Monday, July 21, 2014

Lesson Plan: Introduction to "The Giver"

The following lesson plan is an introductory lesson to The Giver. The lesson was taught to 8th grade Level 2 students. Level 2 students are equivalent to the Level 2 of the RTI scale; they simply need a little more assistance and attention than mainstream students. Although the lesson was taught for a specific grade level, the lesson can be adapted for other grades. The lesson includes a reflection on the instruction that shows the strenghts and weaknesses of the lesson and instruction. Teacher reflections are important, so here is a lesson that includes it! Additional references are also provided.

Title: The Giver Introduction 
Grade Level: 8th Grade English, Level 2


·      Students will be able to create an ideal world in groups.
·      Students will be able to summarize “Welcome to Utopia” or “Who Invented Rules” to a partner.


·      E08.B-K.1.1.2: Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to supporting ideas; provide an objective summary of the text.
·      CC.1.5.8.A: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions, on grade level topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

Anticipatory Set

·      Students will brainstorm a list of current events they are familiar with or have heard of.  They will jot down ideas in their writer's notebook.
·      1-2 students will share their examples to the class.


·     Students will independently jigsaw the readings “Welcome to Utopia” and “Who Invented Rules” from a handout.  Half the class will read “Welcome to Uptopia,” and the other half will read “Who Invented Rules?”  Determine the students' reading by alternating the articles by row. (For example, row one reads “Welcome to Utopia” while row two reads “Who Invented Rules”)
·      Students will read independently, highlighting at least three important things they learned.
·      Students will do a think-pair-share with their partner sitting next to them, discussing (summarizing) what they have read and highlighted.  Based off the groupings, their partner should have read the other article.  Each partner will share.
·      In their writer's notebooks, students will jot down at least one thing they learned from what their partner shared from his or her article.
·      Put students into groups of four.  In groups, students will create their ideal or perfect world.  Students will answer questions on a worksheet which helps them shape their ideal world. 
·      Students will draw a representation of their world, which could be a flag/symbol for their world.
·      Groups will briefly share their ideal worlds.
·      Briefly introduce The Giver (if time permits).
      The Giver is set in a utopian society,  much like what they read about at the beginning of class.


·      Set up a gallery walk with the “ideal world” posters throughout the room. Students will be given a post-it note.  Before leaving, students will put their post-it note on a group's ideal world that they would like to live in the most (can't be their own). On their post-it note, they must write a sentence explaining why they chose that ideal world over the others.
·      Refer back to posters while reading The Giver.  For example, how their ideal world relates to Jonas' community from The Giver.
·      Alternative closure (in case time does not allow for gallery walk): exit slip (1-2 sentences).  “Relate your ideal world to the current events discussed earlier in class.  How did you address these issues within your group?”


Formative Assessment:
·      While students share and summarize their readings, walk around and listen to make sure they are responding to the task and able to understand what was read.
·      Collect ideal world worksheets. Check for completion and following directions, that they were able to create an ideal world.


·      The texts are chosen based off the student's reading levels in the class.  All students in the class are level two students for the Response to Intervention tier, so the “Welcome to Utopia” and “Who Invented Rules” were appropriate for the student's reading levels.
·      Students will be able to work with a partner or in groups for certain activities.  They will be able to assist each other.
·      The worksheet will help students guide their discussion for the ideal world activity.


Not needed for this assignment.  To incorporate technology, students can write their journal entries on their tablet devices.


·      The Giver
·      Large poster paper/markers
·      clipboards
·      highlighters
·      post-it notes
·      Students' writers notebooks
·      Ideal World worksheet (embedded below)
·      “Welcome to Utopia”/”Who Invented Rules” Readings (from SourceBook p. 23-24 by McDougal Littell Inc.)

Reflection on Planning

My mentor teacher and I had the idea of creating an ideal world, which we believed would be a good introduction for The Giver.  However, we wanted to incorporate literacy into the lesson, so we decided it would be a good idea to open the lesson by having the students read some kind of text.

I started the assignment with New York Times Upfront articles, but my mentor teacher realized that the articles would take up the entire class for students on this particular reading level.  We wanted to keep the ideal world project, so we decided to cut out the New York Times Upfront article and find a replacement. We decided on “Welcome to Utopia” and “Who Invented Rules” because it was a good prelude of what would come when the students transitioned to reading The Giver.

I wanted the students to discuss what they read out loud.  According to Cris Tovani in I Read it, But I Don't Get It:Comprehension Strategies for Adolescent Readers, “thinking aloud shows students how an expert reader makes sense of a text.  By sharing your thinking out loud, you make the elusive process of comprehension more concrete” (p. 26).   Therefore, students will better understand their reading of “Welcome to Utopia” or “Who Invented Rules” by sharing with a partner.

We wanted the students to create their ideal world in groups so the students could collaborate and build ideas off each other.  We wanted the groups to be about 4-5 students so that they could experience working together and realize how different each person's view of an “ideal world” can vary.  Rules in a community are put together by a group of people working together, so we wanted a similar process so that they realize that everybody's ideas go together.  Frey, Fisher and Allen discuss “democratizing of knowledge” in the article “Productive Group Work in Middle and High School Classrooms.  They state that “truly productive group work should be about collaboratively building knowledge so that each member gains new understandings.” Group work really enhances students understandings, which is why I wanted to incorporate it.

Reflection on Instruction

Overall, the lesson went well.  The students really enjoyed creating their ideal worlds.  They worked well in groups and were able to collaborate with each other.  Many of the members within each group had similar ideas, so they agreed on many of the rules and descriptions of the ideal worlds.  Other groups had to work a little harder to find things they could agree on, but that was a big aspect of the project.

The students also were able to understand their readings.  They highlighted key points, and shared their findings with a partner. In their notebooks, it was apparent that the students learned about their partner's articles.  This jigsaw activity was successful.

There was not enough time for the post-it note closure, so students wrote an exit slip on their ideal worlds and current events.  In the future, I would like to improve closure.  The students had trouble relating the current events into their ideal worlds.  In the future, I could have a question relating to current events in their worksheet, or discuss it as a class while they share their ideal worlds aloud.  I also could have reworded the closure exit slip or added more parts to it so it would make more sense.

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