English Lesson Plan – Chivalry and The Seeing Stone

  1. I.               Goals



The goals of this lesson are (1) to help students develop critical thinking skills through literary analysis of The Seeing Stone and examination of the Knights’ Code of Chivalry,  (2) to foster cooperative learning through group work, and (3) to develop student creativity and writing skills through the creation of a modern code of chivalry.


Enduring Understandings


People’s actions are often shaped by some sort of moral code and/or sense of duty.


Sometimes, no matter how solid our sense of morality or duty is, we find ourselves in situations where we are not sure what the “right” thing to do might be.


Essential Questions


What is my own personal moral code or sense of duty?


If following one’s moral code or sense of duty could get that person into trouble, should he or she do it anyway?



  1. II.             Instructional Objectives


Students will be able to:

-Demonstrate understanding of the concept of chivalry through class discussion of the Knights Code and through the process of writing their own modern codes of chivalry.

-Relate this understanding of chivalry to The Seeing Stone through discussion of Chapter 5



  1. III.           Content


Students will analyze Chapter 5 of The Seeing Stone through class discussion; they will then study the Knights’ Code of Chivalry and write their own Modern Code of Chivalry.


Standards/Benchmarks applicable to this lesson:


NCTE 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).


PA 1.1.9.A: Apply appropriate comprehension strategies to interpret and evaluate an author’s implied or stated purpose using grade level text.


PA 1.6.9.A: Listen critically and respond to others in small and large group situations.  Respond with grade level appropriate questions, ideas, information or opinions.


PA 1.5.9.B: Develop content appropriate for the topic.


PA 1.5.9.F: Use grade appropriate conventions of language when writing and editing.




  1. IV.           Materials


The Seeing Stone, by Kevin Crossley-Holland
“Knights Code of Chivalry”


Monty Python “Camelot Song” Video and lyrics (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfGpVcdqeS0 and http://www.lyrics007.com/Monty%20Python%20Lyrics/Knights%20Of%20The%20Round%20Table%20(Camelot%20Song)%20Lyrics.html)



  1. V.             Teaching Procedures


  1. Introductory:


I will begin class by reminding the students of the preliminary research we did on different elements of Arthurian legend at the beginning of the unit (two days prior) and ask students to brainstorm on what they remember learning about knights.  I’ll write each concept down on the whiteboard, facilitating the exercise so that, even if the prior lesson’s presentation on knights did not cover elements essential to today’s lesson, they are covered today.  For instance, “How does somebody become a knight?  Do you remember that it’s a process, through which someone would first train to be a page, then a squire, and then finally a knight? “  “What about chivalry?  What was that? “


  1. Developmental:


Teacher: Today, we are going to look at The Seeing Stone – particularly the events that happened in Chapters 4 and 5, when Arthur gets into trouble after helping Gatty with the bulls.  We practiced summarizing yesterday, so who would like to volunteer to summarize these sections for us?”  (Student will summarize, describing how the bulls are loose, Arthur decides to help Gatty get them in their pens, and he gets in trouble with his parents for doing so.”)  Does it seem odd to any of you that Arthur got in trouble for this when he was helping his friend?  Let’s open our books to page 16.  I’m going to read, starting with, “That didn’t work, though.”  (Teacher will read the passage.)  Why does Serle think “squires and pages don’t tangle with bulls”?  (Students will volunteer answers, hopefully saying because it isn’t their “duty”.)  Let’s now turn to page 21.  Can someone else volunteer to read, starting with “What you did was wrong”?  (Student will read through Arthur’s father’s explanation of why he should not have helped Gatty).


I think this is interesting, because Arthur is a page, which means he’s in training to become a knight, and knights are expected to follow the Code of Chivalry.  I’d now like us to look at the Knights Code of Chivalry.  (Teacher will display the Code on the SmartBoard and have students take turns reading each element of the Code).


Now that you’ve read this example of Chivalric Code, do you think Arthur’s father was right to be angry with him?  (Hopefully, discussion will continue.  If it wanes, I will prompt with additional questions, like “What about the part of the code to “protect the weak and defenseless”?  or “But…does it matter that Arthur isn’t yet a knight, he’s just a page?  His father says it’s his job right now to learn the duties of a page.  What do you think of that?  Should a page only do a page’s job, or should a page also live by the same code of conduct as that of the position he hopes to attain?”)


So, let’s go back to the Code of Chivalry.  I’d like you all to work in groups of your choosing – but no larger than 4 people – to write what you think a Modern Day Code of Chivalry should be.  Because it is modern, it can be applicable to both males and females if you’d like (and actually, there were such things a female knights – they were rare, but they existed!).  But, if you’re working in a group of all girls, you can make it apply only to boys if you want, and vice versa.  You can make it specific if you want.  For example, “To never post a friend’s secret on Facebook” would be specific; or you can make it more general, “To protect secrecy at all costs”.      The idea is to have fun.  (Students will have time to work on this in class; about 15-20 minutes, depending on how long class discussion has been).


  1. Closure:


Class will conclude with each group reading its Modern Code of Chivalry to the class.  If there is time, I will then play the Monty Python video clip and display the lyrics of the song on the SmartBoard.



  1. VI.           Accommodations and Modifications


I am most concerned about the discussion aspect of this lesson.  I don’t want this to become a Direct Instruction lesson at all, so if students are not contributing to the discussion, I will make a major modification to the lesson.  Instead of having students work in groups to write their own Codes of Chivalry, I will instead have them work in groups to prepare an argument for a debate over whether Arthur should or should not have been punished for helping Gatty with the bulls.  After they’ve had time to prepare their arguments, I’ll then facilitate a class debate.


  1. VII.         Assessment of Learning


Students will be assessed informally as they participate in class discussion and during group activities.  I will circulate through the class during group work to ensure participation and understanding.


  1. VIII.       Self-Assessment of Teaching







The Knights of the Round Table Code of Chivalry

To fear God and maintain His Church

To serve the liege lord in valour and faith

To protect the weak and defenceless

To give succour to widows and orphans

To refrain from the wanton giving of offence

To live by honour and for glory

To despise pecuniary reward

To fight for the welfare of all

To obey those placed in authority

To guard the honour of fellow knights

To eschew unfairness, meanness and deceit

To keep faith

At all times to speak the truth

To persevere to the end in any enterprise begun

To respect the honour of women

Never to refuse a challenge from an equal

Never to turn the back upon a foe




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