A Search for Happiness
An Internet WebQuest on A Search for Happiness

created by Helena Swanicke
Middlesex County College

Introduction | The Task | The Process & Resources | Conclusion | HyperText Dictionary



Introduction

Welcome to a Search for Happiness. Ancient and contemporary philosophers and savants have formulated responses to the timeless and universal question: What is happiness? Perhaps reading The Pearl and visiting some web sites will enlighten you to discover for yourself a definition of happiness.

Reading The Pearl by John Steinbeck, students in Reading Skills for College I will discover a universal moral truth. This short, simple story is about a Mexican-Indian fishing family and their discovery of the 'great pearl.' My challenge to you is to complete the Introductory Activity, two out of four student activities, and the Culminating Activity. The Introductory Activity and two student activities, and the Culminating Activity equal four activities: 4 X 25 = 100 points. Additional activities, also worth 25 points each, will be valued as extra credit. The activities will be factored into the final novel grade which is worth 15% of the course grade. The Introductory Activity and the student activities require using the Internet. The Culminating Activity, choosing a response paper, requires thoughtful and lucid writing. The Internet is not used.

The student activities will involve skills such as note taking, standing and reciting before a group, critical thinking, problem solving , brainstorming, expository and creative writing, and collaborating. I hope you enjoy reading, thinking, and writing as you analyze this story to discover themes, symbols and the answer to these questions:
What inspired Steinbeck to write this story?
What does this 'great pearl' represent?
What revelation is discovered?
What is happiness?

OBJECTIVES
As a result of reading The Pearl and completing the student activities, students will:
Show an understanding of what influenced John Steinbeck to write this novel by creating a time line.
Predict why John Steinbeck used a particular symbol in his novel by completing a Clustering Map and an essay.
Create an imaginary diary about being rich and famous in order to better understand the effects of Kino finding 'the pearl of the world.'
Collaborate with four or five people to write a radio play on a section of The Pearl. This activity will demonstrate cooperation and an understanding of figurative language and a piece of literature.
Produce a letter of condolence to Juana and/or Kino to imagine how they feel when losing their first born and only child.
Respond to literature by writing reflective responses to demonstrate comprehension at interpretive and critical reading levels.

IMPLEMENTATION
It is assumed that students have access to the Internet to successfully complete five student activities. In order to be sensitive to students with limited experience using the Internet, two activities are response papers. A minimum of four activities are to be completed as part of the novel grade which is 15% of the course grade.
The novel, required reading in Reading Skills for College I, is completed during a 15-week semester. It may take as long as seven weeks to complete reading the novel and the required tasks; therefore, it is recommended to start around midterm of the semester.

Introductory Activity: Steinbeck Time Line: Week 1
John Steinbeck wrote about the common struggles facing ordinary men and women. You will visit three web sites cited below to learn about John Steinbeck. As you visit each web site take notes that focus on the most important dates and events in his life that might have influenced his writing. From your notes, you alone (or with a partner) will create a time line and then report your findings to the class. Moreover, look at the grading criteria cited below so your time line is prepared according to the established expectations. The teacher will use this introductory activity to discuss what inspired Steinbeck to write this story.

Creating a time line: Collect data and prepare a time line of your choice. For your convenience, the Computer Lab has a software program called Timeliner by Tom Snyder.

Time Line Grading Criteria: Dates are accurate (5 pts.);
Dates reflect influence on writing (10pts.);
Time line is prepared neatly (5 pts.);
Spelling is accurate (5 pts.).
5 pts. + 10 pts. + 5 pts. + 5 pts. = 25 pts.

Visit the following web sites (See Resource Page):

CSU Monterey Local History Site - John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck: The California Novels

John Steinbeck's Pacific Grove

STUDENT ACTIVITIES 1, 2, 3 AND 4. CHOOSE TWO ACTIVITIES OUT OF FOUR TO COMPLETE. 2 X 25 PTS. = 50 PTS. (WEEKS 2 AND 3).

Student Activity 1: Essay on Symbolism
The happy face is symbolized by : - ) The skull and bones symbolize poison. The $ represents money. These are a few examples of symbols we encounter on a regular basis. You will discover that John Steinbeck uses many symbols in his writing. Activity 2 is designed to make you think about the pearl and the scorpion as symbols. In an essay you will choose one symbol (the pearl or the scorpion) to predict why Steinbeck used it in his novel. To help you accomplish this essay task you will visit the web sites below, take notes, and complete a Clustering Map . Use the Clustering Map to write a 250 - 300 word essay. Examine the grading criteria cited below for how activity 2 will be graded. The teacher will use this activity to discuss what this 'great pearl' represents.

Criteria for Grading the Essay on Symbolism:
Makes statements about significance of symbol in the story (10 pts.);
Contains between 250 - 300 words (5 pts.);
Clustering Map is attached (5 pts.);
Spelling is accurate (5 pts.).
10pts. + 5 pts. + 5 pts. + 5 pts. = 25 pts.

