Chaucer’s Prologue: A Common Core Lesson
Today’s Common Core lesson is something I do with 12th grade students in their study of Medieval poetry. I show them a little PowerPoint presentation with plenty of pictures of the journey that pilgrims would make to Canterbury to give them some context, and then I have them go to this website, they are divided into groups, and each group is repsonsible for reading two of the characters in The Prologue.
Students are charged with answering three basic questions about each character:
1. How do the writings of the Middle Ages represent the lives, loves, loyalties, and humor of humanity?
2. What details about the character stand out the most and what does Chaucer’s description tell us about them?
3. How does Chaucer feel about each character?
Once they have completed this task (which may take several days) I have them pick one of the characters that they feel is one of the most prominent. Using butcher paper, students draw a life-sized model of the character, spending a couple of days getting the detail correct. Once the character is completed, we post the characters outside in the hallway as if they are journeying to Canterbury.