Beowulf Day 4 - In Grendel's Lair pgs 35-41

"So fame comes to men who mean to win it."  Beowulf  

Lesson Overview 

NOTE: Most of what follows is a verbatum copy of Beowulf Day 2 - simply because we follow the same format - 1) Students are quizzed  2) We read the text aloud (that they read for homework) stopping with the students' and teacher's questions, comments, ideas - using the Reading with my Notes found below.  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.  Here we get to see much of what was brought up in our previous lessons on Beowulf.  Earning what you recieve.  Bragging is not bragging if you follow through etc.  We also spend some time dwelling on the beauty of the Anglo-Saxon poetry.

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 (35-41) with my notes

See above for instructions - the text with my notes served as a guide for the questions, comments and ideas that I ask - though I was always ready for and often elicited the students ideas, questions, etc.  Over the years - as I wrote notes in this text - the previous years' notes and questions become incorporated into the lesson.


Most Recent Handouts & Quizzes

Reading Quiz 35-41:  Docx   PDF   Note the extra credit - one a vocabulary, the other about when their next book is due.  

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 - the video and the group work can certainly be a shared screen in any Remote Meeting.



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 & The Fire Dragon.  The final reading directly on Beowulf - The texts consists of a handout with the first part of the reading  &  their text book Elements of Lit pgs 42-49     For some strange reason - their text book left out one of the most important parts of the story - the warning that Beowulf gets from Hrothgar.  It's also great to give them another translation of the work - one by Charles Kennedy, who translated the text we started the unit with (in the Beowulf Circle).


  Beowulf Day 3 - Heroes 

Thoughts on the Lesson 

Our second full class discussion on the story - using their comments, questions, and how they do on the quizzes - it's a great to time to assess how they doing with the reading.  This is also a lesson where the elements of Anglo-Saxon poetry - kennings, caesuras, and alliteration are further explained.  Also, the idea of EARNING what you get - which will not only be brought up in the next lesson, but is important to the novel Grendel (their next Unit) and the rest of the year (in both effective and affective ways).