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The Canterbury Tales, Robin Hood, and Everyday Life in the Middle Ages

The Medieval time period was a time for kings, queens, lords, and ladies, but it also saw the rise of a new class:  the Middle Class. While the wealthy still spoke Latin and French, English (Middle English actually) was the language of the people, and Geoffrey Chaucer used Middle English to perfectly capture the character of everyday medieval people in The Canterbury Tales. During this time tales of Robin Hood, an everyday hero, also grew in popularity. These developments showed that the future would not belong to the very powerful, but to everyday people. Below are some resources to help teach about everyday life during the Medieval time period, Robin Hood, and The Canterbury Tales.
"THE PARDONER'S TALE" (SCRIPT-STORY) This Reader's Theater script-story version of "The Pardoner's Tale" from The Canterbury Tales dramatizes the classic story of three ruffians who try to overcome Death himself. To purchase all the script-stories that dramatize portions of The Canterbury Tales, including "The General Prologue," visit the Creative English by clicking here.
CANTERBURY CHARACTER SKETCH This assignment asks students to create their own modern character sketch of a specific character type by praising or criticizing his or her profession.
MEDIEVAL CITY LIFE  As more people moved to the cities, the Middle Class began to flourish. This presentation gives some fun (and gross) facts about everyday life in the medieval time period.
MEDIEVAL FATES Print out these "fates," cut them out, and give one to each of your students. Have them share their fates with one another to build background knowledge about the medieval time period. Caution:  Some of the fates can be unsavory, so make sure you read them beforehand!
SURNAMES  It was in the medieval time period when people first found the need for surnames (last names). This document outlines some frequent ways of creating these surnames. This is a popular assignment with my own students. We also use the following website to locate the specific meaning of students' surnames:
MEDIEVAL MARRIAGE AND FAMILY This worksheet gives details about medieval marriages and family traditions, some of which haven't changed since medieval times.
WOMEN AND MARRIAGE  This presentation gives details about medieval women and marriage customs.
"FEDERIGO'S FALCON" BY GIOVANNI BOCCACCIO This classic medieval tale involves a sick child, a pet falcon, and true love.
"THE LAY OF THE WEREWOLF" BY MARIE DE FRANCE This classic medieval tale features a shape-shifting character.
THE BLACK DEATH  This presentation gives information about the catastrophic plague that wiped out a third of Europe and signaled the end of the Middle Ages. 
THE REAL ROBIN HOOD This worksheet relates the historical basis for everyone's favorite legendary outlaw, Robin Hood.
"ROBIN THE OUTLAW" (SCRIPT-STORY) This read-aloud script-story tells how Robin of Locksley, the son of a poor forester, becomes an outlaw. It also introduces the characters of Maid Marian, Robin's true love, and Will Gamewell, his best friend. (Note:  This is just the first part of the Robin Hood legend. If you are interested in purchasing script-stories of the whole legend, visit the store by clicking here.)
THE CANTERBURY TALES  If you have ever wanted a fun way to introduce students to The Canterbury Tales, try out this resource. Experience Chaucer's timeless tales through six classroom-ready script-stories including "The General Prologue," "The Knight's Tale," "The Miller's Tale," "The Pardoner's Tale," "The Wife of Bath's Tale," and "The Nun's Priest's Tale." While keeping Chaucer's storytelling skills in tact, these script-stories make the tales more student-friendly. This 77-page digital download includes six 30-40 minute script-stories.
REACHING SHERWOOD:  LEGENDS OF ROBIN HOOD AND HIS MERRY MEN  Under the spreading branches of Sherwood Forest lives the most famous outlaw of all time: Robin Hood. Unjustly branded as a criminal, Robin takes up the cause of the poor against the villainous lords of England--the Sheriff of Nottingham, Prince John, and Sir Guy of Gisborne. Along the way, Robin forms a gang of loyal companions: Little John, Will Scarlet, Friar Tuck, and, of course, Maid Marian. This textbook includes 6 script-stories that retell the legends of Robin Hood--blending swashbuckling adventure with English history. Also included is an interactive classroom strategy game, "Scouring Sherwood Forest."