Grendel Chapter 9 - Ork & The Destroyer A Vertext Disc.

 "The trees are dead, and only the deepest religion can break through time and believe they'll revive."

Lesson Overview 

Though I usually teach the same books and stories with additions here and there - the discussions (and group work or any activity for that matter) are always altered, changed, or reinvented.  Chapter 9 is very complicated, dense, and difficult.  It is the perfect candidate for a Vertext.  By putting up a quote - and starting the discussion with that quote, you make sure that the students understand a little bit - and then you can move on to a deeper concept..  For more on different class discussion methods, go to this page.

The most difficult thing (I believe) in this Chapter has to do with when Grendel asks Ork (the high priest - whose name happens to mean "monster" - ah yes - very cool!) to explain his concept of what "the Destroyer" (their god) is - it echoes what the dragon told Grendel in Chapter 5.   By taking Ork's theory step by step (using the Vertext) the students can come to an understanding (and flex their critical thinking skills) themselves (maybe with a little help from the teacher).

As with most of my lessons - I will also bring in what we've seen already in the year (ie Chapter 5 of Grendel, a poem by Vincent Saint Milay from our verse intro to Grendel) and things we will see later (such as Shelley's "Ode to the West Wind")  - Ah connections!

A Discussion using a Vertext

The first vertext of the year.  A vertext (I believe I coined the name) is simply a  presentation of quotes from the assigned  reading (given in the order of the reading).  You pull out quotes (or sometimes comments on bigger ideas) that will lead to discussion.  I start at one end of the room - the student in the first desk, in the first row reads the quote aloud - and then anyone in the class can comment on it or ask a question about it.   The student should also read the page number (it's given) so that everyone can turn to that page in their books.  Everyone gets to read a quote AND sometimes I will also ask that the student who reads the quote also must comment (at least briefly) on it.  

 Students also frequently comment on the comment that the first student made - and one quote can lead to an entire discussion.  The great thing about this approach is that the teacher is not asking pointed questions (though they are putting up pointed quotes...).  The majority of the critical thinking comes from the students.  

Sometimes - depending on how a particular class is good or bad at everyone speaking up - I will also ask that the student who reads the quote aloud, also makes the first comment or question on it.  


Most Recent Quizzes   (different versions depending on reading assignment)

Reading Quiz on Chapter 9 Docx  PDF  - There are 4 versions (great if you teach the same class more than one period)

Reading Quiz on Chapts 8-9 Docx  PDF   

Reading Quiz on Chapts 7-9  Docx  PDF

Audio Visual Content


Remote Enhancements 

The Vertext works really great remotely.


Class Recordings (for registered members)




Grendel Day 8 - The Death of the Shaper - Chapter 10 - 3 Ways to Discuss.  Three different ways to talk about the death of the Shaper (such an important even in the novel).


  Grendel Day 6 - Chapters 7 & 8 Group Work

Thoughts on the Lesson 

The important thing here is to have a great discussion.  However, the teacher feels comfortable is, in my opinion, the best possible way to do it.   Students love Ringmaster Teacher - I love the other two methods - though I do think I'm pretty proficient at being a Ringmaster.  I just think the other ways make the students think and retain better.