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If I was creating a unit on character in The Giver, I would begin base my unit around three parts:
Before reading: Before reading, I would have students explore their own character traits and those of their friends. This lesson will focus them on character traits, and be foundational for analyzing the characters in the book. One of my favorite ways to do this is to have students complete a character web for themselves and for a classmate. You can also have them do this for a mother or father or other family member. A character web is a graphic organizer with the person’s name in the middle and lines going out with character traits and details about the character. You can give students a list of physical and personality traits. Since physical traits are important in The Giver, be sure students include both. For example, you can have them write them in two different colors.
During reading: As students read, have them keep a chart for each character tracking the character’s traits as they are introduced. This can be done on simple binder paper. You might also have them copy down quotations. Have them focus on the ways authors characterize: what the narrator says about the character, what other characters say about the character, what the character says about him or her self, and what the character does and says. Page numbers are an important part of the chart. Periodically review the charts so students can compare what they have. It is always interesting to see that different readers pick up on different things.
After reading: Have students create a character web on one character, or on several characters. You can either assign each student a different character or have them choose. Characters I would include would be Jonas, Mother, Father, Lilly, Asher, Fiona, The Giver and Gabriel. You can do various different things with these character webs, including making them colorful like collages or mobiles and adding pictures. The webs serve as assessments that your students really do understand characterization.
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