A Beowulf Test
1. What is Hrothgar's advice to Beowulf? What is his viewpoint on being a king? What support does he use for his statements?
This 'simple' test, when done with the following directions, has the benefits of lots of quiet, concentrated work on a specific section of the book. The students often have an enlightening experience from doing this level of focus and study. [The test questions involve principles' of life and involve didactic content which requires more thinking than first level 'what happened' type questions. Of course, the strategies here could be use with a great variety of assignments.]
It is suggested that this assignment be done after weeks of background work to increase the likelihood of competent success.
Divide the class into pairs [after having given all the other directions]. Let the students draw cards to find their partners. The teacher can generate positive energy at the beginning of this assignment if the students are allowed to reason out the logic behind finding their partners. Make half the cards that they draw letters, A,B,C,D,E, etc., and half numbers, 1,2,3,4,5, etc. and the pairs will be A&1, B&2, C&3, etc.
Also the instructor can tell the class that this is a competition between the groups, that the groups will receive grades in the following proportions': Three groups will receive A's, three will receive B's and two will receive C's. [Of course, if all the groups do A' work equally they should receive A's. No one minds if the teacher says, I changed my policy and gave higher grades than I planned. Giving no grade lower than a C' helps prevent the inequity of mismatched pairs over-impacting a hard-working student's grade.] NOTE: This competition strategy helps insure a quiet class while they work. The students quickly realize that if they talk loudly, someone from another group will hear and use their information to receive one of the higher grades. [For other considerations when working with groups please see Strategies for Teaching.]
When they hand in the tests, have the pairs staple their tests individually with their test sheet on the top, and then each pair staples their tests together. *They should be directed to write similar tests. This direction helps to insure cooperation and working together. They can even copy the other's test if they wish. [I haven't had anyone completely copy yet.]
From- *Mentor Books- Burton Raffel translation -1963 [This translation was being used when I began teaching the course, and I can not recommend a best' translation.']
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