Grade: Senior
Subject: Literature

#2379. Beowulf as a Hero, Grendel as a Villain

Literature, level: Senior
Posted Sun Sep 16 14:57:56 PDT 2001 by Stephanie Bake (
Barstow High School, Barstow, CA, USA
Materials Required: A CD player
Activity Time: One period
Concepts Taught: Correlating Old English time period heroes and villains with current ideas.

Students' homework assignment the night before is to go through their music collections and find a verse or a chorus from a song that could be either Beowulf or Grendel's theme song.

That day in class, students get together in groups of four and present their songs to each other and tell why they think it would be the theme song of one of the characters.

The group then chooses the song they think is best to present. They staple all the songs together (each student has their name clearly written at the top of the song they brought for an individual homework grade) with the song they are presenting at the top. The group then goes through the text to find 4 lines from the epic peom that correlate with or parallel the ideas in the song.

The presentation consists of listening to part of the song, students repeating the words of the verse or chorus if they were not easily understood, students telling why they think it would be the theme song of the character they chose, and reading aloud the lines from the text that correlate with the lines from the epic poem.

This was a fabulous assignment. Students stayed appropriate and were enthusiastic about pouring over the text to find the lines that went with their song. I got everything from Maria Carey's "A Hero Lies in You" to "Macho Man" by the village people. Not only does this lesson appeal to your musical, interpersonal, linguistic, and kinesthetic learners; but it also meets CA State Reading Standards 3.0, 3.2, 3.4, 3.6, and Speaking Standard 2.2.