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Lesson Plan by Mitchell Zuvela B. Sc., B. Ed.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

This free, printable Pixton lesson plan brings the elements of a novel to life with comics and storyboards.

Make the elements of a novel come to life with comics!

Including these awesome activities:
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Featured Layouts

When students complete the activities in this lesson plan, they will use the following comic layout types.

  • Character Map
  • Plot Diagram
  • Storyboard
  • Mind Map

Your students will create amazing images like these in no time!

This free, printable Pixton lesson plan brings the elements of a novel to life with comics and storyboards.
Pixton Lesson Plan on The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Pixton Lesson Plan on The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Main Characters

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

When you import any of the activities below, you can choose to share these ready-made characters with your students.

  • Tom Joad from The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
    Tom Joad

    Good-natured, thoughtful, exhibits moral certainty, protagonist.

  • Ma Joad from The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
    Ma Joad

    Mother of Tom, healer of the family’s ills, arbiter of arguments, pillar of the family.

  • Pa Joad from The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
    Pa Joad

    Father of Tom, good-hearted, plainspoken man, feels shame for being unemployed.

  • Jim Casy from The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
    Jim Casy

    Former preacher, moral voice, devoted friend of Tom, travels with the Joads.

  • Rose of Sharon from The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
    Rose of Sharon

    Oldest sister of Tom, impractical, petulant, and romantic young woman, personality transforms throughout the narrative.

  • Grandpa Joad from The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
    Grandpa Joad

    Old, bad tempered, foul-tongued, founder of the farm who torments his wife and later dies.

  • Grandma Joad from The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
    Grandma Joad

    Pious Christian who forsakes her husband, later dies.

  • Al Joad from The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
    Al Joad

    Cocky, competent, vain, younger brother of Tom, falls in love with Agnes.

  • The Wilsons from The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
    The Wilsons

    Couple that the Joads meet on their way to California.

  • Connie from The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
    Connie

    Selfish, immature sister of Rose of Sharon, abandons the family.

  • Noah Joad from The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
    Noah Joad

    Tom’s slightly deformed older brother.

  • Ruthie Joad from The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
    Ruthie Joad

    Fiery, competitive sister of Tom.

  • Uncle John from The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
    Uncle John

    Tom’s uncle, tormented by the preventable death of his wife.

  • Winfield Joad from The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
    Winfield Joad

    Youngest of Joad children.

  • Floyd Knowles from The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
    Floyd Knowles

    Migrant worker who inspires Tom and Casy to work for labour organization.

  • Muley Graves from The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
    Muley Graves

    Joads' Oklahoma neighbours.

  • Agnes Wainwright from The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
    Agnes Wainwright

    Becomes engaged to Al.

Featured Props

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Student creations come alive with these themed objects – in addition to our library of over 3,000 props!

  • Barn
    Barn
  • Bucket
    Bucket
  • Fence
    Fence
  • Field
    Field
  • Fire
    Fire
  • Ground
    Ground
  • Stove
    Stove
  • Sun
    Sun
  • Tractor
    Tractor
  • Windmill
    Windmill
Print this Teacher Guide

Teacher Guide

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Step 1Class discussion with students

The background setting of the novel The Grapes of Wrath revolves around the Great Depression. It is important that your students understand the hardships that were present during this period in history. Search the Internet to find candid photos of people living through The Great Depression. Discuss the themes / symbols / emotions that are common throughout the photos. Analyze the significance of the facial expressions and signs that are present in the pictures.

Step 2Pixton comic-making activities
  • Make a Character Map
    Character Map

    View Activity
  • Make a Comic
    Types of Conflict

    View Activity
  • Make a Plot Diagram
    Conflict and Plot

    View Activity
  • Make a Storyboard or Mind Map
    Major Themes

    View Activity
  • Extension / Modification
    Comic (Extension / Modification)

    Use the Flickr Creative Commons in Pixton to choose several pictures from the Great Depression. Create a single or multi-frame comic, with narration or dialogue, illustrating the hardships during this period.

Step 3Concluding discussion with students

The novel The Grapes of Wrath is an important piece of historical literature that is unique in the way that it is written. The author uses narrative chapters that are interspersed with random chapters of general information. This can be frustrating for less discerning readers, however, the author carefully planned the narrative to employ a number of literary techniques that connect these two styles. Students will explore this concept by writing an essay discussing how the author uses the literary techniques of juxtaposition, dramatization, and rhythm (biblical) to weave together an intricate vision of humanity by mixing these two types of chapters.

