Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Giver Trilogy Classroom Activities

This is an activity I did when I taught two sections of sixth grade reading, but it could be done by splitting one class into two groups. One class reads The Giver, while the other class simultaneously reads Gathering Blue. Use any method you wish - large group, literature circles, preplanned unit - whatever works best for you and your students.

At the end of the novels each class makes one large novel chart for their book. Go see the art teacher and get some of that paper on the big ole' rolls and cut yourself about a 20 foot piece. For The Giver use black, and for Gathering Blue use blue. Hang it sideways on the wall. (We covered up a couple bulletin boards and part of the white board. A boring stretch of hallway would work nicely too.)

Divide the entire paper into 4 rows. Down the left side label the rows characters, setting, and summary. (Leave the top row blank.) Then divide the paper into columns. Leave the first column blank. Then label each column by section of the book. (Chapter 1, Chapter 2-3, Chapter 4-6, etc. or however you divided up the reading for your units.) Then fill in each space - the setting of Chapter 1, the characters in Chapter 1, and a summary of Chapter 1, and so on. Each space should be large enough for a normal sized piece of paper. Rows should be 9 inches tall. Columns should be 12 inches wide. (Would a picture or diagram of this be helpful? Let me know.

All of the labels and literary elements in The Giver's novel chart should be typed. Use the same font - a nice bland one - and print on white paper. After the novel chart is assembled it will be a great illustration of Sameness and will also represent the black and white world of Jonas' community.

All of the labels and literary elements in Gathering Blue's novel chart should be handwritten and colorfully designed. Students may use any color they wish except blue. Encourage creativity, especially in the use of color. Since Kira told the history of the community through her stitching, characters and settings (and possibly summaries) could be drawn rather than written for the novel chart. Before attaching them to the chart, burn the edges to give them an old, tattered look.

After all this is done, start reading Messenger with both groups. I chose to read it aloud so that we could discuss the connections to The Giver and Gathering Blue as they appeared in the story. After each day's reading, students discussed what they knew from their previous novel that helped them understand the events of Messenger. Then they had the responsibility of describing this knowledge to the other class. For example:
  1. In the beginning of Messenger, readers meet Seer and Matty, both characters from Gathering Blue. The Gathering Blue class then described what they knew about these characters to the students in The Giver group.
  2. When readers meet Leader, students who read The Giver will recognize him as Jonas. These students then describe for the other group what they know about Jonas from The Giver that helps them understand why a person so young would have the experiences necessary to be the leader of an entire Village.

Options other than reading Messenger aloud could include mixing the two original groups into two new groups, creating small groups that mix students from the original groups, or creating small groups that maintain the original split and then partnering a The Giver group with a Gathering Blue group for the descriptions.

That's a lot of information, folks, and I hope it all made sense. If you have questions, send me an email. Better yet, if something is unclear, post a comment and I'll respond with comments so others benefit from the added information.

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