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British Literature

Sir Gawain and The Green Knight

Consider The Green Knight: a new movie for British Lit When you’re teaching a new class, you just can’t do it all. You ease into the new routine, the new texts, the new lesson plans, and activities. For example, even though I taught British Literature to high school seniors for three years, I never taught…

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Beowulf Lessons for High School

Seven Beowulf Lesson Plans and Resources It’s that time of year again for British Literature teachers. It’s time for Beowulf! Have you started your journey into Anglo-Saxon poetry? My usual early fall Anglo-Saxon routine culminates with a three-week unit on Beowulf followed by a short unit on The Hero’s Journey. I didn’t always enjoy teaching…

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3 Resources for Shakespeare in Love

3 Resources to Build Prior Knowledge and Background Last week, I published a post about the 1998 movie Shakespeare in Love, one of my very favorite movies. That post recognized the fact that while the movie is indeed R-rated, it’s still one you can watch IF you know the parts to skip. In that post,…

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Shakespeare in Love: What Not to Watch

Despite its R rating, you can still teach with this film. Here’s how. If you need a good movie for your British Literature classes, but have always shied away from Shakespeare in Love due to its sexual content, shy away no longer. At the bottom of this post I’ve outlined the exact scenes to skip…

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Canterbury Tales Lesson Plan Resources

There seems to be quite a bit of interest in this Canterbury Tales post from last year, so I’m reblogging it so more readers will locate it more easily! I’m getting ready to teach Canterbury Tales again in about a week, and if things go like they usually do, I’ll be creating some new resources…

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A Better Beowulf Unit Begins with Sutton Hoo

The Dark Ages discovery builds Beowulf engagement Need an awesome nonfiction text to enhance your Beowulf unit? Look no further! I have a resource for you that you really must check out. It’s titled “Revisiting Sutton Hoo, Britain’s Mythical Ship Burial.” Written by Sam Knight and published in The New Yorker (August 9, 2019), this…

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A New Poem Activity for The Wanderer

While our study of The Wanderer included some note-taking, reading the poem aloud, and completing a close-reading activity, I wanted us to go one step further to get more out of this beautiful verse. So when I read about something called the “Ubi sunt” motif present in The Wanderer, I took notice… especially when I considered how it might be a way for students to better connect personally to this poem.

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The Dream of the Rood: A Dream of a Poem

Last fall, as I read and planned lessons for Beowulf, “The Wanderer,” and “The Seafarer,” I kept coming across “The Dream of the Rood.” It wasn’t included in our textbook, but since I kept reading about it (and it was included in my trusty Norton anthology, after all), I became more and more curious. Fast forward: my “Dream of the Rood” close reading activity is here!

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Everyman: Resources for the Morality Play

A media mix brings Everyman to life My senior British literature classes ended the first semester with a study of Everyman, the 1510 morality play. Again, just as with The Canterbury Tales and Le Morte d’Arthur, I felt challenged to find a supplemental text and activities as a result of the minimal two-page treatment our…

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Le Morte d’Arthur: Resources for High School

My quest with my high school seniors into British Lit continues with one of the last two texts in our Medieval Era unit: Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. This text, published in 1485, provides the tales of the legendary King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. (A post on our last medieval…

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When Christian Bale becomes Beowulf

Here’s another way to infuse relevance into Beowulf When you extend your Beowulf unit into a mini-unit on Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, three things will happen: 1) You’ll build excitement to read an Anglo-Saxon poem so old we don’t even know exactly when it was written or by whom. 2) You’ll open students’ eyes to…

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Check Out The Hero’s Journey Podcast

A great supplement to teaching the hero’s journey Have you discovered “The Hero’s Journey” podcast? Subtitled “Books & Films Through a Mythical Lens,” this is a fantastically interesting podcast I used in February to supplement my hero’s journey lessons. Use the monthly show to introduce students to Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey in popular movies, some…

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New Year, New Units: Beowulf and The Old Man and the Sea

Lots of planning comin’ up! Now that the new year has started, I thought I would write a short post about the units I’m starting with my juniors and seniors next week. My junior classes will begin Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea on Wednesday  and my senior classes will start Beowulf on…

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