I explore the hero's journey with my students throughout the year by exploring works from Beowulf to Macbeth. This lesson originally appears in a unit for The Canterbury Tales on CC.BetterLesson.
My classes are held in 100 minute block sessions. The lesson below outlines background activities on Geoffrey Chaucer and The Canterbury Tales.
I explain to students that we will be studying The Canterbury Tales in this next unit. I introduce the Big Idea, "Life is a quest," by discussing how we have studied the hero's journey and how it reflects the challenges and growth of life. Just as the hero goes on a quest, life itself is a quest full of opportunities for development.
I inform the class that today we will be exploring background on Geoffrey Chaucer, the author of The Canterbury Tales, and how his life experiences informed his writing. I use my adaptation of a PowerPoint, "Geoffrey Chaucer and The Canterbury Tales" (PowerPoint: Chaucer and THE CANTERBURY TALES) (Greenville, South Carolina School District) a colleague shared with our team. I require students to take notes as I am presenting; they must list details about Chaucer (Student Work: Sample One - Background Notes) and The Canterbury Tales (Student Work: Sample Two - Background Notes) they believe are significant.
As we explore the PowerPoint, a few important details I point out are as follows:
To provide students with a preview of the literature, I play a video interpretation of "The Wife of Bath's Tale" (6:09) from The Canterbury Tales (Beryl Productions, 1998), also available on YouTube as posted by Beryl Productions.
After collecting student notes, we complete a class ticket out. I give students five minutes to work with a partner and write down what they learned in today's lesson. We debrief as a class, and volunteers state the following: