Set-Up: There is an expression — “6 degrees of separation” — that suggests how connected we individuals are as collective humanity, no matter how big a world it may be.  In short, it means that:

if a person is one step away from each person they know and two steps away from each person who is known by one of the people they know, then everyone is an average of six “steps” away from each person on Earth.

Playing off of this concept, we’re going to play a weekly game called “6 Degrees of Separation” where we are given 2 topics (that seem to have nothing in common) which we must figure out a creative way to connect.  The trick is that we have to use a logical set of connections to show how the 2 items are related in “6 steps”.  Additionally, we will also offer a bit of trivia about each new step to showcase our knowledge and imagination.

Example: Let’s take 2 random topics — Ancient Egypt and “Lord of the Flies” — and figure out how to connect them in “6 steps” with some added trivia to show our knowledge:

Step 1: When someone in America thinks of ancient Egypt (1), he/she can’t help but think of legendary pharaohs given that everything one can easily think of from that period of Egypt’s history — from golden statues to the Great Pyramids — are remnants of these god-like leaders. It’s particularly interesting that pharaohs were often buried with everything they owned, gifts for them for the afterlife, and even their living servants.

Step 2: The most famous pharaoh (2) that I can think of is King Tut (1) which was one of my favorite stories growing up.  Even though the amazing amount of gold discovered and the identity of the “boy king” were supposed to be the important parts of the story, this wasn’t what captured my attention at first. As a young kid, I actually daydreamed a lot about the idea of a curse placed on all of the people involved in finding the original tomb, especially given that the spirit of the pharaoh may have been angry that they disturbed his eternal slumber. This led me to study a range of curses and superstitions when I was in elementary school.

Step 3: King Tut’s (2) exhibit just arrived in Dallas (3) — as a major art exhibit called “King Tut and the Golden Age of Pharoahs” being held at the Dallas Museum of Art — for several months.  Hundreds of thousands of people (paying up to $32/ticket) are expected to attend the show, including some of our own art and archeology students who will go there on an upcoming fieldtrip.

Step 4: On Elm Street in Dallas (3), specifically near the Texas School Book Depository (4), was the location of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963.

Step 5: The Texas School Book Depository (4) was “a multi-floor warehouse for the storage of school textbooks and related materials” (according to Wikipedia) that shut down in 1970 when the business moved out.  It was also in the year 1970 that the American Library Association awarded the first Coretta Scott King Award was given to African-American writers/illustrators who focused on the creation of books specifically for children and young people (5).

Step 6: One of the most famous school books ever taught in the United States, Lord of the Flies (6), appears to be about children and young people (5). Clearly, however, it is not “just a book about kids on an island”.  Golding’s book was ranked by Time Magazine as one of the 100 best English language books published since 1923 (and was also ranked by the American Library Association as one of the most “challenged” books between 1990-2000.)

Challenge: Using these 2 random items, connect them in “6 steps”:

  • the epic poem, Beowulf
  • the star, Hannah Montana

Length: Varies


25 responses to “W8, #2: 6 DEGREES OF SEPARATION

  1. Step 1: “Beowulf“(1) is an epic poem that was told orally from generation to generation before it was written down. Monks were the only ones who were educated enough to read and write, so it is most likely that “Beowulf” was written down by a monk of some sort. When it finally was recorded onto paper, the first author took liberties with the story in order to warp the story of “Beowulf” for his own purposes, namely, the conversion of pagans to Christianity.

    Step 2: How the author of “Beowulf” (1) was able to warp the story for his own needs reminds me of screenwriters(2). Screenwriters must be able to write an interesting story that will capture a producer’s attention enough to have the movie produced. Screenwriters use old stories, nursery tales, and other well-known classics and turn them into something that can be converted to the big screen.

    Step 3: Screenwriters (2) mainly work in Hollywood (3) the American center of moviemaking. Hollywood is located in Los Angeles California and can be recognized by the infamous white letters that spell out Holly wood in the Hollywood Hills. Hollywood is classically recognized as the center of the movie producing, directing, and acting industry.

