Sweet Thursday - Activities

Journal of Key Terms


Difficulty: Easy
Time: Moderate
Learning Type: Visual and Hands On
Materials: 

  • Journal/Pieces of blank paper
  • Writing Instrument 
  • Dictionary/Encyclopedia

Keeping a journal of Key Terms is one of the easiest ways to make the text interactive. Anytime that you come across a word or phrase that you do not understand, jot it down in your journal (especially colloquial expressions in Sweet Thursday). Right after you have written down the word, you have the option of either looking up the word/phrase at that moment, or after you've finished the chapter. 
Write down the definition or explanation of the word/phrase in your journal so that you have it as a reference throughout the rest of the story.

 



List of Characters


Difficulty: Easy
Time: Moderate
Learning Type: Visual and Hands On
Materials: 

  • Journal/Pieces of blank paper 
  • Writing Instrument

Keeping a List of Characters is another way to make the text interactive. Anytime you come across a new character, write their name down in your journal. Keep a bulleted list prepared underneath the name of each character and write down defining characteristics of their personality or significant events that they are involved in. This will help you create a clearer idea of each character and their purpose in the story.

 



Map of Cannery Row


Difficulty level: Medium
Time: Moderate 
Learning type: Hands on 
Materials:

  • Large sheets of paper
  • Markers/colored pencils/crayons, etc.
  • Copy of Sweet Thursday

Create your own map of how you see Cannery Row, based on Steinbeck's descriptions in the novel. Look through the book to find important locations, such as Western Biological Laboratories, the Palace Flophouse, and the Bear Flag. This is a good way to remember important settings, which also helps with remembering key plot points. No two maps will be the same, and comparing the different versions will make the setting of Sweet Thursday come to life for readers.

 



Cannery Row—Then and Now


Difficulty level: Medium
Time: Moderate 
Learning type: Visual 
Materials:

  • Internet Access
  • Word Processing Program

Using the Internet, research the history of Cannery Row. See the Suggestions for Further Reading section for possible websites. Create a timeline of events on Cannery Row from 1900-1950 focusing on the development and failure of the canning industry in Monterey. Try to learn as much as you can about the diverse cultures present on Cannery Row. Then, in an essay, compare and contrast the Cannery Row of the 1930s to post WW II Cannery Row, to which Doc returns. What major events have taken place? How different is the Cannery Row of the 1950s from the prosperous Cannery Row of the 1930s?

 



Tourism in Cannery Row


Difficulty level: Medium
Time: Moderate 
Learning type: Visual/Hands on 
Materials:

  • Internet Access
  • Brochure template in a word processing program

Add to the information you collected from the "Cannery Row—Then and Now" activity by researching contemporary Cannery Row's tourism industry. Create a brochure for prospective tourists that highlights historically significant events and presents an itinerary for visiting sites mentioned in Sweet Thursday.

 



The Great Tide Pool


Difficulty level: Medium
Time: Moderate 
Learning type: Visual
Materials:

  • Internet Access
  • Word processing program

Doc frequents the "Great Tide Pool" in Pacific Grove to collect specimens in both Sweet Thursday and Cannery Row. The Great Tide Pool serves as a sanctuary for Doc as he goes there to observe species in their natural environment and make comparisons between what he sees in the tide pool and the human world at large. Research the Great Tide Pool and write a description that addresses the following: What species are most common to the Great Tide Pool? How has the Great Tide Pool been affected by environmental degradation since WW II? What are the primary threats to the region? What is being done to protect the ecology of the Great Tide Pool?

 



Understanding the Chapter Titles


Difficulty level: Medium
Time: Moderate 
Learning type: Visual 
Materials:

  • Internet Access
  • Word Processing Program
  • Copy of Sweet Thursday

Several of the chapter titles in Sweet Thursday allude to other artistic creations (see the chapter reference section in the Glossary under Cultural References). Study the reference in the title and the events of the chapter. Explain why you think Steinbeck chose that particular reference for the chapter title. Cite specific examples from the chapter in your explanation.