Visit the following web sites (See Resource Page):

Pearls: technical characteristics

Scorpion: technical characteristics

Student Activity 2: Diary of a Big $ Winner
Today is your lucky day. You won the lottery and have more money than you ever imagined. Will this money change your personality? Will your family and friends feel happy for you? Knowing that your win will affect your life, you will create an imaginary diary. Your task is to write in the first person (I/We) and tell about the two days before the 'big' win, and three days after you receive your money. Visit the web sites cited below to learn what some big money winners experienced. Then review the criteria for how Activity 3 will be graded. Have lots of fun pretending you are now rich and famous.

Grading Criteria for Creating an Imaginary Diary:
Dates are included;
Resembles a diary;
At least, two paragraphs are written per entry;
There are five entries;
Spelling is accurate.
Five points for each section: 5 X 5 = 25 pts.

Visit the following web sites (See Resource Page):

Ahtlete is Big Winner on 'The Price is Right'

Bowling: Bowlers, charities both will be events' big winners

Fresno, California Lottery Winner Reopens Missouri Sewing Plant

Third Lottery Winner Claims Prize, Asks for Anonymity

Student Activity 3: Create/produce a radio play
Broadway plays, community plays, and school plays are familiar. But do you know what a radio play is? You probably guessed it has something to do with the radio, is a form of entertainment, and family/friends gather to listen to a story performed on air. Your Activity 4 task is to work with four or five people to write and produce a five to ten minute episode for a radio play on a section of The Pearl. Include three characters, use figurative language such as simile, metaphor, and personification. Investigate Radio Play sites below to assist you in writing your radio play. Review the grading criteria for Activity 4 so your radio play is 4 star entertainment.

Grading Criteria for Writing a Radio Play:
The Radio Play should be written in radio script;
Oral presentation is entertaining;
Evidence of colorful language;
Production is 5 - 10 minutes long;
Excellent spelling, punctuation, and grammar.
Each section is worth 5 points: 5 X 5 = 25 pts.

Visit the following web sites (See Resource Page):

Radio Plays:

Student Activity 4: Write a Letter of Condolence
Kino and Juana have lost their first born and only child. Imagine how they feel at such a great loss. The grief is extremely painful and heartbreaking. The task for Activity 5 is to compose a sympathy letter to Juana and/or Kino. Visit the web sites below which give examples of condolences. Then review the criteria for how your letter of condolence will be graded.

Visit the following web sites (See Resource Page):

Letters of Condolence

Letters of Condolence: Another example:

Grading Criteria for the Letter of Condolence:
Note special qualities of the deceased;
Recount a memory of the deceased;
Note special qualities of the bereaved;
Offer assistance and close with a thoughtful word or phrase;
Written neatly in ink or typed.
Five points for each section: 5 X 5 = 25 pts.

CULMINATING ACTIVITY: CHOOSE ONE RESPONSE PAPER. (WEEK 4)
The teacher will use the culminating activities to discuss these questions:
1. What revelation is discovered?
2. What is happiness?

Response Paper #1: Search for Happiness Response
Now that you have read The Pearl and completed the assigned activities, e-mail your teacher what Kino and Juana learned about happiness and what you learned about happiness. Your response should be: 1. Organized;
2. 250- 300 words long;
3./4./5. Adheres to excepted rules for grammar,
punctuation, and spelling.
Five points for each section: 5 X 5 = 25 pts.

Response Paper #2: Reflective Response
Now that you have read The Pearl, type a written response giving examples from your own experiences to parallel the novel's themes. E-mail your teacher your reflective response. Your response should be:
1. organized;
2. 250 - 300 words long;
3./4./5. Adheres to excepted rules for
grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
Five points for each section: 5 X 5 = 25pts.



RESOURCE PAGE
The teacher must be knowledgeable in Internet use.
Students must have access to the Internet.
Students must have their own copy of The Pearl by John Steinbeck.
Introductory Activity: Steinbeck Time Line
CSU Monterey Local History Site-John Steinbeck
URL: http://www.monterey.edu/history/steinbeck.html
John Steinbeck: The California Novels
URL: http://www.ac.wwu.edu/ stephan/Steinbeck/index.html
John Steinbeck's Pacific Grove
URL: http://www.mbay.net/ etrosow/
Time line:
URL: http://www.sdcoe.k12.ca.us/score/pearl/pearltimeline.html
Student Activity 1: Essay on Symbolism
Pearls: technical characteristics
URL: http://www. veneruz.it/english/ct_PER.htm
Scorpion: technical characteristics
URL: http://www.desertusa.com/oct96/du_scorpion.html
Clustering Map:
URL: http://www.sdcoe.k12.ca.us/score/pearl/cluster.html
Student Activity 2: Diary of a Big $ Winner
Athlete is Big Winner on 'The Price is Right'
URL: http://ra.acs.csulb.edu/ d49er/Issue6/6swinner.html
Bowling: Bowlers, charities both will be events' big winners
URL: http://detnews.com/preps/021996/prep31.htm
Fresno, California Lottery Winner Reopens Missouri Sewing Plant
URL: http://sddt.com/files/librarywire/96wireheadlines/03_96/
DN96_03_08/DN96_03_08_cg.html
Third Lottery Winner Claims Prize, Asks for Anonymity
URL: http://sddt.com/files/librarywire/96wireheadlines/02_96/
DN96_02_01/DN96_02_01_cr.html

