Guided and Independent Practice
Utilize these activities with your students to build literary comprehension of the novel on multiple levels. Provide examples and model your expectations before drawing students into the lesson.
Social Customs As students read, have them identify the social customs of Kira’s village. How do villagers deal with death? Crime? How is property decided? Is there an educational system? What is the value of the individual? Students should compare and contrast customs in the novel with their own local practices and beliefs.
Identify Theme Define or review definition for themes. Brainstorm which life lessons seem prevalent. Ideas include overcoming adversity, friendship, loyalty, trust, exploitation.
Symbolism in Colors Blue is the color of reaching beyond, of sky, freedom. What do other colors symbolize? Brainstorm a list of symbols for the colors of the rainbow with your students. What is the significance of using colors as symbols? Here are a few suggestions:
- Red = anger
- Yellow = wealth
- Green = envy, youth
- Black = death
Compare and Contrast In small groups, compare and contrast this novel with any other novel read, especially if students read the previous novel to Gathering Blue, The Giver. Use one Venn Diagram to discuss characters, another for settings, a third for conflicts, and another for themes. If students have read another science fiction book or even seen a common science fiction movie, search for patterns within the genre. This activity will work well in a group setting, but could also function as an assessment in an independent setting.
Practice Summarization Choose one chapter for students to read on their own. Remind them that a summary must be stated in their own words and describe what happened at the beginning, middle and end of the chapter. It should be brief, to the point and, finally, it should include transitional words and phrases. Practice writing summaries together before assigning individual assignments.
Point of View What is the author’s purpose for including Kira’s internal monologue? What might Matt’s internal monologue sound like? Vandara’s? Jamison’s? Ask students to choose a scene from the novel and write an internal monologue in response to a conflict.
Questioning Rather than rely on a set of pre-made questions, ask students to read Gathering Blue and list their own set of unanswered questions they have about the book. As a guide, ask them to consider which questions might they ask to test another reader’s knowledge of the novel? Which of these questions are answered directly in the novel and which are answered through implied meaning?
Archetypes Archetypes in literature are classic examples of character types. Which characteristics would you use to describe the archetypical villain? Brainstorm a list of archetypes in this novel and other works of literature using a three column chart labeled Archetype, Characteristics and Examples. How do the villains compare? Students will collect or create a set of images demonstrating a variety of archetypes found in literature. How do these archetypes help to shape a story? Here are a few examples of character archetypes:
- the villain
- the hero/heroine
- the wise man
- the healer
- the damsel in distress
- the bully/coward
- the angel
- the orphan