while reading.
- Students will complete all the steps of the writing process to write another final chapter of the story.
- The Giver by Lois Lowry
Set Up and Prepare
Have students brainstorm distinctive memories from growing up. Make sure memories are in complete sentences but in list form. (You will want to schedule some time for students to share as there will be stories to tell!)
Ask students to go back and reread the list. Next to each memory, each student should categorize the description based on the remembered emotion. For example, a child's first trip to Disney World would be labeled as "exciting." A child's memory of a grandparent dying might be labeled as "traumatic" or "very sad."
Lead the class in a discussion of whether or not they would choose to forget some of their memories — maybe in order to forgo the painful remembrance of an event. *This is an anticipatory set. Have students record conclusions, then take up the papers for review at the end of the unit.
Students should fill in a plot diagram while reading to identify the main elements of conflict, climax, and resolution. These are key elements to consider when writing an additional chapter in the book.
Supporting All Learners
Every student I've ever taught has loved this novel! While the vocabulary is rich, the novel is easily understood by any middle school reader. The content is rich enough for ninth grade if some extensions are put into place, but the book would also be a great literature circle choice for some lower level high school readers.
There are two wonderful activities that have been supremely successful with my students.
- Have students write an additional chapter to the story. Depending on the grade level of the students, requirements for this will vary. Students should consider reasonable predictions based on the elements in the original story, but a real chapter with description and dialogue (as needed) should be encouraged.
- As students come into the classroom one day during the unit, hand each of them an envelope. Tell them not to open the envelope. At an opportune moment, after building this up, explain that you are having a ceremony to announce what each student will be doing with the rest of their lives. Just like in the novel, the students have no say as to their future roles in society. (It works well to set some students up on purpose to have jobs that are contradictory to their current situation.)
To make this really interesting, depending on your population of students, these could be jobs within the classrooms that require certain students to pass out papers addressing everyone else as m'am or sir while other students don't even have to take notes for the rest of the period. The fun happens during the last ten minutes or so when the students discuss how this feels to them. The homework that night could even be a reflective journal entry that will explore the activity while in turn expose the core theme of the novel.
Have students discuss the last chapter in small groups. What does it mean? Where did he go? This would be a great opportunity for differentiation. Artists in your classroom may want to draw or paint the last scene. Music lovers might want to compile a soundtrack for the novel using various genres of music. Kinesthetic learners may prefer to block and act out an important scene from the novel. There are many ways to celebrate the reading of a great book!