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Pixton Activity: The Grapes of Wrath 1 Character Map

Featured Layouts

  • Character Map

Intro

Comparing and contrasting is an important job that will help reinforce key attributes of the story's characters and help create connections with the plot and theme.

Instructions

Choose six of your favorite characters from The Grapes of Wrath and create a Character Map for each one.

  • It is important to add sufficient detail to all the parts of the map.
  • Include an appropriate illustration based on the character's attributes that are outlined in the novel.

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Rubric: Character Map

Use this interactive rubric for easy, thorough assessment. It can even be used by students for self-assessment!

5 4 3 2 1
Overview The character map is thoughtful; descriptions are detailed and informative. The character map is fully developed; accurate details and insightful descriptions. The character map is complete; descriptions are simple and settings are accurate. The character map includes basic details, but is not fully developed. The character map does not accurately reflect the characters.
Meaning Ideas, information and use of detail • strong point of view
• summary is clear and highly detailed
• descriptions are thoughtful and highly developed
• significant details that make characters unique and dynamic
• relevant ideas with consistent analysis
• summary is clear and accurate
• logical descriptions that clarify and develop the idea
• characters are similar; includes relevant details
• relevant ideas with some analysis
• summary is short, but accurate
• descriptions are simple and consistent
• characters similar to description
• some relevant ideas
• summary has several errors
• descriptions are brief and lack detail
• characters vaguely looks like description
• often very brief
• summary is has significant errors
• descriptions are difficult to follow
• characters do not look like description
Style Clarity, variety, impact of visuals and language • language is clear, varied
• flows smoothly; variety in sentences
• images and characters are fully developed; high attention to detail
• language is clear with some variety
• includes a variety of sentence lengths and patterns
• images and characters have purpose and significance
• language is clear with little variety
• basic sentence structures with a few variations
• images and characters are basic, but have purpose
• basic language; vague at times
• repeats a few basic sentence structures
• images and characters have minimal development
• vague, incorrect and repetitive language
• poorly constructed sentences; little variety
• images and characters are poorly developed
Form Organization and sequence • proper organization
• panels are thoughtful and detailed
• all panels are organized or logical
• all panels are present
• most panels are organized or logical
• all panels are present
• some panels are organized or logical
• some panels may be missing
• panels are not organized or logical
• panels are missing
Conventions The text demonstrates standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses eloquent words, rich sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses precise words, controlled sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates standard English conventions
• uses words and phrases, telling details and sensory language to convey a vivid picture
• demonstrates some accuracy in standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • contains multiple inaccuracies in Standard English conventions of usage and mechanics
Total
Print this Activity

Pixton Activity: The Grapes of Wrath 2 Types of Conflict

Instructions

In the novel The Grapes of Wrath, identify the key types of conflict that are present. Using a Grid or Storyboard format, identify two or three examples (one panel per example) for each type of conflict present.

  • There may be more than one type, so it is important that you thoroughly analyze your selection.

  • Provide a brief description as to why you believe that this is a good example.

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Rubric: Types of Conflict

Use this interactive rubric for easy, thorough assessment. It can even be used by students for self-assessment!

5 4 3 2 1
Overview Multiple types of conflict are fully discussed: all examples are thoroughly discussed. More than one type of conflict is fully discussed; examples are well developed and precise. More than one type of conflict is briefly discussed; examples provide sufficient support. One type of conflict is briefly discussed; examples show limited support. One type of conflict is poorly discussed; lacks supporting examples.
Meaning Ideas, information and use of detail • strong point of view
• develops ideas clearly and logically with details, examples, and descriptions
• relevant ideas with consistent analysis
• logical descriptions or examples clarify and develop the ideas
• relevant ideas with some analysis
• examples or descriptions are simple and consistent
• few relevant ideas
• examples or descriptions may be poorly developed or illogical
• ideas are not developed
• few details or descriptions
Style Clarity, variety, impact of visuals and language • language is clear, varied
• flows smoothly; variety in sentences
• images and characters are fully developed; high attention to detail
• language is clear with some variety
• includes a variety of sentence lengths and patterns
• images and characters have purpose and significance
• language is clear with little variety
• basic sentence structures with a few variations
• images and characters are basic, but have purpose
• basic language; vague at times
• repeats a few basic sentence structures
• images and characters have minimal development
• vague, incorrect and repetitive language
• poorly constructed sentences; little variety
• images and characters are poorly developed
Form Organization and sequence (supporting examples identified) • proper organization
• examples are properly referenced
• panels are thoughtful and detailed
• all panels are organized or logical
• examples are properly referenced
• all panels are present
• most panels are organized or logical
• examples are properly referenced
• all panels are present
• some panels are organized or logical
• examples are not/improperly referenced
• some panels may be missing
• panels are not organized or logical
• examples are not referenced
• panels are missing
Conventions The text demonstrates standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses eloquent words, rich sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses precise words, controlled sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates standard English conventions
• uses words and phrases, telling details and sensory language to convey a vivid picture
• demonstrates some accuracy in standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • contains multiple inaccuracies in Standard English conventions of usage and mechanics
Total
Print this Activity

