Beowulf Day 3 - Heroes

"He could never leave me behind... and I / Had chosen to remain close to his side."  Beowulf  

Lesson Overview 

NOTE: This lesson was always done as close to 9/11 as possible (given the content of the lesson) - for that reason, it may be switched with the discussion that comes in the next lesson to bring it closer to that date.  As always, the students take a quiz (most of the time I will have the handout and the quiz on the desks near where they enter the classroom so they can take them on the way into the room.  NOTE: Announce to the class - that unlike other times they do Group Work - this time they will be allowed to work in groups (in fact, they are required to) whether or not they've done the reading.   This makes sense given 1) The group work is not so closely related to the specifics of their reading  2) The importance of this group work in the unit and indeed for the entire year.
    Please see the Group Work page if you have any general questions about Group Work.  For this assignment, I usually put them in groups based on their geography in the room.  Putting the closest 4 (or 3) students together quickly.  Remember - they are really auditioning their fellow members - to see who they would like to work with for the rest of the year (though they are not tied to any group permanently).
  The group work, as it usually tries to do, has the students make a close reading of the text - and asks them questions that they collaboratively answer.   Then it has them break up the reading on the back of the handout - short biographies of people from all backgrounds who had acted heroically on 9/11.  Then it asks pointed questions (again based on the text) that tries to get them to make the connection to the universality of Heroism - and how the Anglo-Saxon ideas - courage, words being backed by deeds, art not in any way, extinct.
  When the first group of the students reaches  question 4 the teacher plays a short video that can be found below - that demonstrates the connection between heroes across time.  The video poignantly ends with a firefighter's funeral procession - followed by the lines from Day 1 of our Beowulf reading - about the good king Scyld's body being put on a boat with all the treasure that he had so righteously earned.  There are many kinds of treasure in this world.  There are then a few follow up questions to get the students to process all the information they've seen today (and in their reading).

The Reading (27-35) with my notes

See above for instructions - the text with my notes served as a guide for creating the Group Work.  There are also some discussion questions that some years we were able to get to on the following day - however as time with students became more and more rare - the Group Work was usually allowed to stand for these pages.  


Most Recent Handouts & Quizzes

Reading Quiz 27-35:  Docx  PDF   Again, for this reading quiz there are FOUR versions.
Beowulf & Heroes of 9/11 Group Work  Docx  PDF


Audio Visual Content

This video is integral to the Group Work - it is important to make sure everyone stops what they are doing (when the first group gets to question 4) - and give it their full attention.


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.



This is a short lesson outline with questions for a discussion to be done after (the class after OR if it iis a double period). 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 35-41    To come off of a moving (yes) Group Work - then to do the reading on their own - and then to come back to a class discussion.  Each kind of learning building on the other.


  Beowulf Day 2 (21-27)

Thoughts on the Lesson 

We were reading Beowulf aloud in class when 9/11 occurred.  I still remember the fear and anxiety that ran through the classroom with the destruction of the Twin Towers.  Before that horrific event, this group work was built around the hero of the Flight 93 plane crash at National Airport.  When the plane hit the Potomac River - one passenger kept giving up his seat on the rescue helicopter so that others could be taken to saftey before him - when they finally came for him - he was gone.