Digital Storytelling

The  objective of the lesson the digital story is

  • Enhance communication skills through asking questions, expressing opinions, constructing narratives, and writing for an audience
  • Develop and strengthen computer skills using software that combines text, still images, audio, video, and other media

and it is connected to the activity I will use this by having the students create mini autobiographies over an event in their lives. They will then apply their knowledge to create biographies of authors whose works we are reading. From there it can be a format they may choose to use when working on projects. It can also be used for their PBL over The Pearl and the music playlist they are creating.

Click for the video here. 




One of the things the students have to know how to do when looking at themes and moods and tones in texts, is how to quickly identify figurative language. This screencasts shows how to play a figurative language game called Orpheus the Lyrical. All of the questions are a mixture of figurative language. It also throws in non-figurative language sentence examples to ensure that students are actually able to identify figurative language. I would use this game as independent practice after completing the minilesson of notes and practice sentence creation.  With the screencast the students can see how to get onto the game and how to play once they are done with group work without the teacher’s assistance. By the level of the game the students reach I would be able to see how well they can identify figurative language because as they progress in the game, the sentences get more and more difficult. It’s a fun sneaky way to get students to learn.

The Pearl Podcast Summary


The objective of this podcast is to refresh students’ memories of what they read. They were told to keep several themes in mind as they went through the novella. The podcast summary is here for a quick reference to refresh those themes. This is objective is also tied to the PBL. Through the themes of the reading the students are creating a playlist to go along with the reading. They need to be able to recall exact examples of said themes in order to pick appropriate songs.

The procedures of the lesson, showing how I will organize this activity in my class is by posting it here in the blog, students will have access to the podcast any time they need to listen to it. I would use the podcast for a variety of audio references to lesson or novels we read.


John Steinbeck


John Steinbeck was an American novelist whose Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Grapes of Wrath, portrayed the plight of migrant workers during the Great Depression.

Born on February 27, 1902, in Salinas, California, John Steinbeck dropped out of college and worked as a manual laborer before achieving success as a writer. His 1939 novel, The Grapes of Wrath, about the migration of a family from the Oklahoma Dust Bowl to California, won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. Steinbeck served as a war correspondent during World War II, and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962. He died in New York City in 1968.

Early Years

Famed novelist John Ernst Steinbeck Jr. was born on February 27, 1902, in Salinas, California. His books, including his landmark work The Grapes of Wrath (1939), often dealt with social and economic issues. Steinbeck was raised with modest means. His father, John Ernst Steinbeck, tried his hand at several different jobs to keep his family fed: He owned a feed-and-grain store, managed a flour plant and served as treasurer of Monterey County. His mother, Olive Hamilton Steinbeck, was a former schoolteacher.

For the most part, Steinbeck—who grew up with three sisters—had a happy childhood. He was shy, but smart, and formed an early appreciation for the land, and in particular California’s Salinas Valley, which would greatly inform his later writing. According to accounts, Steinbeck decided to become a writer at the age of 14, often locking himself in his bedroom to write poems and stories. In 1919, Steinbeck enrolled at Stanford University—a decision that had more to do with pleasing his parents than anything else—but the budding writer would prove to have little use for college.

Over the next six years, Steinbeck drifted in and out of school, eventually dropping out for good in 1925, without a degree.



Want to watch the biography? Click here to see videos about John Steinbeck.

The Pearl (film)


Now that you are done reading the novella and have had a chance to discuss all of its themes in class, you are going to watch the film version.

You will notice right away the the movie takes a lot of liberties from the novella. Here is a write up of the film:

Quino is a Mexican diver who discovers a pearl at the bottom of the sea. He and his wife Juana, and their son have just taken possession of a pearl that is worth thousands. Everyday people try to get in on the cash, even Pearl Dealers try to rip them off. When Quino is attacked one day, he kills his attackers in self defence. His brother suggests their only hope is to leave the village. But on their journey to give their son an education they never had, someone may just do anything to prevent it.

What happen to Kino? As you watch the film, take notes of what you notice is different from the novel. We will compare and contrast but also discuss if the director needed to make changes because of the medium (film vs. book).


The Pearl


John Steinbeck wrote the novella, The Pearl, in 1947.

When Coyotito, an infant, is stung by a scorpion, Kino, his father, must find a way to pay the town doctor to treat him. The doctor denies Kino, an indigenous fisherman, out of racism, which enrages him. Shortly thereafter, Kino discovers an enormous, lucid pearl which he is ready to sell to pay the doctor. Everyone calls it “the Pearl of the World,” and many people begin to covet it. That very night Kino is attacked in his own home. Determined to get rid of the pearl, the following morning he takes it to the pearl auction in town; however, the auction is actually a corrupt sham and always has been. The buyers normally fake auction each pearl and pretend bid against each other, but in reality they are all paid a salary by a single man, they all turn the pearls over to him and he resells them outside the village, thus cheating the locals. The corrupt pearl buyers try to convince Kino that the pearl is the equivalent of “fool’s gold” and they refuse to pay any more than incredibly low amounts of money. Kino decides to go over the mountains to the capital to find a better price. Juana, Kino’s wife, sees that the pearl brings darkness and greed, and sneaks out of the house late at night to throw it back into the ocean. When Kino catches her, he furiously attacks her and leaves her on the beach.

While returning to his hut with the pearl, Kino is attacked by another man whom Kino stabs and kills. Kino thinks the man has taken the pearl, but Juana shows him that she has it in her possession. When they go back to their hut, they find it has been set on fire. The family’s canoe had also been ruined, an act that enrages Kino. Kino and Juana then spend the day hiding in the hut of Kino’s brother Juan Tomás and his wife, gathering provisions for their trip to the capital city. Kino, Juana, and Coyotito leave in the dark of the night. After a brief rest in the morning, Kino spots trackers that he believes are following them. Well aware that they will be unable to hide from the trackers, they begin hiking into the mountains. They find a cave near a natural water hole where the exhausted family hides and waits for the trackers to catch up to them. Kino realizes they must kill the trackers if they are to survive the trip to the capital. As he prepares to attack, the men hear a cry like a baby’s, though they decide it’s more like a coyote with a litter. The tracker decides to fire in the direction of the sound, but just before, Kino knocks him off his balance. He proceeds to kill all three trackers, but as he travels back up to the cave, he finds that the misfire he caused when he attacked the tracker caused him to shoot Coyotito in the head. In the morning, Kino and Juana return to La Paz with Coyotito’s dead body wrapped in a sling. No longer wanting the pearl, Kino throws the pearl back into the ocean.

The novella examines several themes that you will discover and discuss as we read.