British Lit Resources

Chaucer-like Canterbury Tales Prologue Poem Project

Canterbury Tales Poem: This sheet contains a Canterbury Tales-themed poetry project your students will enjoy!

It makes a concise and effective culminating activity for your unit on The Canterbury Tales. The sheet contains instructions and a mentor poem to inspire students to craft a 20-line prologue similar to Chaucer’s Prologue to The Canterbury Tales. The main requirement is that eight lines must end in rhyming couplets. If you wish, scaffold up for your advanced learners by requiring iambic pentameter as well. What makes this extra fun: students must include at least three characters of very different social backgrounds that they must not reveal in their poem. When they present their poems, classmates attempt to guess who their three characters are!


Read the blog post here: Le Morte d’Arthur “The Characters Who Built the Chivalric Code” Reading Activity

Le Morte d’Arthur: I created this activity because I literally became overwhelmed with teaching the monumental Le Morte d’Arthur.

To make our excerpt of the text more manageable, I decided to focus on characterization. Here is the text found at the top of the sheet: “One objective of reading Le Morte d’Arthur is that we understand how Sir Thomas Malory built his characters… that is, the characterization he used in the story to provide a chivalric code for the tales. Notice how Malory’s characterization teaches a code for behavior.” I found that narrowing our focus made this text more manageable for both me and my students. This activity required a fifty-minute class period with students working independently. During our read-aloud, I asked students to list characters as we approached them in the story. When we finished reading and discussing, students chose their four characters for this sheet from their lists.


Read the blog post here: “The Dream of the Rood” Close Reading Activity with Key

The Dream of the Rood: I created this reading activity to help students understand and appreciate “The Dream of the Rood.”

This poem isn’t necessarily difficult to comprehend; however, since medieval literature can be intimidating for many, I decided to create this activity to help my students better engage with this reading. The instructions read as follows: Read E. T. Donaldson’s prose translation of the poem “The Dream of the Rood.” This is the translation found in the Norton Anthology of English Literature through the 8th edition of 2006. (More recent editions feature a verse translation by Alfred David.) As you read, fill in the blanks below. Some sentences follow the text exactly; some require that you infer to arrive at the correct answer. I hope this activity is helpful in your British Literature lessons!


Bible or Bard? King James Bible vs. Shakespeare Activity

Bible or Bard? This simple matching worksheet will show your students the King James Bible in a new and relevant way.

When students observe that many commonly heard phrases do not, as they assume, originate from William Shakespeare, but from the King James Bible, they are amazed. I created this activity for my senior British Lit students as part of a mini-unit on the King James Bible, which was the final installment of our larger unit on English Renaissance literature. For more British Literature ideas, visit my blog. This activity sparks many “You’re kidding me!” and “I had no idea!” comments and is a fun way to further explore the foundational literature of the English Renaissance. In addition, conversations about idiomatic expressions, metaphor, and symbolism will abound! Enjoy this activity with your students! Let me know how it goes!


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