What Novel Unit Resources Are the Best Fit for Your Classroom: THE GIVER (Episode 42)

      Last school year, thousands of teachers across the country enjoyed teaching our novel units. Today, we’re going to show you a sample of the kinds of engaging activities you’ll find inside one. This way, if you’ve been trying to decide if our novel resources are right for your style and classroom, you’ll hear our thoughts behind how they work. So let’s take a look at our novel unit for THE GIVER by Lois Lowry.
      Watch the YouTube video here >>> https://youtu.be/2P9Knh-EphM
      I taught novels and short stories for many years, reading, doing worksheets, closed-ended discussion, and more reading. Then I started noticing that I was doing most of the thinking and I needed to hand more of the thinking and learning over to my students and get them more engaged. Today, we want to walk you through a unit and talk about how to flip things for yourself the way we did.  

       To start off, we challenge our students with nine controversial statements that are intentionally created to divide the students into two sides based on their biases. We go question by question and have students physically separate to different sides of the classroom. “If you agree, come to this side...If you disagree, come to this side. Try not to be a maybe or I don’t know.” Then we have students on both sides express their opinions, while we teachers offer challenging-yet-respectful questions back to each speaker. Students really practice their polite argument skills, while activating prior knowledge about the deeper issues and getting them emotionally connected to the story’s ideas before we even start reading.
         To finish our intro, we discuss utopias vs dystopias. Our visually engaging PowerPoint introduces the difference between real life and utopias/dystopias. We look at examples of people who have set up real utopian colonies. There are some great videos on YouTube of these colonists talking about their ideals. Then the students break into groups and start a project where they design their own utopia that attempts to solve the world’s problems. They have a great time thinking philosophically about the world’s problems and coming up with solutions. They create their own society and design a travel brochure advertising their utopia. This can take up to a week. Then each group presents their utopia to the class, trying to convince us to join them. The class responds by asking tough questions about how the utopia works. When all presentations are done, these brochures will look great on your wall while reading the novel.
       We’ve talked about what’s in our novel analysis packet in a different video (watch it > https://youtu.be/Zyaw6Qjkhoc), so right now we’ll just say it includes any of these activities you want the students to have in their hands the whole journey while reading the novel.  What Is the Novel Analysis Packet? When you purchase one of our novel units, you'll find a suggested calendar map to guide you through the planning process and pedagogical explanations of all of the assignments. This video helps explain what resources to compile together to use with your students as you create a novel analysis packet.
       Our graphic organizers aren’t your typical printables. Our design turns the analysis responsibilities over to the students. During the whole journey reading the novel, they provide textual support instead of the teacher providing it. Students analyze while reading and during breaks between reading when they sometimes work alone and sometimes in groups.
With Plot, we teach them through the differences between the six parts of the plot arc. The students pay attention to the story and analyze when the events change in the story arc. (Get this FREE activity in our store.)
       With Plot, we teach them through the differences between the six parts of the plot arc. The students pay attention to the story and analyze when the events change in the story arc. (Get this FREE activity in our store > http://bit.ly/giverplot)
How to use Pixar Short Films to quickly master Plot. 10 highly engaging short films to study plot and the story elements. “Burn-E” “Day & Night” “Dug’s Special Mission” “For the Birds” “Geri’s Game” “Knick Knack” “Lifted” “Partly Cloudy” “Presto” “Tin Toy” Enjoy the Pixar Short Films Study! 1,924 Downloads so far...
       (If you need a good free resource to introduce or reinforce the plot concept, check out our Pixar plot charts and PowerPoints that have been downloaded by over 75,000 teachers! http://bit.ly/pixarplot)
With Conflict, we teach them the six different types: Humans versus other humans, nature, herself, supernatural, society, and technology. While reading, students look for examples of these conflicts. (Get this FREE activity in our store.)
        With Conflict, we teach them the six different types: Humans versus other humans, nature, herself, supernatural, society, and technology. While reading, students look for examples of these conflicts. (Get this FREE activity in our store > http://bit.ly/giverconflicts)
This 5-page GIVER Characters organizer will help students keep track of their thoughts about the main characters. Students will make notes of the physical descriptions, inner desires, important traits, and anything else they find about the characters.This 5-page GIVER Characters organizer will help students keep track of their thoughts about the main characters. Students will make notes of the physical descriptions, inner desires, important traits, and anything else they find about the characters.This 5-page GIVER Characters organizer will help students keep track of their thoughts about the main characters. Students will make notes of the physical descriptions, inner desires, important traits, and anything else they find about the characters.



