ALEX Lesson Plan


What about Steinbeck's The Pearl?

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Margaret Wilson
System: Clarke County
School: Wilson Hall Middle School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 8104


What about Steinbeck's The Pearl?


In this three week unit on the novel The Pearl, by John Steinbeck, students examine and discuss the characteristics of a novel, compare and contrast the novel to folk tales and short stories, write chapter summaries and essays, and conduct Internet research to prepare slideshow presentations on related topics, including both those reflecting cultural differences of the novel's characters and those issues involving the economic principle of supply and demand.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
TC2 (6-8)
2. Publish digital products that communicate curriculum concepts.
Examples: Web pages, videos, podcasts, multimedia presentations
TC2 (6-8)
5. Use basic features of word processing, spreadsheets, databases, and presentation software.
Examples: word processing—reports, letters, brochures
spreadsheets—discovering patterns, tracking spending, creating budgets
databases—contact list of addresses and telephone numbers
presentation software—slideshow
TC2 (6-8)
9. Practice responsible and legal use of technology systems and digital content.
Examples: avoiding plagiarism; complying with acceptable-use policies, copyright laws, and fair use standards; recognizing secure Web sites
  • Identifying examples of computer crime and related penalties
  • Examples: computer crime—phishing, spoofing, virus and worm dissemination, cyberbullying
    penalties—fines, incarceration
  • Citing sources of digital content
  • TC2 (6-8)
    11. Use digital tools and strategies to locate, collect, organize, evaluate, and synthesize information.
    Examples: locating—Boolean searches, graphic organizers, spreadsheets, databases
    collecting—probeware, graphing calculators
    organizing—graphic organizers, spreadsheets
    evaluating—reviewing publication dates, determining credibility
    synthesizing—word processing software, concept-mapping software
    ELA2015 (8)
    1. Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. [RL.8.1]
    ELA2015 (8)
    2. Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text. [RL.8.2]
    ELA2015 (8)
    3. Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision. [RL.8.3]
    ELA2015 (8)
    21. Write informative or explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content. [W.8.2]
    a. Introduce a topic clearly, previewing what is to follow; organize ideas, concepts, and information into broader categories; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension. [W.8.2a]
    b. Develop the topic with relevant, well-chosen facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples. [W.8.2b]
    c. Use appropriate and varied transitions to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts. [W.8.2c]
    d. Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic. [W.8.2d]
    e. Establish and maintain a formal style. [W.8.2e]
    f. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented. [W.8.2f]
    ELA2015 (8)
    22. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences. [W.8.3]
    a. Engage and orient the reader by establishing a context and point of view and introducing a narrator, characters, or both; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically. [W.8.3a]
    b. Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, and reflection, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters. [W.8.3b]
    c. Use a variety of transition words, phrases, and clauses to convey sequence, signal shifts from one time frame or setting to another, and show the relationships among experiences and events. [W.8.3c]
    d. Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to capture the action and convey experiences and events. [W.8.3d]
    e. Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on the narrated experiences or events. [W.8.3e]
    ELA2015 (8)
    25. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others. [W.8.6]

    Local/National Standards:

    National Standards ACTFL-4.2-Demonstrate understanding of the concept of culture through comparisons of the cultures studied and one's own.

    Primary Learning Objective(s):

    Students will define the characteristics of a novel and compare those characteristics to a folk tale and a short story. Students will list the themes, conflicts, setting, characters, irony, and plot of The Pearl. Students will research information related to the novel on the Internet. Student will write either a descriptive or expository essay on the novel. Students will create a slideshow presentation and present it to the class on chosen topics related to the book.

    Additional Learning Objective(s):

    Students will locate La Paz on a map of Mexico and understand its geographical location in relation to other cities in Mexico. Students will summarize the plot of each chapter of the novel and participate in the class discussions.

     Preparation Information 

    Total Duration:

    Greater than 120 Minutes

    Materials and Resources:

    Classroom copies of John Steinbeck's The Pearl

    Technology Resources Needed:

    Computers with Internet access, presentation software (such as PowerPoint), a projection device such as digital projector or TV scan converter for sharing slideshows


    Students need an understanding of the writing process and experience in expository and descriptive writing. Students also need familiarity with word processing and presentation software.

    1.)Chapter 1
    Students will discuss/take notes on John Steinbeck and his literary works.
    Students will discuss/list the characteristics of folk tales and review Cinderella and The Rough-Face Girl by Rafe Martin. For additional information on Cinderella Folk Tales, see EDSITEment Lesson Plan.
    As an introduction to the novel, the teacher should explain how the novella is based on a folk tale.
    To examine the life and works of Steinbeck, students create a timeline of the author and his works by visiting these websites: (follow its links)and
    After reading chapter one, students write a summary of the plot.

    2.)Chapter 2
    Students read Chapter 2 of the novel, discuss it with the class, and write a brief summary.
    Students work a crossword puzzle on the first two chapters of the book. See the website listed for the puzzle and its answers.
    (The Pearl, John Steinbeck-Crossword)

    3.)Chapters 3, 4, 5 and 6
    Students read Chapters 3, 4, 5, and 6, writing a brief summary of each chapter and discussing each with the teacher and class. This will take approximately four-to-five class periods.
    Explain to the students that at the completion of reading the novel, they will write either an expository or descriptive essay. This will let students begin to plan their papers and take notes as they read. For example, students might write a descriptive essay on a character or characters in the novel or an expository essay on John Steinbeck and his literary works.

    4.)After completion
    Students complete activities chosen from this website lesson plan.
    (SCORE: The Pearl-Activity 1,2,3,4,5)

    Students are responsible for putting together a slideshow presentation on a theme or topic related to the novel. Students should first locate information on the Internet and produce fifteen slides for the project.
    Suggested topics include oysters and oyster beds, various cultures, Pacific Grove, La Paz, pearl jewelry, Mexican clothing, canoes, scorpions, supply and demand, etc.

    Students present their slideshows to the class.

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    Assessment Strategies

    Discussion test questions (see attached); a slideshow presentation rubric (see attached); daily completion assessments of chapter summaries written/presented in class, oral reading participation, participation in classroom discussions; completion of puzzles and other activity sheets related to the novel (assessments for website activities appear on websites); teacher's customary formal writing assessment of students' essays





    Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

    Presentation of Material Environment
    Time Demands Materials
    Attention Using Groups and Peers
    Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
    Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.