The Red Pony - Mining for Examples

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Language Arts, History

Grade Level


Type of Activity

Individual, Small group, Ongoing


  • Students will reinforce their analytical and critical thinking skills.
  • Students will practice working collaboratively.
  • Students will collaboratively create a study guide for the novel.


This is an ongoing activity that lends itself to working with novels or other book-length works. Ideally, this can be done online. However, this activity can also be successfully done by making and distributing photocopies of student work.

Materials Needed/Preparation 

  • If working digitally, prepare your online documents (optional).
  • Have copies of the sample organizer.
  • Based on how the reading assignments are broken out, match each student or set of partners with a reading assignment (or part of one).
    • This can be done in partners or in small groups.
    • Books with chapters are more easily adapted for this activity. For books with few chapters, such as The Red Pony, break up the assignment into fair/equal parts for each student or set of partners.
  • Create a list of takeaways that include important themes, scenes, symbolism, etc. for each section of reading.

Estimated Time

20-30 minutes to set up the activity. Then, students work on it primarily at home.


  • Introduce the activity, and distribute a sample outline/template.
    • Consider posting this sample online as well.
  • For their assigned section(s) of the readings, students will do the following:
    • List the major themes/issues from the reading.
    • Site specific examples, scenes, quotations, etc. that exhibit these themes.
    • Explain/analyze the example.
      • How does it connect to the themes of the chapter (section, etc.)?
      • How does it connect to the themes of the book?
      • Why is this passage important?
      • Any form of analytical reaction can be valid.
    • Submit write-up.
      • Ideally, this is done in a digital environment.
      • If done in hard copy form, students will turn in their write-up. Photocopies need to be made and distributed to the class.
    • It is important to check student progress throughout the project. Check student write-ups on a daily basis; ensure accuracy and thoroughness.
    • Consider doing this at the beginning of class while students are working on an opening activity/journal assignment.
  • Student analyses can/should be used for class discussions, quizzes, etc.

Post Activity/Takeaways/Follow-up 

  • Takeaways
    • Students are creating a study guide for the novel and should have a more thorough understanding of the themes, characters, and important passages in the book. (Also see Study Guides.)
  • Follow-up
    • It is important that student write-ups be examined by the teacher before distributing them to the entire class. Be certain that the write-ups are accurate.


  • When assessing student work, take into consideration individual student progress in analytical reading and writing.
  • Based on the takeaways created by the teacher:
    • Did the student address all parts of the outline/template?
    • How thoroughly did the student examine the reading?
    • Did the student use proper examples from the novel to support her/his analyses?

California State Content Standards Met

  • History-Social Science Content Standards 6-8
    • Research, Evidence, and Point of View: 2, 3
  • Reading Standards for Literature 6-12
    • Key Ideas and Details: 1, 2, 3
    • Craft and Structure: 4, 5, 6

Common Core State Standards Met

  • Reading Standards for Informational Text 6-12
    • Key Ideas and Details: 1, 2, 3
    • Craft and Structure: 4, 5, 6
  • Writing Standards 6-12
    • Text Types and Purposes: 1, 2
    • Production and Distribution of Writing: 4, 5, 6
    • Research to Build and Present Knowledge: 9
  • Speaking and Listening Standards 6-12
    • Comprehension and Collaboration: 1
    • Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas: 5
  • Language Standards 6-12
    • Conventions of Standards of English: 1, 2, 3
    • Vocabulary Acquisition and Use: 4, 5
  • Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies 6-12
    • Key Ideas and Details: 1, 2, 3
    • Craft and Structure: 4, 5, 6