Friday, February 12, 2010

Why we need stories

I just finished my Chaucer unit. I had my students read/experience some of Chaucer's tales (The Knight's Tale, The Miller's Tale, The Reeve's Tale, The Nun's Priest's Tale, The Pardoner's Tale, and The Wife of Bath's Tale). I had my students write tales similar to Chaucer's after we read some of the tales: a beast fable for Chaunticleer (NPT), an urban legend for the Pardoner's Tale (cautionary), and a riddle or question tale for TWOBT. Then we spent one day telling each other our newly created tales. I think next year I will write a tale so I can be one of the tellers, but this year I played The Host and drew their names out of a cup. Anyway, the story telling -- especially in sixth period -- went so well. One of my students told a story deriding conservative Utah County, and that led to rebuttals (manufactured on the fly with the epilogues they were supposed to have for their stories) from several students. It was eerily reminiscent of the Miller/Reeve and made for a great day.
In the past I've had students find and tell a story -- it was a much more meaningful assignment when they had to write and tell a story.

Next year I think I'll try having the students write an original fairy tale rather than a riddle tale. That one was much too hard for them to grasp.

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