    Step 4: How could you produce movies in Hollywood(3) without the actors (4)? You can’t. Without actors, there isn’t a movie, and there isn’t a Hollywood. Famous American actors are recognized as celebrities by the entire world. Actors such as Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, and Keira Knightley have won international renown for their skill in acting and for the roles they have played in major film productions.

    Step 5: An up and coming actor(4), Miley Cyrus(5), has played a few roles in television productions. She has also become a singer and has been idolized by twelve year old girls everywhere. She also has fans whose ages range anywhere from 3 to 40. Miley Cyrus has become a sensation in the world of celebrities, some say she may even be the new Britney Spears, even though “Britney is back” apparently.

    Step 6: Miley Cyrus(5) is almost better known for her ‘alter-ego’, Hannah Montana(6). “Hannah Montana” is the title of an extremely successful TV Disney series. Consequently the lead character of the show is named Hannah Montana. Now, I’m not very up to date on my “Hannah Montana” lore, but I can tell you that a large variety of people watch the show. My 8 year old cousin watches it…and some of the girls in our grade have “Hannah Montana” folders. Many young actors have hit their ‘big break’ by being in this show and it just might be the “Pokémon” of the new generation.


    Mr. Long: As much as I appreciate your creativity in making these moves, I most appreciate how you take time to ‘tell the story’. Each segment is intriguing in its own right, especially the little diversions (like the “white letters” of the Hollywood sign) that seem to offer additional connections in other directions.

  2. Wow it took forever to figure this out. (***Mr. Long: smile***)

    Step one: The epic poem, “Beowulf,”(1) is about a man (or boy rather) who travels to the kingdom of Herot to defeat the ‘monster,’ Grendel. With each battle that Beowulf fights he becomes a better and wiser person, warrior, and king. The only existing manuscript of “Beowulf” was written in the eleventh century.

    Step two: The manuscript(1) of “Beowulf” would have been written by a monk in a scriptorium.(2) A scriptorium is a room in medieval European monasteries where monastic scribes carefully copied texts.

    Step 3: The only reason I know anything about scriptoria(2) is that I took Honors World History I (3) freshman year. We learned up until the Middle Ages, where art was bad and people were dirty. Of course the art dramatically improved in the Italian Renaissance (as opposed to the Northern Renaissance, where art was hardly better at all. The exception there was Rembrandt, who was famous for his realism and use of shading and light. A painting of his that really illustrates this is “Night Watch” because of how the group comes alive and it’s not just static.)

    Step 4: The wonderful teacher of Honors History I (3) is Mrs. B.(4). She has recently spawned (yes?) a child named Rigley Joseph, who is well on his way to being five pounds. (Trivia… Mrs. B.’s favorite sculpture is “Pieta.” I know that because she mentioned it once in class, not because I’m creepy. But I thought it’d be nice if someone remembered, so don’t judge. Is there a limit to what you can put in parentheses before you have to go back to what you were saying?) Mrs. B. also enjoys running a little too much. 🙂

    Step 5: Another teacher besides Mrs. B.(4) who enjoys running is Mr. Long(5). I don’t know much about Mr. Long besides that he used to be CEO of DesignShare and used to coach girls’ soccer (I think). Oh and I know you like photography because it’s evident from the pictures in your room and you were reading a book about it once. (Wow my memory is like a razor.)

    Step 6: In the back of Mr. Long’s(5) room there is a bulletin board. On that bulletin board is some chapstick still in the package. Upon further examination, one would find that this chapstick is decorated with the face of the hip pop star, Hannah Montana.

    Epic pro.


