The Stirrings (snicker).

Posted on October 30, 2008Filed Under Related readings, Seventh Grade Behavior, The Giver | 5 Comments

We’re reading The Giver now.

“This book is weird.”

“Duh. I told you that before I handed it out. For you guys, if it isn’t weird, it’s ‘boring.'”

I was waiting for the, “It’s weird and boring,” but it didn’t come. Phew.

Last year was the first year I taught it, and I didn’t even finish it out, because I had a student teacher last year, and she took over after chapter 6 or so. So, this is virgin (snicker) territory for me. It’s kind of fun figuring things out for the first time, and I really like this book. I love blowing their minds. (If you have any groovy ideas or suggestions, I’m all ears, as they used to say.)

Related aside: If you have time and the inclination, check out We by Yevgeny Zamyatin. It was supposedly the inspiration for Orwell’s 1984, Vonnegut’s Player Piano, and The Giver. I really enjoyed it. But I’m a sucker for those crazy Russian writers.

Tuesday, we had read where Lily was wishing she could be assigned to be a Birthmother. After the sadness that nobody got to be with their “real” parents, the giggles started in about Lily’s vision of the easy life.

“You’ll notice that there’s no mention of ‘Birthfathers.’ We’re obsolete, boys.”

“Wait. how do they do they…?”

“I would assume it’s sort of like what we do with horses and cattle and such.”

“EWWWWW.” From those that get it. There are a few who are still a little behind the curve. Not for long. Wednesday we read chapter 5, the one where Jonas has the dream about Fiona. Oh, that was fun. We get to where he “shifts in his chair” as he’s trying to decide how to tell about this dream.

“What’s that mean?”

“You did something wrong, and you feel guilty.”

“Maybe, but I don’t think Jonas did anything wrong.”

“You’re nervous. You’re embarrassed.”


The first snickers begin when Jonas talks about how it’s just Fiona and him by the tub. Then he says that she keeps laughing at him (“Get used to it gentlemen”). More snickers. Once he gets to where he’s trying to get her into the tub, it’s pandemonium.

“Do you guys have a problem?” Giggle. Smirk. Red faces. Squirming. Guffaws. Lots of looking around at each other to check reactions.

“He’s weird”

“I figure he’d be weird if he didn’t have “Stirrings.”

“Too much information!!! Gross.”

Then Mother “glances” at Father. They are quick to pick up on that one.

“He’s gonna get “The Talk.”

Good call. But they call Dad. It throws them for a loop when it’s Mother who dishes out the pill. I think they’re a little disappointed we don’t get much of a Talk. Then when Jonas is thinking he was liking the Stirrings, and tries to call them back, the laughter breaks out again.

“I think some of you need to have a little talk with Mom about Stirrings yourselves.”



5 Responses to “The Stirrings (snicker).”

  1. mz.w on October 31st, 2008 6:14 am

    there’s an activity where you have the kids do the ritual of 12 and the kids get assignments and then do them for awhile. birthmothers sit on pillows and eat candy, builders build with legos, nurturers have baby dolls, etc. make sure the fish hatchery kids have rubber fish or fish hats or something. that seems to entertain 7th graders to no end. idk where my fellow teacher got the lesson plan exactly put its cool. i’m sure you could make it up as you go along. i really enjoyed teaching the giver. there are so many thought provoking topics. and the kids come up with great ideas.

  2. Mrs. M~ on October 31st, 2008 3:04 pm

    When I get further into the book and really start digging into the “no color” issue, I have the kids go to this website and take the color survey:

    It is fun for them to see how their responses compare to the majority. And your 7th graders would love the question about which color they associate with “sexiness!” 🙂

  3. Ms. Lovell on November 7th, 2008 1:48 pm

    One thing that I have found really effective is to partner with my Science teacher while I read this novel. Our 7th grade science curriculum includes a unit on genetics and it really fits well with the novel. Lots of connections to be made.

  4. mrC on November 7th, 2008 3:20 pm

    That’s a beauty idea. Our seventh grade science has a giant unit on genetics. Duh! Thanks.

  5. Suzanne on December 23rd, 2008 5:46 pm

    I also show parts of “Pleasantville” (some parts are graphic for the middle school set but I teach HS) and the kids have to do the “Venn Diagram” thing and then write a compare and contrast essay. I also have a daily blurb about “Today in History” kind of thing…The kids love the book, but the problem is that my readers read ahead and then ruin it for the rest of the kids

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