The Curriculum of the Steiner School - High School

Notes and Lesson Plans

Beowulf
updated December 28, 2016


Recorded here is my own personal collection of articles, resources, favorite links, teaching ideas, and lesson plans. It encompasses many years, from the very beginning of my experience studying and learning about Waldorf to the present time. People from all around the world visit my site and recommend it to others. Welcome!

This site records my journey. I hope my honesty is encouraging and helps break down some barriers that may prevent people from trying Waldorf ideas. Because this is an ongoing site documenting my curriculum experiences and ideas, some materials are more Waldorf-y than others. Please feel free to take what you like and leave the rest.



Beowulf lesson plans
for High School

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Below is the booklist for this unit. Please realize that there is a difference between books I would recommend as must-haves -- and which are worth tracking down -- and books that I used simply because I already owned them. I've put an asterisk by the books I most strongly recommend.


Booklist: Versions of Beowulf

Five versions sounds like a lot, but we have used them all! It's funny because I figured we would use the highly-regarded Seamus Heaney translation Beowulf: A New Verse Translation (Bilingual Edition) but it didn't arrive from the library in time and we HAD to get started. I am intrigued by the idea of a bi-lingual version, however, with the Old English and the Modern English side-by-side.

One.
Background
The version I received as a gift when I was a girl and which provided wonderful background: Beowulf: An Adaptation by Julian Glover of the Verse Translations of Michael Alexander and Edwin Morgan

Two.
Old English - read
The version in Old English which is free online at Project Gutenberg

Three.
Old English - listen to
* The version in Old English read aloud by J.B. Bessinger, Jr.: Beowulf CD

Four.
Modern English - read
The version translated into Modern English which is free online at Project Gutenberg, translated by Lesslie Hall

Five.
Modern English - listen to
* The version translated into Modern English read aloud by Robertson Dean, translated by Robert K. Gordon: Beowulf

This version is especially nice because each part is a separate track on the CD, unlike the Old English version.


Two Week Main Lesson
We divided our study of Beowulf into six portions:

    Before Reading
    "Story 1" is Grendel's First Attack and Beowulf's Arrival (prologue to part 10)
    "Story 2" is Grendel's Battle with Beowulf (part 11 to part 18)
    "Story 3" is Grendel's Mother (part 19 to part 26)
    "Story 4" is Beowulf's Return to Geatland (part 27 to part 31)
    "Story 5" is The Dragon and Beowulf's Death (part 31 to part 43)


Links and Additional Resources:

Teacher Guide
Beowulf: A Teacher's Guide to the Signet Classic Edition (PDF)
This free online teacher's guide is VERY good and although it's meant for the Burton Raffel translation I found it very easy to use. She gives an extensive list of projects which are suitable for multiple intelligences, and I used many of her activity suggestions and discussion questions.

The Anglo-Saxons and Beowulf slideshow for teacher background

Chalkboard Drawings
We had the family tree up on the chalkboard in our living room for the whole two weeks although I'm sure many beautiful drawings could be made. I thought having the family tree available made the most sense, to help Natalie keep the names straight.


Beowulf family tree (JPG)

Grendel family tree (JPG)


Main Lesson Book Pages - Illustrations

** MLB Pages - Beowulf - my blog post with all Natalie's pages **

We used the Small size main lesson book but I wouldn't do it that way again.

This story would definitely lend itself to doing the pages loose and bookbinding them. I particularly wished we had the family trees in her book but we couldn't get them to fit on such little pages.


Before Reading:

Story 1: Wet on wet watercolor painting - with watercolor pencil details - of Grendel in his dark lair looking out at the light coming from Herot

Story 2: floor plan of Herot

Story 3: Hruntung

Story 4: Viking ship

Story 5: Dragon


Artistic Exploration Projects

Story 1: Create MLB illustration of Grendel in his dark lair looking out at the light coming from Herot, rendered as a wet felted piece


Story 2: Begin work on Board Game -- her chosen cumulative project - starting with illustrated timeline of events (or other cumulative project of your choice)


Story 3: Make a model of Hrunting using the "Play Clay" recipe on p.18 of Mudworks: Creative Clay, Dough, and Modeling Experiences

    I was so happy to find this modeling recipe! The girls have loved this one of Mary Ann Kohl's book (I think we have them all) and so consequently we are all out of salt. This modeling recipe does not use salt. It does, however, use a lot of baking soda and cornstarch.

    The Stained Glass Dough recipe would also be spectacular for a sword -- or the treasure from the dragon's lair (Story 5) -- and is edible.


Story 4: Model dragon out of beeswax. Write a creative story about the events leading up to the dragon finding and taking the treasure which fills her lair.


Story 5: Produce Board Game - finish colorful gameboard with illustrated timeline of events, model playing pieces out of beeswax, write playing cards, finalize full set of instructions, and test game

Or conclude other cumulative project


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