Learning Activity Packet
Gossamer written by Lois Lowry

Monday: Introduction: Pass out LAP’s, copies of Gossamer by Lois Lowry and answer any questions about what is going to happen in class for the next two weeks.

Dream-makers help people by creating dreams made out of fragments of their lives. One little boy named John and his mother need good dreams because of their difficult lives. Dream-givers bestow dreams on every sleeping person in the world… on the other side of the story a dream-giver who delves too deeply into the fragments of memories becomes a Sinisteed, a terrible creature who inflicts nightmares.

Activity Checklist:
¨ Activity 1: Keep a Dream Journal/Log [warm-up]
¨ Activity 2: “Dream” Bulletin Board [art/history]
¨ Activity 3: Match the Definition [vocabulary/research]
¨ Activity 4: You’re the Biographer [history/research] [possible group project]
¨ Activity 5: Collect Your Fragments [creative writing]
¨ Activity 6: Characterization [class discussion]
¨ Activity 7: You’re the Illustrator [art/summary]
¨ Activity 8: Crosswords [general knowledge]
¨ Activity 9: Multiple Plots [plot structure] [possible group work]
¨ Activity 10: LAP due, turn in extra credit dream journals, class discussion

Activity 1: Keep a Dream Journal/Log

While you begin reading Gossamer you might want to start thinking about what you dream about and why we dream in general. Starting tonight try to write down as many dreams as you can remember. Don’t worry if you only remember one or two throughout the course of this project or if you remember a lot more than that! If you decide to keep a dream journal or log, you can turn that in for extra credit at the end of the LAP. Extra credit will only count for a student who completes every activity. Any extra points you receive for your LAP project can be used as extra participation points or to raise a low quiz score.

We will all start reading Gossamer in class as the first activity.

*Please read chapters 1-5 for our next class meeting, you will have the remainder of the class period to begin. Don’t forget to start your dream journals/logs!

Activity 2: What Do You Mean? Defining a few things

Vocabulary words: Please write a definition for the words below. It’s alright to write it in your own words especially if you already know the definition. If you would like to check your definition feel free to look the words up in the dictionary. Once you know the definitions of each word find synonyms that have the same meaning and write them below the original words. Feel free to write a definition of your synonyms if you would like to share your choices with the class. You can compare the words you chose to the words your neighbors chose. I wonder how many different words the whole class will chose…


Synonyms are different words that mean the same thing.
One great source for finding synonyms is a thesaurus, which is like a dictionary of synonyms.
[tha-saur-us] (it sounds like a dinosaur)

If you like to type using programs like Word there is an automatic thesaurus or other tool that provides synonyms for you if you right-click on the word.

When you don’t know a word look it up! and when you get sick of using a word, learn another one!

*Please have chapters 6-7 read in Gossamer.

Activity 3: I will read Just a Dream a story by Chris Van Allsburg aloud to the class. The story is about our impact on the environment and one boys nightmare about a future ruined by pollution.
We will begin our art projects in class today. You will each be asked to decorate our classroom bulletin board with a visual representation of something we are covering in class.
You may choose to make an illustration of:
¨ A dream you have had
¨ A famous dream poem with illustration, or a quote about dreams: example: (Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Edgar Allan Poe’s “Dream within a Dream”)
¨ A dream you have for yourself or your world (to go to college, to recycle, to end the war)
¨ A scene depicting pollution, much like the illustrations in Just a Dream
¨ Any other contributions that fit the theme of our class bulletin board. Please discuss your ideas with me if you have questions.

*Please have chapters 8-9 read in Gossamer.

Activity 4: Collect Your Fragments and “Dream Bulletin Board”

We will gather all of our materials and assemble our bulletin board today, those who are not finished with their illustrations may use the first half of the class hour to finish. We will discuss our finished board as a class to see the variety of subjects the class chose.

Remember when making your projects to use as many recycled materials as possible.

*Please have chapters 10-11 read in Gossamer.

It is very important that you keep up with the readings, you must have read up to chapter 14 for Monday, it is very important to our in-class activity. Have a great weekend!

Activity 5: You’re the Illustrator:

Pick a scene from chapters 12-14* to illustrate.
Write a brief summary of the section you chose (give page numbers)
Try to make your summary a few sentences long.

Use the LAP to make notes about your illustration or begin a rough sketch.
Feel free to talk to your neighbors about your illustrations but do the summaries on your own—in your own words.

*You may illustrate an earlier or later scene if you have read ahead, but try not to give the story away for those who have not finished the story yet.


*Please have chapters 12-14 read in Gossamer.

Activity 6: Characterization: Class Discussion: Write down three words to describe the characters listed below. I will do one as an example:
Toby: dog, friendly, aging

Littlest One:
Thin Elderly:
Most Ancient:

Old Woman:
John’s Mother:


After everyone is done filling in their words for the above characters we will talk about them as a class. We will choose a character or characters to focus on and I will ask you all to list one of your describing words. We will put all of our words together to see how much we really know about each character.

As you read the section for the next class think about how we learn these things about each character.

*Please have chapters 115-19 read in Gossamer.
Activity 7: You’re the Biographer:

After looking at these sources*:

Basic Biography: Lois Lowry

Interesting details of childhood/adolescence:

I found out these interesting facts about Lois Lowry:

Lois Lowry has written many books, have you ever read any of her other works? Yes No
If yes, which ones did you read and what did you think of them?
If no, are there any books that you might want to read on your own? I would be more than happy to help you acquire a copy to read if you are interested.

sources*: Please give me the name of the source or sources you looked at. (Encyclopedia, book, website, other)

*Please have chapters 20-22 read in Gossamer.
Activity 8: Crossword Puzzle:
1. These creatures inflict nightmares.
3. ____________ gave Littlest her new name.
7. ____________ is the troubled young boy in the story.
2. This is Littlest’s full name.
4. ____________ takes over the training of Littlest.
5. ____________ was the original trainer of Littlest.
6. He is the old woman’s companion.
8. This is Littlest’s new name (and the title of the book!)
9. This is the act of dream insertion.

*Please have chapters 23-25 read in Gossamer.
Activity 9: Multiple Plots:
Get into a group with two other students. Each one person in your group should pick a different storyline to focus on. Each will finish the storyline for their characters and then you should share your part with your group members. Make sure that everyone understands the plots and how they fit together in the story. I have started each to give you an example:

· Littlest One assists Fastidious in the old woman’s house.
· Fastidious complains to Most Ancient and Thin Elderly asks to switch houses with Fastidious and takes over the training of Littlest.
· Thin Elderly explains fragments and Sinisteeds to Littlest. He shows her how to bestow a dream and she gives her first dream…

John and Mother:
· Strapping bestows a dream on John’s mother, causing her to cry out in the night for her son John.
· John is sent to the old woman’s house.
· John’s mother gets a job at John’s school and tries to make her life better…

Old Woman and Toby:
· The woman awakes and takes Toby on a walk.
· The woman tells Toby that a visitor, a young boy named John will be staying with them
· John arrives and the old woman tries to help him…

Your storyline:

*Please have chapters 26-28 read in Gossamer.
(Finish the book and all activities for next class)
Activity 10: LAP due, turn in extra credit dream journals, class discussion!

What was your favorite activity in the LAP?:

Did you enjoy reading Gossamer by Lois Lowry?:

Please write any questions or comments in this space. Feel free to let me know what you enjoyed or disliked about this project and if the LAP helped you organize your reading of the story.

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