Retelling the Canterbury Tales

For my World Literature students:











Now that we’ve read “The Prologue” to The Canterbury Tales, “The Pardoner’s Tale” and the “Wife of Bath’s Tale”, you are going to (re)tell a tale yourself.

You and your partner(s) should choose from the tales posted on this Google doc and sign up by telling Mrs. M. which story you have selected.


-To creatively and accurately interpret a piece of classic text.

Follow these steps:

1. Choose a tale. (Skim the tales HERE, so you get a feel for what you’re signing up for.)

2. Read the tale (and the intro, prologue and/or epilogue, if applicable).

3. Write a summary of the tale and show the summary to Mrs. M for approval.

4. Plan out a retelling—> How do you want to present it? Who will play which character? What format will you use? When will you practice it?

5. Create a TEASER with the VINE app. Here’s an example of what that might look like.

6. Create a LIVE retelling of the story to present in class. You should present your tale in either a modern OR a medieval way (your choice) and you should bring the character(s) to life through VOICE, COSTUME, and BODY LANGUAGE. In some cases, this will mean that you will be playing more than one character. You might present it any way you wish though. For instance, you may go into “story time with <insert your name>” mode OR  you might pretend to host a talk show about the tale of your choice. You will also be judged on the accuracy of your retelling.

This is the single-point rubric I’ll be using to grade your project: CTretellingRUB.

Here are some ideas from 2013’s first semester class.

The Reeve’s Tale: This pair presented their tale in the form of a newscast. One student was the news reporter and he interviewed the other student who was in character as The Reeve. The reporter asked The Reeve leading questions and The Reeve gave an accurate account of what happened to him from his point of view.

The Monk’s Tale: This student worked alone and she presented each of the mini-tales within The Monk’s Tale in the form of sing-songy poetry. It was a very clever way to summarize this overwhelming tale.

The Friar’s Tale: This pair presented their tale in the form of a kindergarten story hour, which was interesting, considering the dark topic. They asked for audience participation and assigned roles to their classmates as they told their tale. They also asked lots of questions and taught their peers the meaning of some of the more archaic terms and language. They also asked in which style the “children” would like the tale to be told, to which one of the “children” (me) asked them to do it in a Southern accent. This had nothing to do with the story, but it added an element of fun and it helped to engage the audience.

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