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.
Travels with Charley is an episodic picture of life in the United States during the early 1960s. Students can learn the art of adaptation of genres, a valuable lesson, by selecting scenes from the book to adapt into short one act plays.
Steinbeck's writings are known for their vivid descriptions. In this activity, students adapt a short passage from Travels with Charley into a visual form.
Reader’s theater is an effective, fun, and different (“out-of-the-box”) way to help students understand problems that characters experience throughout Travels with Charley. 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.
In this activity, students will practice summarizing and interpreting Travels with Charley in the form of blog posts or social media posts. This can be easily expanded to include photos, “replies” by people Steinbeck encountered on his journey, and other creative additions.
In this activity, students create radio play adaptations of scenes in Travels with Charley. 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.
This is a fun and creative activity during any time of the year, but teachers can apply this specifically to Travels with Charley. Through spontaneous poetry, students will learn more about the book.