Beowulf, Old English, and Anglo-Saxon Culture

The Anglo-Saxon time period in Britain was one of excitement and innovation--a time that gave birth to the English language. Beowulf, the Anglo-Saxon poem that is commonly taught in high school, achieves Old English epic greatness. Although the poem caues English teachers to seriously nerd-out, it also frequently causes students to lose consciousness. Included here are some assignments to add fun and interest to Beowulf and Anglo-Saxon culture. For a Reader's Theater script-story version of Beowulf, also visit the store.

THE BIRTH OF BRITAIN (PDF)

This PDF presentation gives information on the various stages of ancient Britain (Celtic, Roman, Anglo-Saxon) as well as information about Anglo-Saxon culture.

THE ARRIVAL OF BEOWULF: READER'S THEATER PLAY (PDF)

This script-story adapts the epic poem into reading parts, helping students become engaged in the story. For the full story of Beowulf told in Reader's Theater format, visit the store by clicking HERE.

BEOWULF IN OLD ENGLISH

Engage your students by giving them a taste of the Old English language. I'll never forget my college professor reciting lines from Beowulf in Anglo-Saxon. Provided is a sound clip of Beowulf being read and a worksheet for students' responses.

"THE LORD'S PRAYER" IN OLD ENGLISH

Another selection from Old English, The Lord's Prayer will sound both familiar and unfamiliar to students.

OLD ENGLISH PHRASE BOOK

This list of Old English phrases comes in handy when one is lost in the Anglo-Saxon wilderness. Give your students the assignment of carrying on a conversation using mainly these phrases. The results are guaranteed to be interesting!

ANGLO-SAXON RIDDLES

Bilbo and Gollum from The Hobbit aren't the only two who can come up with rip-roarin' riddles. Educate your students about the custom of riddle contests in the Anglo-Saxon culture and then have them try their hand at it. Included are three worksheets:  One with Anglo-Saxon riddle guidelines, a page of examples from The Hobbit, and a page of more examples. A fun addition might be to show students a clip of the scene from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey where Bilbo and Gollum have a contest of riddles.

"THE FUNNY SIDE OF BEOWULF" (PDF)

This humorous article by Dave Barry pokes fun at Beowulf and his Geatish heritage.

BEOPOEM (PDF)

You might have heard of a Biopoem, but what about a Beopoem? Ask students to describe their attributes Beowulf-style.

ITEMS FOR SALE IN THE STORE:

Want your students to experience Beowulf in a brand-new way? Try this set of three script-stories that dramatize Beowulf's heroic battles. Each script comes with a teacher guide featuring a summary, recall questions, relevant background information, and teachable terms. This 33-page document is available only as a digital download. For more information click here.