Beacon Lesson Plan Library

The Teller of the Tale, Part 1

Peggy Craig


Students work in cooperative groups to analyze one of Chaucer's [The Canterbury Tales] and present specific information to the class.


The student determines the main idea and identifies relevant details, methods of development, and their effectiveness in a variety of types of written material.

The student uses effective strategies for informal and formal discussions, including listening actively and reflectively, connecting to and building on the ideas of a previous speaker, and respecting the viewpoints of others.


-Pen or pencil
-Overhead, computer, white or black board
-Literature book that contains excerpts from [The Canterbury Tales]


1. Teacher should have prior knowledge of the life and literary contributions of Geoffrey Chaucer.
2. Students should be familiar with the setting, plot, characters, and themes of the assigned tale before beginning this lesson.
3. Teacher should provide information for review.
4. Teacher should provide necessary tools to accommodate visuals.


This is part 1 of a three-part series of lessons on [The Canterbury Tales].

1. Lead a brief discussion of the use of a pilgrimage to achieve Chaucer's purpose of preserving cultural information during his lifetime.

2. Assign specific tales to student groups from the following list:

The Knight's Tale
The Miller's Tale
The Reeve's Tale
The Cook's Tale
The Wife of Bath's Tale
The Friar's Tale
The Man of Law's Tale
The Parson's Tale
The Nun's Priest's Tale
The Pardoner's Tale

3. After reading the tale, students create a visual representation of their assigned title character and analyze the character in terms of his/her attitudes, beliefs, habits and values.

4. Student groups create a five-question multiple choice quiz which assesses the details related to characterization of the teller of the tale. Students need to know that the questions should reflect understanding of the main idea, relevant details, character, plot, and theme of their assigned tale.

5. Students present an oral roundtable report with their visual representations and multiple choice questions for the class.

6. Teacher assesses activity.


(This is a formative assessment.)

1. Observe proper group interaction as described in Goal 3 Cooperative Workers. Observe such behaviors as: students initiate and organize group work to perform tasks and help others focus on group goals.
2. Evaluate multiple choice questions and visuals for accuracy concerning each tale and provide feedback. Questions should indicate understanding of main idea, relevant details, plot, characters, and themes of the tales.
3. Provide students with a short oral commentary of their group's communication skills, especially in listening reflectively and responding appropriately by building on the ideas of others.


For additional lessons and activities on this subject, see Beacon lessons:
The Teller of the Tale, Part 2 and The Teller of the Tale, Part 3.

Web Links

Web supplement for The Teller of the Tale, Part I
Anthology of Middle English Literature

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