The Red Pony - Activities

Steinbeck in August 1907 (age 5) with little sister Mary (age 2) on the Red Pony (Jill). From a Salinas Valley Guild brochure.

Steinbeck in August 1907 (age 5) with little sister Mary (age 2) on the Red Pony (Jill). From a Salinas Valley Guild brochure.

 

 

 

 

 

Journal of Key Terms

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

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

Keeping a journal of Key Terms is one of the easiest ways to make the text interactive. Anytime that you cross a word or phrase that you do not understand, jot it down in your journal. 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 have 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 the 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. 


 

Audio Book

Difficulty: Easy
Time: Moderate
Learning Type: Audio (and visual when accompanied by book)
Materials:

  • Tape Player/CD Player/MP3 Player 
  • The Red Pony Audio tape/CD/MP3

An audio book/tape/MP3 is a great way to experience the text. If you have already read the book version of The Red Pony, listening to the audio version will help you pick out and appreciate parts of the story that you might not have noticed while reading it. 

If you have not read the text of The Red Pony yet, it is strongly recommended that you follow the book along with the audio version of the story to reap the full benefit of this activity.


 

Flashcards

Difficulty: Medium
Time: Moderate
Learning Type: Visual and Audio
Materials:

  • Cards/construction paper
  • Colored pencils/markers
  • Computer/printer (if cards are to be printed out)

The flash cards can be created from scratch using construction paper/note cards and colored pencils/markers. You also have the option of printing out the cards on the computer. 

The subject chosen for the flash cards can be particular or miscellaneous. A great idea is to use questions and answers from the Study Questions section on this website or to write down any specific questions you know that you want to work on remembering.

A few additional ideas for what to put on the cards can be found below:

People/Characters: You can find pictures either on the internet or at the library to represent characters in the text and paste the name below the picture. You also have the option of using the character name as a heading and writing a short summary of the character below the name.

Cultural References: As seen in the Glossary section of this site, there are many cultural and regional references in the text. Learning the meaning of these terms and objects will enhance your understanding of what is going on in the text.

Quotes: There are some very specific, poignant quotes in The Red Pony; you can choose some of the most memorable quotes from the text and learn who has said what.


 

Diorama/Illustrations

Difficulty: Medium
Time: Moderate
Learning Type: Hands On (and visual, when doing Variation of the Exercise)
Materials:

  • Shoe Box/Shadow Box or Paper
  • Materials to create scenery and characters or markers/crayons/colored pencils

If you are a hands on learner, a diorama or illustrations are a great way to go. You can choose a particular scene from the text and recreate it in the form of a diorama or recreate the Tiflin ranch with all of the significant locations. You can also draw illustrations for particular scenes, or illustrate a map of the ranch. This will help you to visualize the text in a more realistic way, which will help you to remember key scenes of the story more easily. 

Variation of the Exercise: 
As a variation of this exercise, you can also create a timeline of the story by creating multiple dioramas/illustrations that capture the key parts of the story. You can then line up the dioramas and have a visual timeline of the story.


 

Compare and Contrast: Movie vs. Book

Difficulty: Medium
Time: Moderate
Learning Type: Visual, Auditory
Materials:

  • A copy of the text of The Red Pony
  • The movie (either the 1949 or 1973 version)


Movie vs. Book: After reading The Red Pony, watch one (or both) of the two films that are based on the book. What are the similarities and the differences? Does the film stay true to the book, or does the film take liberties with the story and its characters? Which do you like better, and why?


Movie vs. Movie: After watching both movies based on The Red Pony, compare and contrast them. Which movie is closer to the book? Which film takes the most liberties when changing the plot or characters found in The Red Pony? Do you think that the accuracy or inaccuracy of each film has anything to do with the time period in which it was filmed? Which version was your favorite, and why?


 

Pony Care 101

Difficulty: Medium
Time: Moderate
Learning Type: Hands On
Materials:

  • Access to the Internet
  • Paper for list making and a writing utensil

 Research horse care information in the Library or on the Internet. Here are some suggested sites:

http://www.firsthorse.com/

http://horses.about.com/od/basiccare/Learn_to_Care_for_Your_Horse_or_Pony.htm

http://www.thehorse.com/

Make a list of everything you would need to properly care for your pony and estimate expenses for horse care. Then answer the following questions:

Imagine you are ten years old. Would you be responsible enough to care for a pony like Jody? How much would it cost you to purchase and raise a horse? Based on your findings, would you like to have a horse one day? Why or why not?


 

Telling the Trail

Difficulty: Medium
Time: Moderate
Learning Type: Hands On
Materials:

  • Access to the Internet
  • Paper and pen or computer for writing a story

 Research crossing the plains and westward migration in the library or on the Internet. Here are some suggested sites:

http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/plains.htm

http://www.isu.edu/~trinmich/Oregontrail.html

http://library.thinkquest.org/6400/travel.htm

Once you have done some research, take the beginning of one of Grandfather's stories in "The Leader of the People" and finish the tale yourself. Add realistic details based on what you learned from your research:

I remember one time we ran out of meat (218).

I just wonder whether I ever told you how those thieving Piutes drove off thirty-five of our horses (219).

Did I ever tell you how I wanted each wagon to carry a long iron plate?

Reminds me of a pistol I had when I was leading the people across (220).


Setting | Character Summaries | Plot Synopsis | Critical Reception
Cultural References | Key Terms and Concepts | Major Themes