Middle School English Classes Present Travelogue Troupes

Khan Lab School
December 3, 2020 / 5 mins read

This fall, Middle School students in English 1 and English 2 studied Medieval and Early RenaissanceTravelogues.Travelogues are pieces of literature written in the first person about a journey that share information in an artistic, spontaneous manner.

Led by Middle School English Specialist Renee Scherer, this unit explored essential questions like:

  • How have we described journeys in literature?
  • What can we expect in tales about travel?
  • How have Medieval and Renaissance travel stories inspired other modern genres?

Classes started this unit by learning about the elements that classify a text as a travelogue before reading both fictionalized and historical travelogues for themselves. Since The Hobbit was inspired by travelogues, the class read that book together and identified the travelogue elements in that book.

Next, students worked in groups to decipher excerpts from Medieval and Early Renaissance travelogues like The Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela, The Travels of Marco Polo, Ibn Battua's Rihla, The Book of Margery Kempe, and The Journey Beyond Three Seas. These excerpts were all in the original language, so students had to use medieval dictionaries and other resources to translate the excerpts. Groups identified the elements of travelogue in their excerpts, made connections to The Hobbit, and prepared written summaries that highlighted the key historical, geographic, and cultural details.

As the final product of this unit, English 1 and 2 groups turned into the Travelogue Troupes. They prepared engaging, live exhibits of their travelogue excerpts and performed them to live audiences of Lower School students. Student groups used formats like virtual escape rooms, choose-your-own-adventure games, talk shows, and skits to share what they'd learned about travelogues with younger KLS students.

If you'd like to take a peek, you can see the full Travelogue Troupes visitor program here. Scroll down for even more photos from the Travelogue Troupes presentation day.

A huge congratulationsto English 1, English 2, and Renee on these outstanding presentations. We love seeing KLS students' critical thinking skills and creativity at work in projects like this!