Beowulf bundle from BritLitWit: You're covered from start to finish with reading questions, quizzes, worksheets, projects, and more! This bundle gets into the fine details of the text in addition to guiding students as they work to understand why Beowulf is still a relevant text in today's world.
This bundle contains:
1. Anglo-Saxon Opinionnaire (Beowulf Anticipation Guide):
This Beowulf anticipation guide provides statements that reflect the attitude of Anglo-Saxon people, including topics like loyalty, revenge, and honoring elders. Students check off the degree to which they agree with the statement, and then explain three of their points in further detail. It's been a great conversation starter that helps us with continually comparing our modern-day culture to the culture depicted in Beowulf.
2. Beowulf PowerPoint:
The first 14 slides use humor and imagery to show students what life was like during Anglo-Saxon times so they can better envision the story of Beowulf. It includes pictures of foods and drinks that Anglo-Saxons typically consumed, references to common sports and games, and other cultural references. This part is not meant for taking notes, but just as a way to hook students' attention. The remaining 10 slides provide information that is essential to know before reading the Beowulf text. With images and easy-to-read text, the presentation details Anglo-Saxon cultural terms (like wyrd, comitatus, etc.), poetic elements in Beowulf, and characteristics of an epic. Students will be able to get in the mindset of the story with this information, but not be overwhelmed. This product includes the presentation version of the PowerPoint and a fill-in-the-blank version for the information that is essential for students to know.
3. Reading Questions (Key Included):
This product includes a 68-question student reading comprehension questions and teacher answer key for the Seamus Heaney translation of Beowulf. Beowulf does not include chapters or sections, so I broke the text into 10 chunks that provide sensible stopping points. This study guide provides the page and line numbers of where these sections begin and end in the Seamus Heaney version.
4. Three Quizzes (Keys Included):
This product includes three multiple-choice quizzes on Beowulf. Answer keys are included. These quizzes are based on the Seamus Heaney translation of Beowulf, but the spellings can easily be adapted to other versions. I divided the Seamus Heaney text into 10 reading sections, and the quizzes are based on sections 1-3, 4-7, and 8-10. Here's the subject matter included in each quiz:
- Pages 1-47 (Sections 1-3): The introduction to the Danes through Beowulf's boast (10 questions).
- Pages 47-113 (Sections 4-6): Beowulf's fight with Grendel through Beowulf's fight with Grendel's mother (12 questions)
- Pages 113-End (Sections 8-10): The story of Queen Modthryth through Beowulf's death (9 questions)
5. Kenning Worksheet:
Students work in groups to write creative kennings for common words to better understand the poetic device. It's lots of fun to turn into a class competition!
6. Grendel Description Writing:
The poet of Beowulf leaves it up to our imaginations to decide what Grendel looks like. This assignment has students describe him in detail and start thinking about the meaning of monsters in fiction. (A collection of representations is also included.)
7. Storyboard for the Fight with Grendel's Mother:
Students break down the action of this sentence into a comic strip form.
8. Hrothgar's Lesson Questions (Key Included):
Students take a closer look at the advice Hrothgar gives Beowulf as he returns home.
9. Epic Conventions (Key Included):
This worksheet is made for Beowulf but can be quickly changed for any epic text. Students must find examples of each epic convention in the text and cite the page numbers. To reinforce the content further, they are also required explain how a movie, show, or book they know also meets some of the epic characteristics.
10. Wrap-Up Questions:
Students analyze what it means to be a hero today and how that compares to the text.
11. Boast Poem Assignment:
This activity requires students to write a boast poem similar to the one that Beowulf delivers before he fights Grendel, and it's a great way to help students prepare for writing college admissions essays! Included in the file:
- A detailed rubric that explains the point values for alliteration, kennings, references to family/friends, and personal accomplishments. It also prompts students to mark each component with a specified symbol, so it'll be easier for you to grade.
- An optional template that will help students who struggle with creative writing stay on track
- A full example boast poem, which meets every mark on the rubric.
I've fine-tuned this rubric and example over the years, and although the assignment might seem challenging at the outset, it's always a hit because the students produce personal writing that highlights their positive attributes and accomplishments. It also highlights the values and literary devices that are central to Beowulf!
12. The Reality of Monsters Project:
Because students often have trouble understanding the purpose of literary monsters like Grendel in Beowulf, this project requires students to address how fears of a society become part of folklore, movies, and literature. Students consider why Anglo-Saxons would have believed in monsters or what troubles they could have symbolized, and then they design a monster of their own that taps into a fear that's common in our modern society.
- In the first part of the project, students analyze what literary monsters like Beowulf's Grendel may have represented in ancient times. They also the possible reasons why monsters continue to be popular in today's media.
- In the second part of the project, students write the origin story for a new monster that represents modern fears and draw a picture of it.
- I've enjoyed this project because it combines literary analysis with a fun, creative element, and it creates a clear link between ancient literature and today's media. It's always worthwhile to have the students share their work with the entire class and observe the various modern fears they highlighted.
There's also a sample schedule (based on 48-minute periods) to make it easier to decide what to do in class and what to assign for homework!
I sell all of these items individually:
•Beowulf and Anglo-Saxon Culture PowerPoint
•Beowulf Anticipation Guide: Anglo-Saxon Opinionnaire
•Beowulf Reading Questions
•Three Beowulf Quizzes
•Epic Conventions Worksheet
•Beowulf Boast Rubric, Prewriting Example and Template
•The Reality of Monsters Project
...but you get a great discount when you buy them as a bundle. (And of course, you will save lots of time!) Don't forget to also download my free Anglo-Saxon Riddles
from the BritLitWit store, which is a great filler activity that also gets students thinking.
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