Unit 1

Anglo-Saxon/Medieval Period

Beowulfand The Prologue to The Canterbury Tales

Senior Research Paper

English IV††††


Unit Length and Description:


Nine weeks


Drawing on knowledge of the quest gained in grades 4 and 9 and the concept of storytelling woven throughout the earlier grades, students will learn the essential qualities of a leader and/or hero and the journey that it takes to get him there. They will consider how Anglo-Saxon and Medieval writings have influenced the concept of modern-day heroes in literature.


Students will learn how the stereotypes and characterization of Chaucerís pilgrims reflect his views of religious corruption and social boundaries in the Medieval Period. They will consider how the themes reflected in the General Prologue carry over to the tales told by the pilgrims and whether the morals of the tales are universal and applicable to the modern world.


This unit will focus on identifying key ideas and details as well as composing informative/explanatory essays.




Reading Literature

RL.11.12.1: Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.


RL.11.12.2: Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.


RL.11.12.3: Analyze the impact of the authorís choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where the story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed.


Reading Informational Texts

RI.11.12.1: Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.


RI.11.12.2: Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text.


RI.11.12.3: Analyze a complex set of ideas or sequence of events and explain how specific individuals, ideas, or events interact and develop over the course of the text.



W.11.12.2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

a)   Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.

b)   Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audienceís knowledge of the topic.

c)   Use appropriate and varied transitions and syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts.

d)   Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary, and techniques such as a metaphor, simile, and analogy to manage the complexity of the topic.

e)   Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.

f)    Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).


W.11.12.4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.


W.11.12.5: Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.


Speaking and Listening

SL.11.12.1: Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on othersí ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

a)   Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.

b)   Work with peers to promote civil, democratic discussions and decision-making (e.g., informal consensus, taking notes on key issues, presentation of alternate views), clear goals and deadlines, and individual roles as needed.

c)   Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives.

d)   Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives; synthesize comments, claims, and evidence made on all sides of an issue; resolve contradictions when possible; and determine what additional information or research is requires to deepen the investigation or complete the task.



L.11.12.1: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

a)   Apply the understanding that usage is a matter of convention, can change over time, and is sometimes contested.

b)   Resolve issues of complex or contested usage, consulting references as needed.


L.11.12.2: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

a)   Observe hyphenation conventions.

b)   Spell correctly.


Enduring Understandings:


         Different cultures and time periods reward their heroes in different ways.

         Reading stories from the oral tradition reveals how oral methods preserved our literary past and impacted early forms of written communication.

         To be convincing, one must prove and support his ideas and opinions with valid research. Proper citation is essential.


Essential Questions:


         What is a hero? How are heroes rewarded?

         How does literature based on oral tradition show us how literature is universal?

         How do narratives reflect the optimism or pessimism of a time period, society or culture?

         Can we affect social change through our words and actions?

         Why is important to be a confident speaker and writer?

         How is research important in manipulating thought?