July 31, 2007

6+1 Writing Traits, Beowulf

Posted in classroom appearance, lesson plans at 10:12 pm by mrsmauck

I worked on my 6+1 Writing Traits poster today. I plan on matting each of these on construction paper and grouping them somewhere in my room. Anyone have any bits of advice on implementing this program? I think it will be really helpful for students to have these on handouts as they write, revise, and peer-edit, so they have some structure and language to articulate what is good and bad about their work.
I also read Beowulf again today, as it will be the first unit for my seniors. I remember thinking it was completely archaic and boring as a student, but now, I thought the poetry was beautiful and the plot fast-paced and interesting. Is that a difference in maturity and knowledge of language, or did my previous learning experience suck the life out of the oldest English poem on the planet? I plan on introducing this with a comparison chart of today’s epics and heroes, having students brainstorm the traits of an epic by analyzing Harry Potter, The Matrix trilogy, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and/or Star Wars. We’ll do this using the elements from Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. I think we’ll read it aloud in class, as it did begin as an oral tale, and we’ll pause to discuss, and do structured group work, in which each group discusses and writes down notes on different aspects of the poem: poetic devices, Christian influences, heroic traits, villanous traits, and storyboarding. The storyboarding group will work on a master timeline of events with drawings, noting elements from the Hero’s Journey. As final projects, students will put together a Heroes Booklet and also write a short essay on one of the aspects the small groups explored during our reading.
bought two beautiful graphic novel versons of the poem: this one by James Rumord and this one by Gareth Hinds. I’m trying to decide how to use these. Perhaps students could choose to do a graphic novel version of one of the battles rather than the short paper?
Any constructive criticism of this unit plan is most welcome!

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