If you visit my Pinterest Board of Books for Gifted Students, you will see The Giver, by Lois Lowry, is prominently featured. I read this dystopian novel along with my 5th grade Gifted and Talented students every year, and those of you who know me are aware that I don’t often do the same thing more than once. However, this book seems brand new with every group of students. The discussions are rich and we are always able to find many connections to current events and their own lives.
The Giver is coming to theaters this August. It will be interesting to see how the book transfers to the big screen. You can see how Lois Lowry feels about the movie in this recent Twitter chat in which she participated that is posted on Walden Media. More resources from Walden Media, including educational materials, are available here. I highly recommend Lois Lowry’s Newbery acceptance speech – which gives incredible insight into the formation of the book.
In the interest of full disclosure, I recently participated in Walden Media’s “Teachers are Givers” contest, and was one of the 4 winners. They chose a teacher each week for four weeks, based on technology lesson plans we submitted. I didn’t expect to win, as my amazing colleague, LeAnne Hernandez, won the first week. However, I was fortunate enough to be chosen as the second winner. I recommend you take a look at the winning entries, as there are some fabulous ideas for integrating this amazing novel with technology in the classroom. I was truly impressed with the other 3 teachers’ submissions, and can’t wait to try them! If you feel so inclined, you may want to vote for your favorite lesson plan. The overall winner will receive a hometown screening of The Giver.
If you are looking for some other resources to support The Giver, you should definitely take a look at Teachers Pay Teachers. I have a “Depth and Complexity with The Giver” product available for $1.00, but there are tons of other related products on the site – many of them free.
Read Write Think has a lesson called, “Memories Matter: The Giver and Descriptive Writing Memoirs.”
For older students, you can find some interesting resources on Schmoop (“We Speak Student”).
Whatever you do, if you choose to use this book with your class, be sure to leave lots of time for discussion. This is a book that demands conversation. Thoughtful dialogues will help your students to become much more reflective about its themes and implications. You could probably spend a year on this book, and never fully explore some of the topics it suggests. It will definitely make an impact, and will be a piece of literature that your students will never forget.