Teaching the Prologue to The Canterbury Tales

In this self-directed study involving research, composition, and presentation, students analyze Chaucer's characters of The Canterbury Tales as presented in the Prologue. Each student casts a modern personality in the role of one of the characters and writes an essay defending the choice. In this lesson students will listen to the reading of Middle English and discuss its differences from Modern English, will analyze characters from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, will conduct Internet research on an assigned character from the Prologue and write an analysis of the character. Students will cite sources correctly in written work and the presentation and will will use technology for research and presentation.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.4
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 11-12 reading and content, choosing flexibly...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.1
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.2
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.4
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 9-10 reading and content, choosing flexibly from...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.6
Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.10
By the end of grade 11, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 11-CCR text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.9
Demonstrate knowledge of eighteenth-, nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century foundational works of American literature, including how two or...
CCSS.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...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1
Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.2
Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) in order to make...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.4
Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.6
Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating a command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See grades 11-12...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.9
Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
CLE 3001.1.1
Demonstrate control of Standard English through grammar usage and mechanics (punctuation, capitalization, and spelling).
CLE 3001.1.2
Employ a variety of strategies and resources to determine the definition, pronunciation, etymology, spelling, and usage of words and phrases.
CLE 3001.1.3
Understand and use a variety of sentence structures.
CLE 3001.8.5
Know and use appropriate literary terms to derive meaning from various literary genres.
CLE 3002.1.1
Demonstrate control of Standard English through grammar usage and mechanics (punctuation, capitalization, and spelling).
CLE 3002.1.2
Employ a variety of strategies and resources to determine the definition, pronunciation, etymology, spelling, and usage of words and phrases
CLE 3002.1.3
Understand and use a variety of sentence structures.
CLE 3002.8.5
Know and use appropriate literary terms to derive meaning from various literary genres.
CLE 3003.1.2
Employ a variety of strategies and resources to determine the definition, pronunciation, etymology, spelling, and usage of words and phrases.
CLE 3003.2.6
Deliver effective oral presentations.
CLE 3003.2.7
Participate in work teams and group discussions.
CLE 3003.5.1
Use logic to make inferences and draw conclusions in a variety of complex oral and written contexts.
CLE 3003.6.1
Comprehend and summarize the main ideas of complex informational texts and determine the essential elements that elaborate them.
CLE 3003.8.1
Demonstrate knowledge of significant works of American literature from the colonial period to the present and make relevant comparisons.
CLE 3003.8.4
Analyze works of American literature for what is suggested about the historical period in which they were written.
CLE 3005.1.2
Employ a variety of strategies and resources to determine the definition, pronunciation, etymology, spelling, and usage of words and phrases.
CLE 3005.2.2
Summarize, paraphrase, and critique information presented orally by others.
CLE 3005.2.6
Deliver effective oral presentations.
CLE 3005.2.7
Participate in work teams and group discussions.
CLE 3005.6.1
Comprehend and summarize the main ideas of complex informational texts and determine the essential elements that elaborate them.
CLE 3005.8.1
Demonstrate knowledge of significant works of British literature from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present and make relevant comparisons.
CLE 3005.8.4
Analyze works of British literature for what is suggested about the historical period in which they were written.
SPI 3001.1.1
Demonstrate an understanding of the eight parts of speech, including their troublesome aspects, such as how to form the past and past participle of irregular but...
SPI 3001.1.12
Use context clues and/or knowledge of roots, affixes, and cognates to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words.
SPI 3001.1.13
