THE CANTERBURY TALES: Wife of Bath Day 4 of 4

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SWBAT demonstrate understanding of the Wife of Bath through writing, small-group collaboration, 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 Overview and Note to Teachers

My classes are held in 100-minute block sessions every other day.  The lesson plan below outlines the activities on day four of the Wife of Bath.

Two class sessions prior, students were assigned to read the Wife of Bath's Prologue independently and write a two-page response, which provides their opinions of the text, and include five examples from the text to support their opinions. Students had to include a parenthetical citation for each example.

Today, students review their responses and then reexamine their interpretations of the Wife of Bath in light of reading her entire Prologue. Prior to reading the entire Prologue, as a class we read and discussed a 30-line excerpt of her Prologue and her entire Tale from our textbook Language of Literature (McDougal Littell, 2003).


Journal Writing: What Do You Know About the Wife of Bath?

15 minutes

I begin the lesson with a warm-up by allowing students to write what they know about the Wife of Bath.  Since we have not been in class for a few days, I want to draw on their prior knowledge, allowing them time to review what they know and identify comprehension gaps before we examine interpretations on the Wife of Bath's Prologue.

Next, students share their writing with a partner as a review.  They may return to the Wife of Bath's Tale or the Wife of Bath's Prologue for clarification as needed.

Small-Group Discussion: Wife of Bath - Feminist, Control Freak, or ???

40 minutes

Since they know each other well and work efficiently in self-selected groups, I allow students to group themselves.  Students get into groups and read aloud their responses (Student Work: Wife of Bath Prologue Response) to the Wife of Bath's Prologue. Once all students have read, groups discuss their interpretations of the Wife of Bath and the Wife of Bath's Tale in light of reading her entire Prologue.

Next, I ask students to choose a recorder and write down their group's answers to four discussion questions (Small-Group Discussion Questions: Wife of Bath).

Since we are running out of time, I ask groups to pair up and share their responses to the discussion questions. Most groups state that their interpretations of the Wife of Bath change after reading her entire Prologue; in their minds, she wants control, not equality between men and women.

When I implement this lesson again later in the day, I allow more time for individual small-group discussion without groups pairing up;  then the lesson takes a turn, which I talk about and demonstrate in my reflection for this section.

Ticket Out: Continuing the Conversation

1 minutes

With administrative approval, I set up a Twitter account so that I can continue conversations about literature with students online (Teacher and Student Work: Twitter). As today's ticket out, I ask students to tweet me what they learned today by replying to my tweet (Student Work: Wife of Bath Tweets - Sample One) (Student Work: Wife of Bath Tweets - Sample Two) about the Wife of Bath on Twitter.  I also offer the option of students writing their answer on a sheet of paper and handing it to me by the end of the school day.