Activity Overview

John Steinbeck is well-known for painting detailed pictures with his words. Choose some selections from the novel where Steinbeck uses detailed descriptions of the landscape. Choose six lines from the description that are especially vivid. Use Storyboard That’s Photos for Class search function to find pictures that highlight the images captured in these lines. Then, create a storyboard for your selection!

Cell 1

“The surface of the earth crusted, a thin hard crust, and as the sky became pale, so the earth became pale, pink in the red country and white in the gray country.”

Cell 2

“The tractors came over the roads and into the fields, great crawlers moving like insects, having the incredible strength of insects.”

Cell 3

“And the crops changed. Fruit trees took the place of grain fields, and vegetables to feed the world spread out on the bottoms: lettuce, cauliflower, artichokes, potatoes - stoop crops. A man may stand to use a scythe, a plow, a pitchfork; but he must crawl like a bug between the rows of lettuce, he must bend his back and pull his long bag between the cotton rows, he must go on his knees like a penitent across a cauliflower patch.”

Cell 4

“The moving, questing people were migrants now. Those families which had lived on a little piece of land, who had lived and died on forty acres, who had eaten or starved on the produces of forty acres, had now the whole West to rove in… Behind them more were coming.”

Cell 5

“And all the time the fruit swells and the flowers break out in long clusters on the vines. And in the growing year the warmth grows and the leaves turn dark green.”

Cell 6

“Over the high coast mountains and over the valleys the gray clouds marched in from the ocean. The wind blew fiercely and silently, high in the air, and it swished in the brush, and it roared in the forests.”

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 9-10

Difficulty Level 2 (Reinforcing / Developing)

Type of Assignment Individual or Partner

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/4] Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone)
  • [ELA-Literacy/W/9-10/5] Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1–3 up to and including grades 9–10)
  • [ELA-Literacy/L/9-10/5] Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings

More Storyboard That Activities

Grapes of Wrath

Image Attributions
  • _MG_0201a • markbyzewski • License Attribution (
  • Drought • Bert Kaufmann • License Attribution (
  • Field of Sourgrass • }{enry • License Attribution (
  • 'Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California' • National Media Museum • License No known copyright restrictions (
  • Picking cotton Peoria AZ • Mennonite Church USA Archives • License No known copyright restrictions (
  • Tractors • Phil_Parker • License Attribution (
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