Select the appropriate word among frequently confused words (i.e., to/too/two, their/there/theyre, it/its, you/youre, whose/whos, which/that/who, accept/except,...
SPI 3001.1.15
Use a sample reference source to determine aspects of a given word (e.g., spelling, part of speech, definition, cognates, etymology, synonyms).
SPI 3001.8.13
Locate words or phrases in a passage that provide historical or cultural cues.
SPI 3002.1.1
Demonstrate an understanding of the eight parts of speech, including their troublesome aspects, such as how to form the past and past participle of irregular but...
SPI 3002.1.13
Select the appropriate word from among frequently confused words (i.e., to/too/two, their/there/theyre, it/its, you/youre, whose/whos, which/that/who,...
SPI 3002.1.14
Use context clues and/or knowledge of roots, affixes, and cognates to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words.
SPI 3002.1.16
Use a sample reference source to determine aspects of a given word (e.g., spelling, part of speech, definition, cognates, etymology, synonyms).
SPI 3002.1.9
Recognize a shift in either verb tense or point of view within a writing sample.
SPI 3002.8.12
Locate words or phrases in a passage that provide historical or cultural cues.
SPI 3003.1.11
Correctly choose verb forms in terms of tense, voice (i.e., active and passive), and mood for continuity.
TSS.ELA.11-12.L.VAU.4
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on 11th -12th grade-level text by choosing flexibly from a...
TSS.ELA.11-12.RI.IKI.9
Analyze and evaluate a variety of thematically-related texts of historical and literary significance for their topics, facts, purposes, and rhetorical...
TSS.ELA.11-12.RL.IKI.9
Demonstrate knowledge of and analyze thematically-related, significant literary texts, considering how two or more texts treat similar themes or topics.
TSS.ELA.11-12.SL.CC.1
Initiate and participate effectively with varied partners in a range of collaborative discussions on appropriate 11th - 12th grade topics, texts, and...
TSS.ELA.11-12.SL.CC.2
Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media formats in order to make informed decisions and solve problems; evaluate the...
TSS.ELA.11-12.SL.PKI.4
Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective so that listeners can follow the line of reasoning;...
TSS.ELA.11-12.SL.PKI.6
Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
TSS.ELA.11-12.W.RBPK.9
Support and defend interpretations, analyses, reflections, or research with evidence found in literature or informational texts, applying grade band...
TSS.ELA.11.RI.RRTC.10
(For 11th Grade) Read and comprehend a variety of literary nonfiction throughout the grades 11-12 text complexity band proficiently, with a gradual...
TSS.ELA.11.RL.RRTC.10
(For 11th Grade) Read and comprehend a variety of literature throughout the grades 11-12 text complexity band proficiently, with a gradual release of...
TSS.ELA.12.RI.RRTC.10
(For 12th Grade) Read and comprehend a variety of literary nonfiction at the high end of the grades 11-12 text complexity band independently and...
TSS.ELA.12.RL.RRTC.10
(For 12th Grade) Read and comprehend a variety of literature at the high end of the grades 11-12 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
TSS.ELA.9-10.L.CSE.1
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking; use effective parallel structure and various types...
TSS.ELA.9-10.L.CSE.2
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing; when reading and writing, explain the...
TSS.ELA.9-10.L.VAU.4
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on 9th -10th grade-level text by choosing flexibly from a range...
TSS.ELA.9-10.L.VAU.5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings in grades 9-10 reading and content; interpret figures...
TSS.ELA.9-10.L.VAU.6
Acquire and accurately use general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the...
TSS.ELA.9-10.RI.CS.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative...
TSS.ELA.9-10.RL.CS.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of...
 
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
 
Learning objectives: 
  • Students will listen to the reading of Middle English and discuss its differences from Modern English. 
  • Students will analyze characters from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. 
  • Students will conduct Internet research on an assigned character from the Prologue and write an analysis of the character. 
  • Students will cite sources correctly in written work and the presentation. 
  • Students will use technology for research and presentation.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Understanding

Helpful Hints

Materials and Technology:

  • Copies of The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
  •  project guidelines (see attached)
  • graphic organizer (sample attached)
  • Computers with Internet access and RealPlayer for audio of lines 1-42 (or other recording)
  • presentation software such as PowerPoint
  • LCD projector for project presentation

References

Contributors: