Lesson 2: The Scorpion

Getting Started

Today you will begin reading The Pearl. As you read the first chapter, pay close attention to Steinbeck's descriptive language, particularly his strong verbs and vivid adjectives.

In your journal, keep track of some descriptive phrases that you find particularly effective.

Stuff You Need

  • Handy Guide to Writing by Moving Beyond the Page
  • The Pearl by John Steinbeck
  • colored pencils
  • journal
  • laminated "Parts of Speech Cards" page

Ideas to Think About

  • How do people's ability to control their environment affect their success/happiness in life?

Things to Know

  • In grammar, a phrase is a group of two or more words that is missing a subject, verb, or both.


  • Model an understanding of conventional written and spoken expression by applying the parts of speech to clarify language usage. (LA)

Introducing the Lesson

As your child reads the chapter today, she will record examples of descriptive language that she finds particularly powerful and revealing.

Before you begin today's lesson, you or your child should cut out the squares on the laminated page, "Parts of Speech Cards," and place them in a ziploc bag. If you previously used the Moving Beyond the Page unit for Tuck Everlasting, you may already have precut cards available. (If you do not already have the laminated page, you can purchase one through Moving Beyond the Page or have your child use colored pencils to draw the symbols on the activity pages.)
Reading and Questions
Materials: The Pearl by John Steinbeck, journal
Read Chapter 1 and then answer the questions below in complete sentences.
  1. If you could select just one word to describe Kino's life as presented at the beginning of Chapter 1, what word would you choose and why?
    Answers will vary but might include peaceful, predictable, content, easy, worry-free, happy, complete, etc.
  2. How does the author describe Kino's physical appearance?
    He is young and strong with black hair, and his eyes are warm, fierce, and bright.
  3. Why would the doctor not care for Coyotito?
    Coyotito's parents were poor, so the doctor felt he would be wasting his time working and not getting paid.
  4. How does Kino's life change from the beginning of Chapter 1 to the end of the chapter?
    At the beginning, his life is peaceful and predictable, and he is content. By the end of the chapter, he is scared for his son and angry about the doctor.