In January, I always look forward to teaching The Giver with my 8th graders. I know that many teachers do this novel with younger grades, but I really enjoy the mature conversations this book lends itself to with older students. I’m just not so sure a 5th or 6th grader is ready to absorb this novel! And it seems like each year I’ve got at least one student who read the book a few years ago and they always tell me that they didn’t “get” everything the first time. Kind of like when you watch Grease as an adult, right?
I also like to tell my students that this was dystopian when dystopian wasn’t cool!
The main skill I focus on with this novel is symbolism. Up until now, I have only mentioned symbolism casually and brought it up here and there for those students who could grasp it, but now I’m teaching for mastery, and this ABSTRACT concept is very hard for me to bring down to a hands-on level. So, I started with common objects that I knew my students would recognize as being symbols for abstract nouns. For example, it’s easy for them to name things that the color red can represent: blood and love to start. Keep that going and my students can come up with abstract nouns like passion, revenge, anger, war, heat, and on and on. Then, I’ll show a diamond. What does a diamond represent? Well, once again, it DOES represent love. But when we get more specific, it represents marriage or commitment, right? It also represents strength. Why is that? You get the idea…
I’ve had a freebie for teaching symbolism in my store for a while, but I gave it a major facelift, so if you already have it, go back for the updated version! The old version was just a 2D table to glue into notebooks, but I’ve made each into a 3D interactive notebook page.
I’ll be out of town for the second half of this week to go to the Texas Middle School Association Conference in Austin, TX. If you’re headed there too, be sure to let me know! It’s about a 6 hour drive for me.
I’m pretty sure (judging by my Facebook friends from all over the country) that we’re about the only school district to go to school tomorrow. Oh well. Have a great Monday!