THE CANTERBURY TALES: Wife of Bath Day 2 of 4

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SWBAT demonstrate understanding of the Wife of Bath through writing and discussion.

Big Idea

“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit” ― E.E. Cummings

Lesson Sequence and Note to Teachers

My class periods are held in 100-minute block sessions every other day.  The activities on the Wife of Bath take the better part of six class periods to complete.  

Last class we read and discussed (1) the excerpt from the Wife of Bath's Prologue and (2) the entire The Wife of Bath's Tale in its entirety from our textbook The Language of Literature. For homework,  I had students complete an assignment (Homework: Wife of Bath's Tale) involving text-dependent questions (Comprehension Questions: Wife of Bath's Tale) and a response (Student Work: Wife of Bath Homework - Sample One) to the text. 

The lesson plan below outlines day two on the Wife of Bath, where students have time to finish their homework (please read the lesson to find out why) and begin reading the Wife of Bath's Prologue in its entirety from The Canterbury Tales (Penguin Books, 2003) in preparation for response-based activities.

Wife of Bath's Tale and Wife of Bath's Prologue Entire

68 minutes

At the beginning of class, I learn that only six of my 24 Honors students completed their homework on the Wife of Bath's Prologue Excerpt and Tale, even though our last class was four days ago with a weekend in between.  

I give them their one and only Amnesty Day of the year, where they can turn in the homework (Homework: Wife of Bath's Tale) for full credit by the end of class. However, I also proceed with the day's lesson plan and assign students to read the Wife of Bath's Prologue in its entirety from The Canterbury Tales (Penguin Books, 2003), Nevill Coghill translation, which is the same translation used in our textbook. I issue the books to students and point out the Notes section, which contains explanations of unfamiliar terms from the text.

I explain that their reading of the Wife of Bath's entire Prologue may inform their interpretations of the Wife of Bath and her Tale.  Students will have time in class today to begin the assignment (Assignment: Wife of Bath's Prologue), which is due two class periods from today (Student Work: Wife of Bath Prologue Response).  

Paper Towel Ticket Out

5 minutes

At the end of class, I want to find out what students' interpretations are regarding the Wife of Bath's Tale, and their initial interpretations after beginning the Wife of Bath's Prologue.

Since we are short on time and I always have paper towels on my desk, I ask students to do a Paper Towel Ticket Out, writing observations about the Wife of Bath's Tale on the front (Student Work: Paper Towel Ticket Out - Tale) and observations on the Wife of Bath's Prologue on the back (Student Work: Paper Towel Ticket Out - Prologue).  Most students are shocked upon beginning the Wife of Bath's Prologue because she is so blunt about her beliefs and she believes the Bible is open to interpretation.  

We will explore student interpretations about the Wife of Bath's Prologue after we debrief on the Wife of Bath's Tale next class.  I want to ensure students parcel out their interpretations on her Tale first while having ample time to read and respond to her Prologue independent of their classmates, given its complexity.