Lesson Plan: The Giver
Linda Rief, Oyster River Middle School, Durham, New Hampshire
Rief's lesson plan is also available as a PDF
file. See Materials Needed, below, for links to student
activity sheets related to the lesson.
Ms. Rief's students have been choosing their own reading
from an extensive classroom library, the school library, or
other sources and using their writer's notebooks to
respond to their reading. They are accustomed to choosing
their own writing topics. In addition, they have experienced
whole-group discussion in their work with both film and earlier
readings. Ms. Rief used Rodman Philbrick's Freak the Mighty
to introduce students to Reader's Theater by asking several
students to assume the role of a particular character and
be prepared to read aloud in that role throughout the class's
study of the novel.
Rief uses The Giver to introduce the idea of choices,
both those we make for ourselves and those made for us. She
asks them to use The Giver to examine what makes a choice
good or bad while exploring the implications of a world in
which there is no choice. She leads the class to think about
the world of The Giver in the context of their own
society by asking them to consider if such a society could
ever develop, and if so, how.
and enjoy literature.
their writer's notebooks to record their personal responses
to their reading. See Using
Personal Writing To Extend Literary Envisionments for
ways to help students respond to their reading.
richer understandings of the reading and the issues it raises
through reflective writing, class discussion, visual transmediation
and various other activities.
language effectively to create knowledge, make meaning,
challenge thinking, and expand their literary envisionments.
language to develop as a classroom community of thinkers
and learners, respectful of views other than their own.
and trust their own choices as independent learners.
vocabulary in the context of their reading. See Suggestions
for Integrating Vocabulary Study for suggestions about
teaching vocabulary from literature.
Products From Lesson:
as a tool for making meaning
presentation of ideas
transmediation of ideas: see Responding
Visually to Literature for further explanation of transmediation)
receiving and giving collaborative feedback, revising, and
editing a polished written text based on a literary work
Structure of Class:
Students work individually, as pairs, in small groups, or
as an entire class depending on the purposes and needs of
a particular activity. Desks are arranged in clusters of four
and rearranged as needed.
Reader's Theater readings of text passages
to Reader's Theater presentations of passages and scenes
quick writes or response in writer's notebooks
discussion of the literature and the human issues it presents
visual projects based on the literature
vocabulary through the context of literature
in various writing processes
or Culminating Activities:
Students write a polished essay in response to a self-selected
aspect of The Giver (see Writing
About Literature: Producing a Polished Piece for suggestions).
In addition, Ms. Rief uses the novel to introduce students
to read, research, and write about the Holocaust and other
human rights issues. They read pieces by and about Anne Frank
and Elie Wiesel along with other, self-selected texts, watch
several topical films, choose a related issue to read about,
and use writing and discussion to share what they have learned
Students may be assessed on a daily basis through:
and participation, and
following activities might receive holistic or scaled evaluation
(see Assessment and Evaluation:
Some Useful Principles for a detailed explanation of holistic
and scaled evaluation).
to specific passages
and quantity of writer's notebook entries
representation of passage or scene
paper in response to The Giver