This bundle will help you teach Beowulf from start to finish! These materials will help you cover the fine details of the text in addition to guiding students as they work to understand why Beowulf is still a relevant text.
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:
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 Beowulf Quizzes with Keys:
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. 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!
6. Epic Conventions:
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.
7. 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.
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.