Adapting the Text
Ongoing Activity
Grades 6–12
Language Arts, History, Performing Arts
Small Group, Critical Analysis, Writing, Oral Presentation


  • Students will understand what a eulogy is.
  • Students will apply eulogy techniques to various aspects of the novel.
  • Students will understand how to respectfully, while still having fun, create a eulogy for an animal/concept.
  • Students will cooperate in a group setting and orally deliver their eulogies.


Eulogies are powerful, and should be taken seriously, even though they may contain some elements of humor. This exercise can provide students with empathy, sympathy, and a greater understanding, during any point of the novel, of the characters and situations surrounding death.

Materials Needed/Preparation

  • Copies of The Red Pony
  • Teachers should access How to Write a Eulogy and share with students as applicable.
  • Copies of Eulogies Graphic Organizer (optional).

Estimated Time

Spend about 1 class period to introduce the concept of the eulogy and the students’ writing of a brief one. The next day, a half period can be devoted to the groups reading their eulogies for the class.


After explaining what a eulogy is, students can break up into small groups and write a brief one. If, for example, students have finished only “The Gift,” each group may write about the same topic. Each group’s eulogy, invariably, will end up being different. This can be done in the form of a poem, a rap, or whatever students wish. After completion, they will perform their eulogies for the class.

Allow students time to rehearse and consider setting aside time for them to pair-share as well.

Please remind students, while they are to have fun with this activity, to be sure to maintain a proper respect for the novel. Consider providing the Eulogies Graphic Organizer for students to use in preparing. For The Red Pony, eulogies can be performed for:

  • The death of Gabilan
  • The metaphorical death of innocence (that is, Jody questions Billy Buck’s wisdom)
  • The death of the buzzard
  • The metaphorical death of adventure (Gitano leaves the ranch)
  • The death of Nellie
  • The death of Grandfather’s dream of “Westering

Post Activity/Takeaways/Follow-up


  • Students can respectfully comment on the eulogies of other groups.


  • A respectful class discussion can follow where members relate their own experiences of the death of a family member or pet.
  • Students can write a brief, and confidential, experience (narrative, descriptive) about the death of a family member or pet.


During the activity, teachers should ensure that students are on task, are being respectful to the novel, and to offer suggestions. Grading the assignment is optional.

California State Content Standards Met

  • Performing Arts: Theatre Content Standards 6-12
  • ~Artistic Perception: 1
  • ~Creative Expression: 2
  • ~Connections, Relationships, Applications: 5

Common Core State Standards Met

  • Reading Standards for Literature 6-12
  • ~Key Ideas and Details: 1, 2
  • ~Craft and Structure: 4, 5, 6
  • ~Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity: 10
  • Reading Standards for Informational Text 6-12
  • ~Key Ideas and Details: 1, 2
  • Writing Standards 6-12
  • ~Text Types and Purposes: 1, 3
  • ~Production and Distribution of Writing: 4, 5
  • ~Research to Build and Present Knowledge: 7
  • Speaking and Listening Standards 6-12
  • ~Comprehension and Collaboration: 1
  • Language Standards 6-12
  • ~Conventions of Standard English: 1, 2
  • ~Knowledge of Language: 3
  • ~Vocabulary Acquisition and Use: 4, 5, 6
  • Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies 6-12
  • ~Key Ideas and Details: 1, 2
  • ~Craft and Structure: 4, 5
  • Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects 6-12
  • ~Production and Distribution of Writing: 4, 5
  • ~Research to Build and Present Knowledge: 7, 8, 9

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