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The Giver: An Honor or a Punishment?

written by: Maria Covillion • edited by: Carly Stockwell • updated: 1/4/2013

This lesson covers chapters six through twelve of the book, "The Giver". This lesson plan includes discussion questions aimed toward a Middle School class.

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    Pre-Reading Activity

    In notebook or on loose leaf, have students tell about an important event in their lives. Have them describe their feelings. Were they scared, excited, nervous, sad…? Perhaps it evoked several emotions. In the next section of the book, Jonas will be given his Assignment. This is a very emotional time for the new Twelves.

    Introduce Chapter Vocabulary

    Chapter 6: indulgently, transgressions, congregated

    Chapter 7: profound, meticulously, sheepish, ruefully, serenely, exasperated

    Chapter 8: crescendo, benign, immense

    Chapter 9: no vocab

    Chapter 10: conspicuous

    Chapter 11: tentatively, obsolete, unwieldy

    Chapter 12: admonition

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    The Lesson

    Key Ideas for Discussion

    Chapter 6

    1. Discuss the community’s way of teaching children interdependence by giving them jackets that button in the back until age Seven.
    2. Discuss the community’s Murmur of Replacement Ceremony. Ask students if they think it’s a strange ritual.

    Chapter 7

    1. Ask students to find similarities (although still different) in our society and in Jonas’. For example: Parents calling unruly children by their number, the Chief Elder being an elected leader, tattletale children (Pierre).

    Chapter 8

    1. Discuss what might have gone wrong when the last selection of Receiver failed 10 years before.
    2. Discuss what the Capacity to See Beyond might mean.

    Chapter 9

    1. Discuss the eight rules Jonas receives in his folder. Ask students to share (or write in reading notebooks) which rule they think is the most surprising, the most important, the silliest.

    Chapter 10

    1. Draw attention to the pale blue eyes that both Jonas and the Receiver have, unlike most of the community who has dark eyes. Remind students of the eye color of the newchild Gabriel (more foreshadowing).
    2. By the time children are in kindergarten, or even earlier, they usually understand that their community is not the only one in the world. Jonas learns this (but doesn’t understand it) at age 12. Have students discuss (class, groups, or journals) ways they learn about the world outside of their own community, and why Jonas doesn’t know about it.

    Chapter 11

    1. Talk about the titles given to Jonas and the old man, Receiver and Giver.

    Chapter 12

    1. Try to make the students understand what it’s like to live in a world without color, as Jonas’ community does. Explain that this is part of Sameness. Perhaps bring in old photos in black and white.
    2. The Giver tells Jonas that a long time ago, when the community decided on Sameness, they “…gained control of many things. But we had to let go of others. (p. 95) Discuss the things they gave up like sunshine, color, and making their own choices.

    Comprehension Questions

    Chapter 6

    1. What might be another way the community could teach young children how to depend on each other, other than the back-buttoned jackets?
    2. Where do you think Elsewhere might be?
    3. Why was there no Murmur of Replacement Ceremony when the newchild Roberto got his name?
    4. Why does Jonas think the idea of applying for Elsewhere is ridiculous?

    Chapter 7

    1. What do you think about being considered an adult in Jonas’ community by the age of 12? What if our society practiced that also?
    2. Why do you think was Jonas was passed over at the Ceremony of Twelve? How do you think he felt?
    3. If you lived in Jonas’ community and attended the Ceremony of Twelve, what do you think your assignment might be and why?

    Chapter 8

    1. What do you think is the difference between being assigned and being selected?
    2. Name the five qualities that a Receiver must have. Which do you think is the most important and why?
    3. What is Jonas’ first reaction to his assignment after the Chief Elder names the qualities he possesses? How do his feelings change?

    Chapter 9

    1. How do Jonas’ parents feel about his assignment?
    2. Which rule do you think surprises Jonas the most?
    3. Would you lie if you were allowed to?

    Chapter 10

    1. Why do you think Jonas is so surprised to see so many books at the dwelling of the current Receiver?
    2. What does it tell you about Jonas’ selection that the attendant working at the Receiver’s dwelling stood up when Jonas walked in?
    3. You learned that every house has a speaker in it without an off switch, unlike the one in the Receiver’s house. Who do you think is listening, and why? Why do you think the Receiver’s speaker has an off switch?

    Chapter 11

    1. Why does Jonas’ community have Climate Control? How would you explain Sameness?
    2. The Chief Elder told Jonas that he would experience great pain. What kind of memories from The Giver would cause Jonas great pain, other than the sunburn which was minor?
    3. How do you think The Giver feels about giving his memories to Jonas? Use examples from the chapter to support your answer.

    Chapter 12

    1. Why do you think the people, many generations ago, decided to do away with color? Does that mean that color no longer exists at all? Think about Fiona’s hair.
    2. Make a list of the good things and the bad things about Sameness. Based on what you know so far, do you think going to Sameness was a good idea?

The Giver Lesson Plans

This series provides lessons and discussion questions for all chapters of "The Giver" by Lois Lowry. The lessons are to be used with Middle School students, although they could be adapted for a younger class.
  1. The Giver: A Perfect Community?
  2. The Giver: An Honor or a Punishment?
  3. The Giver Chapters 13-18: The Awakening
  4. Chapters 19-23 of "The Giver": Choices