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. The lesson plan below outlines day one on the Wife of Bath.
We read and discuss (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. Since we run out of time and the next class meeting is not for a few days, I have 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.
We engage in following activities in subsequent lessons, Days Two through Four:
Before reading the Wife of Bath's Prologue Excerpt and Tale, as a class, we revisit the Wife of Bath's description in the Prologue of The Canterbury Tales. I give students time to review her description, and then I ask, "What does Chaucer tell us about the Wife of Bath?"
Students make the following observations:
I discuss the Big Idea, "If we don't accept ourselves for who we are and where we've come from, who will?" ---Silvia Rojas
Students point out that the Wife of Bath seems to accept herself, even though her identity as a woman in medieval times strays from the norm.
Before reading, I ask students to preread the text by reading the marginal notes and footnotes on allusions and unfamiliar vocabulary. Next, I read the text aloud to them so that we can process and discuss the complex text together. Periodically, I stop to ask questions (Discussion Questions: Wife of Bath's Tale) to check for comprehension.
As we read and discuss the text, students point out the following:
Since we are running out of time at the end of class, I give students homework (Homework: Wife of Bath's Tale) that allows them to review the tale through text-dependent questions (Comprehension Questions: Wife of Bath's Tale) (Student Work: Wife of Bath Homework) and create a response to it (Overview: Student Work).