       With Characters, students analyze the physical descriptions, inner desires, and important traits of the characters.
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/GIVER-Journal-Quickwrite-Writing-Prompts-PowerPoint-426199https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/GIVER-Journal-Quickwrite-Writing-Prompts-PowerPoint-426199
        We’ve written up deep and sometimes controversial Quickwrite writing prompts. Students write unedited off-the-cuff responses to various quotes, situations, issues that arise from within the story. The questions take them into memories from their lives (activating prior knowledge), connections with the story’s characters and history (encouraging empathetic reading and understanding), and deep areas of thematic meaning (spurring informal argumentation). These discussions often go really deep and usually prove to be some of the most meaningful explorations for our students.
        You know the Ceremony of Twelve that the character Jonas goes through? We’ve made the ceremony for you! Using data from the Top 200 Jobs from CareerCast.com, students will go through a simulation of the Ceremony of Twelve that Jonas undergoes. They are each assigned a “good job” and “bad job” then we discuss why some jobs rank higher for satisfaction, salary, and future job prospects. This activity is so interesting and fun for the students and really connects them to the characters’ situation. 
This 3-page Giver Jobs organizer will help the students keep track of all the various jobs that The Giver's community assigns to young people. Students will need to describe the job, then analyze what would happen to their community if they didn't assign people to those jobs. This should spur some deeper conversation about the value of all jobs, regardless of what our society (or the one in The Giver) says about their relative importance.
        Students analyze the jobs required and assigned by Jonas’s community. We discuss which jobs are more or less necessary and if any should be given a place of higher honor in Jonas’s society or our society today?
This 60-word Giver Vocabulary Word List will help students engage in the language of The Giver and understand what they're reading (includes page numbers for students to easily find the words in context of the novel).
        We’ve all seen the matching or multiple choice vocabulary assessments with the words in one column and the dictionary definitions in the other. We’ve designed assessments that require the students to understand the context of the word in the right situation.
Using examples from the novel THE GIVER, students will study phrases and clauses and determine which part of speech the entire phrase or clauses is functioning as in the sentence. They will practice locating them in sentences and telling the difference between noun, verb, adjective, and adverb clauses and phrases.
Using examples from the novel THE GIVER, students will learn about the verbals: infinitives, participles, and gerunds. They will practice locating them in sentences and telling the difference between them and normal verb phrases.         We’ve included some of required grammar topics using examples from the story. This way you don’t have to completely stop the novel and move into a grammar unit … We’ve got verbals: infinitives, participles, gerunds. And we’ve got clauses and phrases: adjective, adverb, and noun. With these activities, the students still feel like they’re in the story’s world while they’re learning their grammar.
This 8-page quiz bundle has 4 Pop Quizzes to check for reading comprehension and make sure students are staying on track reading the novel. The quizzes also work great as Exit Tickets or Comprehension Check packets.  The purpose of the questions is not to trick the students. But since some students may have read the novel in the past, each question is crafted to see if the students read the chapter sometime recently. They are easily remembered, short-term answers. I've quality tested the quizzes with students.
        We’ve crafted our Pop Quizzes to assess whether or not students read the chapters. If the students read the chapters, they should earn 100%s...if they didn’t read, they should not be able to guess their way to success. These can also be used as exit cards or quick comprehension assessments to see if you need to further explain the main events of the chapters.
Students are given 3 persuasive topics about The Giver:  > Theme - Getting rid of pain > Character - Carrying the memories > Setting - Personal Rights  They can then choose to write an essay or deliver a speech on their ideas from The Giver. The grading rubrics are included for easy, effective grading and feedback.
        If you choose to assign an essay, students choose from a few deep topics to either write an essay or turn their essay outline into a speech on the topic. During the speeches, students will need to understand and chart the speakers’ thesis statements. And for you . . . no-hassle grading rubrics are included to make your teaching life easier and save you time.
These 5 Giver Project ideas will offer the students a choice of the creative project they are most drawn to. Acting, drawing, designing, and more . . . students will stretch their artistic brains as they work to understand the deeper meanings of the novel through creative presentation.
        In lieu of essays or speeches, you might want to have your students choose a final project to create and present to the class. A wide variety of project options are provided to meet students’ preferences, artistic skills, technology access and talents, and create diversity in the final products and presentations. It also allows students the ability to work alone or in groups. The students find these project ideas as engaging as they are challenging.
Students draw a picture of something painful and anonymously turn them in to be hung on the wall. - Large class discussion about the various pains of life and how to fix them. - 5-slide, 3-question PowerPoint        For our final discussion, we’re going to provide enough time and emotional space for an unforgettable thematic experience for our students.
       The day before this activity, we prepare our students by telling them to start thinking about a seriously large pain in their recent or current life. It can be any kind of pain: physical, emotional, relational, familial, social, spiritual, etc. On discussion day, start by having each student draw an anonymous picture or illustration of their recent pain.
       Start displaying the pictures one at a time, giving moments of respect for each pain - magnets or clips work great on the whiteboard. As they get displayed, start sorting them into pain categories (death, love, depression, physical, friends, etc.) FAIR WARNING: Some of the pains might be eye-opening and intense.
       After they’re all displayed, discuss how Jonas’s world “fixed” all these pains and what lengths our world would have to go to to fix these pains. Wait for them to realize they’d have to give up choice. And like Jonas, they love being able to choose things. At the end, don’t let them leave your class completely sad and depressed. Finish with some words about how to take all these pains and go live and feel what it means to be human. They should be feeling a fuller reality and truth about life now that they realize pain is a necessary part of the full, shared human experience.
In June of 1994, Lois Lowry delivered a speech when she accepted her Newbery Award.  In this 8-page speech, she recounts a number of memories from her life that led her to write portions of The Giver. The memories are meaningful and deep and will offer a thoughtful conversation with students after they've finished reading The Giver.This 2-page organizer will help your students compare the novel to the movie (theatrical release, August 2014).  How is the movie The Giver different?  After reading The Giver, students will view the film and analyze the differences. This opens up a bunch of fun and critical-thinking conversation about why the movie-makers would change parts of the novel for the film. They are, after all, two different works of art.       After we’ve finished reading everything and had our final discussion, we read Lois Lowry’s Newbery Award Acceptance Speech and analyze the deeper thematic meanings that she mentions and explains the background of. We’ve recorded the audio version of the speech for you to play while students read along.

       We’ve included a helpful organizer for students to compare and contrast the movie. This keeps them engaged and thinking critically while enjoying the artistic film interpretation of the story.

This 26-slide PowerPoint Jeopardy Trivia is a fantastically fun review activity after you finish reading The Giver novel. These comprehension questions will build some enjoyable competition between students (or teams of students).
        And want to finish things off with a little competitive frivolity?! We’ve created a fun trivia competition that students always love. Let the students do it alone or in teams.
       Some of you might be noticing that there is no end of novel comprehension test. Yes, we do not have end of novel comprehension tests. Find out why here > https://youtu.be/ZtyCeJQVkxE
In which we discuss the topic of end of unit tests and why we don't include them in our teaching units
       We hope this gives you a full picture of how we’ve flipped things around to really get students thinking. Our students are always sucked into these activities and challenged by the level of rigor in the thinking, writing, and discussing. And every year at the end of this, our favorite part is how much our students have thought about much of the pain and hope of our human experience. So deep and memorable.
       You can get this teaching unit here >>> http://bit.ly/giverblog
GIVER Unit Teaching Package (by Lois Lowry).  A fantastic teaching unit for Lois Lowry's young adult novel The Giver. 178 pages of activities that are sure to engage middle school or high school English students. Utopias, Pre-Reading, Plot, Conflict, Characters, Ceremony of Twelve, Writing Journals, Pop Quizzes, Vocabulary, Essay, Newbery Award Speech, Jeopardy, Projects, Pain Discussion

       Conversation of the Day: How does one of these activities inspire you to get students engaged and thinking about studying a novel?
          Hop on over to watch the video and share your thoughts in the conversation.

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