The Giver Teaching Ideas

Enjoy these five teaching ideas to use with your novel study of The Giver including a free downloadable activity and samples from The Giver Book Unit.  

Twelve year old Jonas lives in a futuristic world where prejudice, war, hunger, crime, as well as the freedom to select a spouse has been eliminated. Jonas is chosen by the Elders to receive memories from the past. These memories come from the time before free will was removed from the society. Will Jonas be able to handle the memories of pain and war? Will these memories change Jonas? Read Lois Lowry’s novel The Giver  to see how Jonas’s world is turned upside down by the past.

Teaching Ideas

Utopian Society

When reading The Giver for the first time, the Utopian community is a real shock for students. They often wonder if a society such as Jonas’s could really exist. Many thought provoking questions are asked in classroom discussions. Having students plan their own unique Utopian community is a natural result. Here are several links that will help you get started:

Build Your Own Utopia: ‘The Giver’ PBL Unit

Project Utopia: Based on Lois Lowry’s The Giver

Utopia Project- The Giver by Lois Lowry

 Audio Version

The Giver Read Aloud by Mr. Koch

Symbols Interactive Notebook Activity 

Free The Giver Activity on Book Symbols

Free The Giver Activity on Book Symbols

In this free download, you will receive card-like foldable organizers for students to write about the symbols. The download also contains a detailed answer key. In brief:

The Color Red – strong emotions such as danger and excitement

Gabriel – too young to understand the rigid rules of the community. His innocence is a symbol of hope. He stands for a brighter future, a way to change the society.

The Sled – symbolizes both pleasure and pain. In the end, Jonas finds a real sled which he rides into his new life. This time the sled symbolizes freedom from the past and entry into a new world.

Light Colored Eyes – people associate eyes as a way of seeing inside a person.

The River – symbolizes many things. It can be a border between the community and Elsewhere. It is a peaceful place to meditate. The river can also be dangerous and destructive. All-in-all the river is a boundary or a dividing line between the society and freedom and life and death.

The Giver – symbolizes choice and freedom to the community by releasing the memories to everyone.

Free Printables for The Giver SymbolsFree Samples from The Giver Book Unit

 The following download contains several samples from The Giver Book Unit. You will find the following:

  •  Lesson Plans at a Glance

  •  Vocabulary Practice for Chapters 1-2

  •  Multiple Choice Comprehension Quiz for Chapters 1-2

  •  Constructive Response Question and Organizer for Chapters 1-2

  •  Skill Lesson 1 – Using Context Clues

The Giver Book Unit

The Giver Book Unit


The Giver Book Unit contains graphic organizers for an interactive notebook and game activities covering vocabulary, comprehension questions, constructive response writing, and skill practice.

Gay Miller


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