Lesson plans and teaching resources
Background: The Anglo-Saxons
Click here : background information about the Anglo-Saxons has been moved to a separate page.
Kennings and Riddles
Click here : definitions, examples, and learning activities have been moved to a separate page.
Click here : information and activities about the original Anglo-Saxon text have been moved to a separate page.
The Beauty of Anglo-Saxon Poetry: A Prelude to
Students study the literature and literary techniques of the early Middle Ages, preparing to read Beowulf with an appreciation for its artistry and beauty. Students will learn the conventions of Anglo-Saxon poetry, solve online riddles, write riddles, and reflect on what they have learned.
This music video can serve as an introduction to the unit, presenting a synopsis of the epic. Downloadable, it runs 3:47 and is captioned.
Using a theme of good vs. evil, this site includes theme openers, crosscurricular activities, research assignments, and suggestions for related reading.
How might students use storyboards to demonstrate and to extend their learning? Check the resources here. Students work with the Hero's journey, elements of an epic, vocabulary, more. Note: Storyboard That helps sponsor this site.
: A Terrifying Tale of Good vs Evil
This study guide provides a great deal of background information.
: Twenty Questions for Discussion
These questions would work best with advanced students.
A teacher's chapter-by-chapter notes, including summary, teaching approaches, and discussion questions.
Beowulf Mock Trial
Click on the title link for thorough instructions on how to put Beowulf on trial. From Outta Ray's Head.
Beowulf: Still a Hero
Journal assignments, seminar topics, creative topics, links to a variety of versions of the epic, and study questions for John Gardner's Grendel .
A chronology of the epic. Be sure to note the table of parallels at the top of the page.
Thirteen questions for writing or discussion.
Based upon John Gardner's Grendel , this site offers questions to explore character, point of view, setting, and theme. Follow the links to find related works, vocabulary words, projects, even bulletin boards.
The Hero Connection: From Beowulf to Batman
After reading Beowulf , students will identify Beowulf's heroic traits, generalize from these traits a list of typical traits for heroes, and then use these traits to compare Beowulf with contemporary heroes. As a culminating activity, students will define their concept of hero and then create a booklet of personal heroes from various areas.
A Host of Heroes
This TED-ED video (4:54) uses examples from Beowulf , Oedipus , Romeo and Juliet , Star Wars , Zorro , and King Arthur to explore the differences between the epic, tragic, and romantic hero. Captioned, includes follow-up questions.
An Introduction to
: Language and Poetics
"Although this lesson assumes students will read Beowulf in translation, it introduces students to the poem's original Old English and explains the relationship between Old, Middle, and Modern English. The lesson then goes on to introduce students to alliteration, alliterative verse, and kennings and their importance to Beowulf ."
In this writing assignment, students bring Beowulf into modern times. The prompt includes background and some guidelines.
This lesson is intended to have students investigate the idea of "monsters" in society. They will begin by defining the idea of what a monster is. They will then read Beowulf . The reading of Grendel by John Gardner will follow. Students will design and present their own conceptions of a monster.
Multi-Media Hero Analysis
Students will recognize the positive character traits of heroes as depicted in music, art and literature. The class will break into groups and write a working definition of a hero which they will present to the class. Students will discuss multi-media representations of heroes as well as cultural differences among who is considered a hero. The teacher will provide various works of art depicting heroes, and the students will choose one hero to research for an essay.
A Teacher's Guide to
This 13-page document includes an introduction and prereading activities, journal topics, vocabulary, questions for discussion, supporting activities, quotations, and a bibliography. Requires Adobe Reader or compatible application for access.
Suggestions for Pairing Contemporary Music and Canonical Literature
A list of songs that were inspired by reading literature. Organized by the last name of the author (e.g. Chinua Achebe, William Butler Yeats), the list includes song title, performer, year of release, and more. The list includes 9 titles inspired by Beowulf .
Using Poetry to Teach the Importance of Word Choice
This lesson uses the same passage from five different translations of Beowulf . It encourages students to consider the impact of word choice on tone, sound, and meaning.
What good is
This article emphasizes the development of language as part of the study of the epic. It includes a link to a Webquest on language.