Reflection: Learning Communities Where are the Ladies? - Section 1: Overview


Sunday night, mid-summer.  I'm trying to think about ways to teach Beowulf for the upcoming school year; I'm trying to include Native American literature. I've been thinking about this lesson all weekend and the idea I have in mind is closer to game show or a dating game. It's not the right idea, but I know that it can morph into a teachable lesson.

Then I call teaching colleague, Becca, wwho has about the same amount of experience as I do, but approaches her classes from a different perspective. I tell her my idea, "I want my students to listen to the different voices, I want them to pick out the differences and to see how cultural influences gender."

She tells me I have a solid idea and then suggests the Margaret Atwood poem because it speaks to the trickster tradition. The ideas begin to come together and I start thinking about a way to teach students voice and cultural markers. 

The questions start to flow as I read and re-read the poems and think about the way they relate to one another, and by the end of the lesson I felt that I had a solid learning plan for my students. This kind of collaboration leads to some of my best ideas, because it pulls me out of my comfort zone and gets me thinking about literature I wouldn't normally include.  Collaboration can be a challenge in a rural school, I've been the only English teacher or one of two, and I have to make the effort to find collaborators in different schools, but the effort is very worhtwhile. 

  Where My Teaching Ideas Come From
  Learning Communities: Where My Teaching Ideas Come From
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Where are the Ladies?

Unit 5: Beowulf
Lesson 7 of 12

Objective: SWBAT - identify markers of later, Christian additions made by Beowulf scribe.

Big Idea: Examine the silence of women in the text as well as the Christian voice that may well have been the one to words in Wealhtheow's mouth.

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