Multiple Intelligence (Circular Curriculum) for “Beowulf”

TITLE: Multiple Intelligence (Circular Curriculum) for “Beowulf”.

**note: students must know something about multiple intelligences, including their own. This activity is appropriate after the material has been read. 7th graders read an abridged, teacher-created version of “Beowulf”. (Contact us if you want a sample of a teacher-created version.)

GRADE: 7 – 9

MATERIALS/TIME REQUIRED: poster paper; at least one class period of 90 minutes

PROVIDE FOR INCLUSION – A You Question, Energizer, or Linking Strategy: “That’s Me”, with comprehension questions from “Beowulf” as follows:

I liked the story because it was scary.

I liked the story because it was creative, fiction, unbelievable.

I could relate to one of the characters in the story.

I still have questions about the story.

I am amazed at how old this story is.


Content Standard: Any reading comprehension or literary analysis

Collaborative: Reflect on experience, think constructively

Personal: Develop personal strengths, explore challenges

IDENTIFY THE STRATEGY: Circular Curriculum (from the Artistry for Learning)

After you finish the story, invite students, working in tribes or individually, to make a poster that employs some or all of the “multiple ways of knowing”. These examples are NOT how the concept is taught, they are demonstrations of learning, on the students’ part.

At first, this is best done in small groups, where students collectively produce a poster that represents all intelligences. Require that students work on at least three different intelligences; they may work in pairs within the group. Be sure to have students sign their names to the appropriate parts (intelligences) represented on the poster. After students have success both with the group effort, and with exploring and developing multiple intelligences, use the circular curriculum for individual works (utilizing three or more intelligences).

Here is an example of demonstrations of understanding, based on the multiple intelligences (also the student handout). The italicized words are elements of Bloom’s Taxonomy. There are many more ideas in your Tribes book, on pages

1) Visual/spatial, comprehension, analysis

Draw a picture of a character from the story.

If you were producing a movie, who would play this character’s part? Why? (a new movie, not the one already out on DVD!)

2) Mathematical/logical, analysis

How are Beowulf and Grendel the same?

How are they different?

3) Linguistic/verbal, Musical/rhythmic, application

Write a cinquain for Beowulf, with alliteration in the fourth line.

Write a cinquain for Grendel, with alliteration in the fourth line.

4) Naturalist, synthesis

Make a grave marker for Grendel. Find something from outside that you would “send” with Grendel to his grave. (It was customary at the time Beowulf was written, to be buried or cremated with gifts.

5) Body/kinesthetic, application

Act out a part from the story/poem.

6) Intrapersonal, Intrapersonal, knowledge, evaluation

Write a question (something you didn’t understand?).

Share it with your group; write the answer


Content: How did you choose your “intelligence” entries…based on your strengths, or based on your challenges? How was this demonstration of understanding more or less demanding than the traditional or usual summary or book report?

Collaborative: What did you enjoy about being able to work with someone else on any part of this project? How did you handle any disagreement?

Personal: Why is it important to recognize multiple intelligences? How can this influence you…in anything in life?

PROVIDE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR APPRECIATION: If the final result is a group poster, then use the strategy “Gallery Walk” and invite statements of appreciation.

AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENT: Have students develop a rubric (they will need some experience here) and grade their own work (really helps if they view each others work first). Eventually, students can actually make up the specific “intelligence” suggestions and develop their own responses. (I actually got to the point where I could say “Give me three examples, using three different multiple intelligences, that demonstrates your knowledge of_____.”)


►Group Development Process (Influence – meaningful participation)

· Cognitive Theory

►Multiple Intelligences

· Cooperative Learning

· Constructivism

►Reflective Practice

►Authentic Assessment