Geoffrey Chaucer Lesson Plan

Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

This lesson plan explores the life and famous work of Geoffrey Chaucer through the development of a timeline. Students research his works and contemporary events to more fully understand the time in which he lived.

Learning Objectives

As a result of this lesson, students will

  • identify important events in the life of Geoffrey Chaucer
  • identify and list the works of Chaucer
  • conduct research to identify additional information about Chaucer's works
  • conduct research to provide historical perspective to Chaucer's life
  • define rime royal and its rime scheme


60-90 minutes

Curriculum Standards


By the end of grade 11, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 11-CCR text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

Materials Needed

  • Projector or SMART Board to display the lesson
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Troilus and Criseyde first two stanzas (show from online website or on a chart)


  • Ask students to do a brief one-minute free-write on what they know about Geoffrey Chaucer.
  • Share these when students are finished, to assess and activate their prior knowledge about the poet.
  • Display the lesson, Geoffrey Chaucer: Biography & Works using a projector or SMART Board.
  • Introduce the lesson by directing their attention to the image of Chaucer in the lesson. Based just on the image, when do they think Chaucer was born?
  • Read the 'Introduction' and 'Biography' sections as a class.
  • Go back through the section and ask the students to identify important dates in Chaucer's life. Use these to create a timeline of his life on the chart paper.
  • Title the timeline, 'Life of Geoffrey Chaucer, the 'Father of English Literature.' '
  • Read the 'Works by Chaucer' section of the lesson.
  • On a second piece of chart paper, make a list of Chaucer's famous works as identified in the lesson.
  • Read the 'Lesson Summary' section of the lesson aloud to the students.
  • Display the Geoffrey Chaucer: Biography & Works Quiz and have the students respond to each question individually. Collect their responses for a lesson assessment or check for understanding.


Recording the Rime Scheme

  • Ask the students if they remember what the lesson said about the 'rime royal.' What was it?
  • Show the first two stanzas of Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde, which is available free as an online e-text.
  • Read the first stanza aloud as the students follow along.
  • Read the first stanza again, marking the rime scheme, ABABBCC .
  • Have the students try to read the second line to themselves. If they have difficulty pronouncing the words, remind them of the rime scheme and how knowing the rime scheme can help them correctly pronounce the last words in each line.
  • Read the second stanza aloud together, marking the rime scheme.

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