Beowulf Day 2 - The Monster Grendel

"And then, as now, warriors sang of their pleasure."  Beowulf  

Beowulf Day 2 - The Monster Grendel (pgs 21-27) : Now we combine what they learned on their own - with each other and sometimes, their teacher and  we read through and discuss.

Lesson Overview 

After the quiz - we begin to read through the Beowulf text.  Because they (most of them) have read it for homework - it will be a great exercise for them to see what they saw on their own - what other classmates saw in their reading - what the teacher brings into to it - and how to adjust their reading for next time.  This is especially useful after having taken an assessment (remember - quizzes never ask "thinking questions").  The text with my notes on it are especially useful for understanding this lesson. 
    We read by starting at one end of the room (I try to alternate which end) and each students reads lines until we go on to the next student or there is a question or comment (from the class or from the teacher).  Ideas such as Anglo-Saxon poetry (alliteration, caesuras, kennings) are pointed out in the actual text rather than just lecturing at them - though they did have material on this in their reading last night.  The class synthesizes - everything they came up with, the text book, the teacher - and of course wonderfully every class that has come before this one.
    Again - the instructions are simple: Have students read a small section (6-15 lines), interrupting during that reading or after that section with questions and comments (see my notes).  Take special glee in the items that many of the students will have spotted on their own - like the monks changing Grendel to a biblical descendant of Cane.  In the previous lesson during the Beowulf Circle they were instructed to look for things the monks either changed (Christianized) or missed (things that are definitely pagan) in their translating. If you time it right - you should finish section 4 or 5 (depending on time).  I always end section 4 with a personal anecdote  "the Celery Story" about being on a bus with someone who took on someone much more powerful than themselves after taunting them for the entire trip.  When they were taken down a peg by that more powerful person - they were abandoned by the entire bus and their older brother - because they had bragged and done actions without being able to "back it up".  A key component of Anglo-Saxon culture and literature.

Remind them of their reading (homework) - the students' reading schedule for Beowulf can be found in the handout from the last lesson.  Remind them of how much they were able to come up with on their own - they can and will do this.  

The Reading (21-27) with my notes

See above for instructions - the text with my notes served as a guide for the questions to ask as the students are doing the reading.  Also make sure students know they can raise their hands at anytime to add their own questions/comments.  Many of my notes and questions come from classes and students over the years (the absolute best kind of questions).


Most Recent Handouts & Quizzes

Reading Quiz 21-27:  Docx  PDF   For this reading quiz there are FOUR versions.  I taught four different classes.  Students will often ask other periods what was on the quiz.  One of the saddest things I encountered is when students would put down an answer from a previous quiz - that had nothing to do with what was being asked.  ALSO NOTE the vocabulary words for Extra Credit.  Students are told to look up words they don't know - see our Beowulf Circle class - they are rewarded when they do.

Audio Visual Content

I often play - at least for a few moments  - the Seamus Heaney audio of his translation of Beowulf.  It is not only a beautiful translation - it really is understandable from an  oral point of view and integral to the idea of showing the genesis and evolution of this tale.


Remote Enhancements 

Nothing that I have found...yet.  However, given the nature of students reading , accompanied with questions and answers - a Power Point isn't really called for her.



Here is a link to the Burton Raffel translation used in my class (I do not endorse or certify the use of any outside websites).

Class Recordings (for registered members)



What's Next & Unit Home Page

Beowulf - Elem of Lit pgs 27-35    As they gain confidence from class, from their own readings - they will find the readings not only easier - but they will get much more out of them.


  The Beowulf Circle

Thoughts on the Lesson 

And now you get to see how they are using what's come earlier - both in motivation to read and in helping with comprehension.  I have found that students really amaze themselves at what they can get from the text - and that the text is much more interesting than they thought it ever would be.