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An understanding of the early period of the English language is novel and exciting for junior high schoolers. This unit of work introduces them to the Anglo-Saxon period and provides a gentle, easy and fun overview of what English language and literature once looked and sounded like. The focus text is Michael Morpurgo's Beowulf, an excellent version of the heroic poem retold for children and young adult readers. The unit strives to remind students and teachers of all cultural and language backgrounds of their contribution and membership of the worldwide Anglophone community. Written as a 52pp combined unit of work and worksheets, teachers only need to purchase Morpurgo's Beowulf to teach this unit!


The unit includes lessons on:

  • Our Language Family
  • Runes, Gods, and the Northern Heritage
  • Kennings, Riddle Poems, and Gnomic Poetry
  • The First Hero: Michael Morpurgo's Beowulf (focus text)
  • The Hero's Journey: Overcoming the Monster
  • The End of Old English
  • Where is Old English today?
  • Practice assessment task
  • Assessment task suitable for ages 11-13

Unit of Work: Beowulf and the Old English Traditions

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