Grade: Middle
Subject: Literature

#664. The Giver

Literature, level: Middle
Posted Tue Oct 6 19:34:11 PDT 1998 by Nicola Kuhn (
Sir Alexander Mackenzie Secondary, Hagensbor, British Columbia, Canada
Materials Required: Large sheets of coloured paper and felt pens
Activity Time: 30 - 60 minutes
Concepts Taught: Colours and emotions

This lesson can be used as a pre,during, or post reading activity with Lois Lowry's "The Giver". It is a good way to talk about the idea of no-colour that exists in the book.

Affix several large sheets of coloured paper around the room at student height. I used yello, white, green, blue, red, and black but additional colours may be added. There should be a felts at each of the sheets of paper as well. Have students stand in front of the coloured paper sheets and write down whatever comes to mind when they see that particular colour. Encourage them to explore the emotions that come up as well as memories or associations with objects, etc... Every few minutes call out "SWITCH" and have students rotate to another coloured paper. Repeat this process until everyone has had a turn at each of the stations. Tell students to wonder around the room and read what other students wrote down. As a class examine the common emotions and memories that certain colours evoke. You'll notice that black reflects the more negative feelings of fear and loneliness while yellow usually brings at positive feelings and associations. Red has a tendency to be both negative and positive as it conjures up ideas of death and love. Have students discuss ideas of why the community in the novel is devoid of colours. This activity helps them understand the power of colours and the emotions that they can bring to a person. Some of these emotions are unheard of in "the community". I usually leave the sheets of paper hanging for a few days because my other classes are intrigued with the idea and want to add their ideas too.

I then have the students write in their reading journals for the last 10 minutes of the class on the activity and how it relates to the novel.

This same type of activity can be used with several selections of music. Students write down their emotions, feelings, and memories based on the selection played. "The community" does not have music either and the connections can be made as in the above activity.