Student Activity 3: Create/produce a radio play
Radio Plays:
URL: http://www.shoestring.org/srthome.html
Student Activity 4: Write a Letter of Condolence
Letters of Condolence:
URL: http://www.otn.com/netking2/Guestbook/guestbookOld2.html
URL: http://www.hake.com/gordon/jerry2.html

Assessment:
The teacher will use the rubric cited after each activity to grade each student's independent work or group work. Each student activity will be graded and worth 25 points: 4x25=100 points. Additional activities, also worth 25 points each, will be valued as extra credit. The activities will be factored into the final novel grade which is worth 15% of the course grade.
Students demonstrate what they have learned from reading The Pearl by choosing a minimum of four activities. Two activities are required (the Introductory Activity and the Culminating Activity) and two activities are free choice. The teacher may need to plan on spending as long as four plus weeks to accomplish this lesson plan of student activities, chapter quizzes, and a comprehensive book test. All activities test achievement of higher level thinking (analysis, synthesis, and evaluation) by requiring students to create a time line, a clustering map, a written essay, a diary, a letter, or a radio play. The primary goal is to engage the student in the teaching/learning process and to make it both intrinsically and extrinsically valuable to the learner. The novel should enlighten students empowering them to discover for themselves a definition of personal happiness.






The Quest




The Process and Resources

In this WebQuest you will be working together with a group of students in class. Each group will answer the Task or Quest(ion). As a member of the group you will explore Webpages from people all over the world who care about Search for Happiness. Because these are real Webpages we're tapping into, not things made just for schools, the reading level might challenge you. Feel free to use the online Webster dictionary or one in your classroom.

You'll begin with everyone in your group getting some background before dividing into roles where people on your team become experts on one part of the topic.

Phase 1 - Background: Something for Everyone

Use the Internet information linked below to answer the basic questions of who? what? where? when? why? and how? Be creative in exploring the information so that you answer these questions as fully and insightfully as you can.

Phase 2 - Looking Deeper from Different Perspectives

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Individuals or pairs from your larger WebQuest team will explore one of the roles below.

2. Read through the files linked to your group. If you print out the files, underline the passages that you feel are the most important. If you look at the files on the computer, copy sections you feel are important by dragging the mouse across the passage and copying / pasting it into a word processor or other writing software.

3. Note: Remember to write down or copy/paste the URL of the file you take the passage from so you can quickly go back to it if you need to to prove your point.

4. Be prepared to focus what you've learned into one main opinion that answers the Big Quest(ion) or Task based on what you have learned from the links for your role.

role, job or perspective #2

Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to role, job or perspective #2:

1.

role, job or perspective #3

Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to role, job or perspective #3:

1.

role, job or perspective #4

Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to role, job or perspective #4:

1.

Phase 3 - Debating, Discussing, and Reaching Consensus

You have all learned about a different part of Search for Happiness. Now group members come back to the larger WebQuest team with expertise gained by searching from one perspective. You must all now answer the Task / Quest(ion) as a group. Each of you will bring a certain viewpoint to the answer: some of you will agree and others disagree. Use information, pictures, movies, facts, opinions, etc. from the Webpages you explored to convince your teammates that your viewpoint is important and should be part of your team's answer to the Task / Quest(ion). Your WebQuest team should write out an answer that everyone on the team can live with.

Phase 4 - Real World Feedback

You and your teammates have learned a lot by dividing up into different roles. Now's the time to put your learning into a letter you'll send out for real world feedback. Together you will write a letter that contains opinions, information, and perspectives that you've gained. Here's the process:

1. Begin your letter with a statement of who you are and why you are writing your message to this particular person or organization.

2. Give background information that shows you understand the topic.

STATE THE TASK / QUEST(ION) AND YOUR GROUP'S ANSWER.

3. Each person in your group should write a paragraph that gives two good reasons supporting the group's opinion. Make sure to be specific in both the information (like where you got it from on the Web) and the reasoning (why the information proves your group's point).

4. Have each person on the team proofread the message. Use correct letter format and make sure you have correctly addressed the email message. Use the link below to make contact. Send your message and make sure your teacher gets a copy.

Your Contact is: the designated contact




Conclusion

So is an elephant smooth, rough, soft, or hard? Well, when you're blindfolded and only *looking* at one part, it's easy to come up with an answer that may not be completely right. It's the same for understanding a topic as broad or complex as Search for Happiness: when you only know part of the picture, you only know part of the picture. Now you all know a lot more. Nice work. You should be proud of yourselves! How can you use what you've learned to see beyond the black and white of a topic and into the grayer areas? What other parts of Search for Happiness could still be explored? Remember, learning never stops.



 created by Filamentality Content by Helena Swanicke, swanicke@aol.com
http://www.kn.pacbell.com/wired/fil/pages/webasearchf.html
Last revised Tue Aug 4 11:22:29 1998