Beacon Lesson Plan Library

The Teller of the Tale, Part 2

Peggy Craig


Using Chaucer's [The Canterbury Tales] as a model, students write a modern-day morality tale.


The student writes fluently for a variety of occasions, audiences, and purposes, making appropriate choices regarding style, tone, level of detail, and organization.

The student applies an understanding that language and literature are primary means by which culture is transmitted.


-Pen or pencil
-Class Copies of Chaucer's [The Canterbury Tales].
-Word processor (optional)


1. Review the format used by Chaucer to create vivid characters.
2. Teacher shoul have prior knowledge of the elements of a short story.


1. Review the elements of Chaucer's [The Canterbury Tales].

2. Teacher leads a brainstorming activity in which students list modern-day character types (for example: CEO, gospel singer, computer programmer, chef, airline attendant) and discuss the qualities of these character types that might remain stable in the next 100 years and those qualities that might be viewed as eccentric.

3. Do a wrap-up discussion in which students apply their knowledge of Chaucer's method as a way to transmit the culture of his countrymen.

4. Students select two characters and respond in writing to the following points:
1. How does this person dress? Why?
2. How does this person talk? Why?
3. Name two personal habits of this character.
4. Describe two primary attitudes of this character.
5. Describe a strongly held belief of this character.
6. What lesson in life might this character benefit from or teach another person?

5. Teacher provides feedback and assigns character.

6. Teacher reviews paragraph development.

7. Students draft a monologue that speaks to the peculiarities of the character and presents a moral theme that reflects the attitudes, habits, and beliefs of their character.

8. Students peer edit two papers, revise their own essays, and submit final drafts.

9. Teacher assesses activity using a checklist of items that includes physical description, use of dialogue to enhance tone, consistency of theme with the teller's attributes, and the organizational flow of the essay.


Formative Assessment:
Teacher provides feedback on student-created worksheets that encourage a more vivid and thorough character development.

After revision, students submit essays for summative assessment on appropriate choices regarding style, tone,level of detail, and organization. A suggested checklist can be found in the Associated File.

Students complete an extended response to the question:
What conclusions might high school children in the year 2100 draw based on the your essay and the essays of two of your peers?


For additional lessons and activities on this subject, see the following Beacon lessons: The Teller of the Tale, Part 1 and The Teller of the Tale, Part 3.

Web Links

Web supplement for The Teller of the Tale, Part 2
Geoffrey Chaucer

This is Part I of the lesson.
Teller of the Tale: Part I

Attached Files

A checklist for summative evaluation of final draft     File Extension: pdf

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