Pixton Activity: The Grapes of Wrath 3 Conflict and Plot

Featured Layouts

  • Plot Diagram

Instructions

Summarize The Grapes of Wrath in a six-panel Plot Diagram.

  • Include a brief description and an illustration for each point of the plot diagram (introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, conclusion), as well as for the main conflict.

  • Be sure to identify the key points that are essential in defining each specific act.

  • Think about relevant quotes that could be used to help create meaning in each panel.

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Rubric: Conflict and Plot

Use this interactive rubric for easy, thorough assessment. It can even be used by students for self-assessment!

5 4 3 2 1
Overview The plot diagram is focused, with advanced use of language/ideas. The plot diagram is accurate, well developed, with consistent use of details. The plot diagram is complete and accurate; lacks consistent use of specific details. The plot diagram is basic; has several errors,or lacks detail. The plot diagram is inaccurate and difficult to follow.
Meaning Ideas, information and use of detail • strong point of view
• summary is clear and highly detailed
• descriptions are thoughtful and highly developed
• relevant ideas with consistent analysis
• summary is clear and accurate
• logical descriptions that clarify and develop the idea
• relevant ideas with some analysis
• summary is short, but accurate
• descriptions are simple and consistent
• some relevant ideas
• summary has several errors
• descriptions are brief and lack detail
• often very brief
• summary is has significant errors
• descriptions are difficult to follow
Style Clarity, variety, impact of visuals and language • varies language to develop meaning
• varies sentence structure for effect
• images and characters have impact on the meaning of the panel
• language is clear with some variety
• varies sentence structure
• makes attempts to use descriptive language
• images and characters have purpose and significance
• language is clear with little variety
• basic sentence structure with a few variations
• images and characters are basic, but have purpose
• basic language; vague at times
• some variety in sentence length and type
• images and characters have minimal development
• vague, incorrect and repetitive language
• poorly constructed sentences; little variety
• images and characters are poorly developed
Form Organization and sequence (beginning, middle, end) • proper organization
• sequence is highly effective and has purpose
• all panels are thoughtful and detailed
• all panels are organized or logical
• logical sequence
• all panels are present
• most panels are organized or logical
• consistent attention to sequence
• all panels are present
• some panels are organized or logical
• some attention to sequence
• some panels may be missing
• panels are not organized or logical
• no attention to sequence
• panels are missing
Conventions The text demonstrates standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses eloquent words, rich sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses precise words, controlled sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates standard English conventions
• uses words and phrases, telling details and sensory language to convey a vivid picture
• demonstrates some accuracy in standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • contains multiple inaccuracies in Standard English conventions of usage and mechanics
Total

Example Plot Diagram

Conflict and Plot in “The Grapes of Wrath” by Student
ExpositionTom has recently been paroled and is heading home to the Joad farm when he meets Casy, a former preacher who abandoned the church. They share similar beliefs so they decide to travel together to keep each other company. Main ConflictTom returns home to find the farm empty. He is told by his neighbor that the family has been thrown off their land by the bank. The Joad family, including Casy and Tom, decide to travel to California, hoping finding work, or land to settle. Rising ActionThe Joads sell their belongings, pack up the truck, and head west. The family stops to help a couple, the Wilsons, whose car has broken down. The Wilsons offer a tent for Grandpa Joad who is dying. After his death, they end up traveling together with the Joads. In New Mexico, the Wilsons' car breaks down again and Grandma Joad becomes ill. ClimaxThey reach the California border where they leave the Wilsons behind. Grandma dies as they cross the desert before they arrive in the shantytown of Hooverville. In town, a scuffle between Tom, Casy, and a police officer occurs which leads to Casy getting arrested. The Joads move south to a government run camp called Weedpatch. Tom meets up with Casy again who is leading a strike against the orchard owners who are paying low wages. Falling ActionPolice officers approach the farm looking for Casy, who is the leader of the strike. Casy is killed in a fight with the authorities, infuriating Tom into retaliation. He attacks Casy’s killer and a brutal fight ensues. Tom escapes, hiding in the peach orchards until he can reach home. DenouementTom, now a fugitive, must flee town, marred by scars on his face from the brawl. The Joads leave town and start work in a cotton plantation while Tom hides in a nearby cave. Tom explains to Ma the wisdom he received from Casy. Eventually, Tom must head out on his own so that he can finish the social work that Casy started . Al gets engaged to Agnes Wainwright.

