From Electric English...
This is an annotation and close reading activity intended to lead discussion about the article, "The Big Bloom". The assignment, not only asks students to annotate, but also to evaluate the meaning of the article using the SOAPSTone method. A discussion about the importance of horticulture and how our lives depend upon it pairs very well with Steinbeck's story "The Chrysanthemums". Whether you or your students agree with the opinions set forth in the essay is immaterial, in fact, hopefully there will be a wide range of opinions about the text to facilitate discussion. I was surprised by some of the insightful comments my students made when asked to consider this material; hopefully, you will be too :)
NOTE: There is a fresh, clean copy of the story listed in my store under John Steinbeck. Use it for what is best for you; it is free and a great story :)