Adapting the Text

Get creative with these activities. Students bring the novel to life with their own creative adaptations of scenes and characters. This selection includes low tech art and performance activities as well as high tech web productions.

Adapting Scenes from the Book to a Play

The Red Pony has a natural and episodic dramatic structure and is perfect for an adaptation to the stage; each story can serve as an "act" in the play. Students can easily learn the art of adaptation of genres, a valuable lesson. Selected scenes from each "act" should be included in the adaptation.

Brochures, Posters, Illustrations

This is a fun activity, especially for those students who are not yet proficient in writing. Students can graphically "speak" about The Red Pony by creating brochures, posters, and other illustrations about the novel.


Eulogies are powerful, and should be taken seriously, even though they may contain some elements of humor. This exercise can provide students with empathy, sympathy, and a greater understanding, during any point in the novel, of the characters and situations surrounding death.

From Words to Pictures

Steinbeck's writings are known for their vivid descriptions. In this activity, students adapt a short passage from The Red Pony into a visual form.

Letter Exchange

This is a fun and educational activity in which individual students choose a character from The Red Pony whom to write. All students will receive a letter in return from another character (penned by another student who, for the time being, remains anonymous) in the novel. This series of back-and-forth letters from one character to another is not only fun but will provide the students with a deeper understanding of the characters.

Reader's Theater

Reader's theater is an effective, fun, and different ("out-of-the-box") way to help students understand problems that characters experience throughout The Red Pony. Groups of students are assigned a small portion of the text to present to their class. Unlike the presentation of traditional plot skits, reader's theater asks students to create a performance that reveals a message, theme, or conflict represented by the text they have chosen. Reader's Theater can be especially helpful for students who are not yet proficient in writing.

Radio Plays/Podcasts

In this activity, students create radio play adaptations of scenes from The Red Pony. This activity can be done simply as live, unseen performances (behind a room divider or curtain). Or, for teachers with access to some basic recording equipment, the radio plays can be recorded, edited, and turned into a podcast.

Found Poetry

This is a fun and creative activity during any time of the year, but teachers can apply this specifically to The Red Pony. Through spontaneous poetry, students will learn more about The Red Pony.