Here's the link to share this comic:

Student Handout

Share this comic with your students to demonstrate the activity without giving away the farm :)

Conflict and Plot in “Cinderella” by Pixton
ExpositionCinderella lives a humble life with her father, and is very happy. However, soon after taking a new wife, Cinderella's father passes away. Main ConflictWith her new husband now deceased, Lady Tremaine and her two daughters take over the house. Rather than welcoming Cinderella into the family, they make her a servant and treat her cruelly. Rising ActionThe Prince, looking to get married, announces there will be a ball for all the ladies in the kingdom to attend. Cinderella plans to go but her stepsisters ruin her dress. As she sits in tears, her fairy godmother appears and gives her everything she needs for a grand experience at the ball. But there is a catch; at midnight, everything will return to how it was before. ClimaxCinderella enters the ballroom and immediately catches Prince Charming's eye. After a night of dancing, the two are in love. Cinderella loses track of time, however, and when the clock strikes midnight, she flees from the ball. Prince Charming is left with nothing but her glass slipper. Falling ActionThe prince is determined to find the mysterious woman from the ball. He sends his men to visit every household in the kingdom and have them try on the glass slipper. The woman whom the shoe fits will be the new princess. DenouementAt last, Cinderella gets a chance to try on the glass slipper and it fits perfectly. Prince Charming knows she is the one he fell in love with at the ball. He rescues her from her wicked stepfamily and they live happily ever after.
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Pixton Activity: The Grapes of Wrath 4 Major Themes

Featured Layouts

  • Storyboard
  • Mind Map

Intro

Three major themes in The Grapes of Wrath are:

  • The dignity of wrath
  • Man’s inhumanity towards man
  • The power of family and friendship

Instructions

For each major theme, identify at least two examples in the novel and depict them in a Mind Map or Storyboard:

  • Identify the page number in the panel title
  • Create an image that summarizes the scene
  • Formulate a brief description of how the example fits the theme

See the rubric for grading guidelines.

Rubric: Major Themes

Use this interactive rubric for easy, thorough assessment. It can even be used by students for self-assessment!

5 4 3 2 1
Overview The theme is highly developed; examples have significant purpose and are highly detailed. The theme is well developed; examples are specific and provide ample support. The theme is briefly discussed; examples are accurate but not fully explained. The theme is poorly discussed; vague or irrelevant examples. The theme is not identified; lacks any supporting examples.
Meaning Ideas, information and use of detail • strong point of view
• develops ideas clearly and logically with details, examples, and descriptions
• relevant ideas with consistent analysis
• logical descriptions or examples clarify and develop the ideas
• relevant ideas with some analysis
• examples or descriptions are simple and consistent
• few relevant ideas
• examples or descriptions may be poorly developed or illogical
• ideas are not developed
• few details or descriptions
Style Clarity, variety, impact of visuals and language • language is clear, varied
• flows smoothly; variety in sentences
• images and characters are fully developed; high attention to detail
• language is clear with some variety
• includes a variety of sentence lengths and patterns
• images and characters have purpose and significance
• language is clear with little variety
• basic sentence structures with a few variations
• images and characters are basic, but have purpose
• basic language; vague at times
• repeats a few basic sentence structures
• images and characters have minimal development
• vague, incorrect and repetitive language
• poorly constructed sentences; little variety
• images and characters are poorly developed
Form Organization and sequence • proper organization
• examples are properly referenced
• panels are thoughtful and detailed
• all panels are organized or logical
• examples are properly referenced
• all panels are present
• most panels are organized or logical
• examples are properly referenced
• all panels are present
• some panels are organized or logical
• examples are not/improperly referenced
• some panels may be missing
• panels are not organized or logical
• examples are not referenced
• panels are missing
Conventions The text demonstrates standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses eloquent words, rich sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses precise words, controlled sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates standard English conventions
• uses words and phrases, telling details and sensory language to convey a vivid picture
• demonstrates some accuracy in standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • contains multiple inaccuracies in Standard English conventions of usage and mechanics
Total

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