    Mr. Long: Epic pro, indeed! I’m flattered to be woven into your story (of course — no, there is no limit to the quantity of writing added inside parenthesis as long as the reader can keep track), but even more engaged by how creative your solutions and ‘tangents’ were. Loved the idea of where the monks wrote, BTW. Nice to learn something new! And man, I have to laugh at the H.M. chapstick. Great memory, my friend. Even I had temporarily forgotten that I had placed it there, bu clearly I had a devious plan in mind this summer when I made the original choice. BTW, yes, I did coach girls soccer (JV soccer at an all-girls school in Baltimore, actually; about a year before we moved to Texas. Oh, and you’re correct on the photography and the previous professional position — nice job on the research).

  3. (1)Beowulf the epic poem was rewritten and made into the new movie (2) Beowulf.

    (2)Beowulf, the movie, has (3)Ray Winstone star as Beowulf/ The Golden Man/ Dragon.

    (3)Ray Winstone is also in (4) Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

    (4)Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has the young (and terrible in Mr. Long’s opinion) actor (5)Shia LaBoeuf, who was in a show on Disney Channel, where (6)Hannah Montana stars in her self-titled show.


    Mr. Long: Technically, you have ‘accomplished’ the goal, but I suspect that much, much more could be said (given the previous student examples and the one in the actual prompt, too). Step 2 is a bit convenient (although accurate).

    I’m wondering how you could expand on these — ‘slightly’ – and what impact that would have on your readers (especially given your individual writing abilities that this doesn’t even hint at yet. Able to offer an expanded version showcasing your abilities or are you going to throw in the ‘just barely developed’ option instead? (he smiles).

  4. 1) Beowulf was referenced in one of the many witty dialogues that take place in the TV show, Gilmore Girls. The daughter, Rory, had recommended Beowulf to the mother, who began to read it, and then oddly, gave up.
    2) The theme song for Gilmore Girls is “Where You Lead,” which is sung by Carole King and her daughter. Carole King also has made a few guest-star appearances on Gilmore Girls as the music store owner, Sophie.
    3) The famous rock band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers did a cover in 1986 of “Don’t Bring Me Down,” which was a hit written by Carole King. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are lucky enough to possess a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles.
    4) Another famous musician to possess a coveted star in LA is Johnny Cash. His star resides in Hollywood Blvd.
    5) Johnny Cash was one of the biggest influences on the boy band and teen heart-throbs, the Jonas Brothers. In an interview with AOL music in August, the brothers said, “our greatest influences are Johnny Cash, Prince, and Switchfoot…”
    6) Nick Jonas, a member of the Jonas Brothers, dated Miley Cyrus, aka Hannah Montana for two years. As they say, when you date a girl (Miley Cyrus), you are in a relationship with her entire family and/or alter egos (Hannah Montana).

    Mr. Long: While the Jo-Bros connection is a bit predictable, I must take my early 70’s woman songwriter hat off to you for adding Carole King, one of the great voices known to mankind. If one doesn’t own “Tapestry”, one doesn’t deserve to listen to music. And as for Johny Cash? Well, there are few musical gods that can rival this mad man of soul and country.

  5. Step 1. Beowulf (1) is the oldest surviving epic in British literature. Most scholars say that the poem was composed in the 8th century, and transcribed by a literate monk in the 11th century. There is considerable argument about the dates, it seems. At any rate, it exists in only one manuscript, and the surviving copy, bearing scars of fire, is now kept in the British Library, London. (2)

    Step 2. In addition to the Beowulf (1) manuscript, the British Library in London, (2) one of world’s finest research libraries, holds over 150 million items in all known languages and formats. (A field trip to that library would be something!) It is the national library of the United Kingdom, which was formerly known as the British Empire and ruled thirteen colonies (3) along the eastern coast of North America.

    Step 3. The thirteen American colonies (3) declared on July 4th, 1776, that they were no longer a part of the British Empire. Their delineation was written by Thomas Jefferson and called United States Declaration of Independence. (4) The Congress approved the wording of the Declaration by Jefferson, who used two themes from John Locke, a British philosopher: individual rights and the right to rebel against an oppressive and unjust government.

    Step 4. The Congress published the Declaration (4) and most of the Congressional delegates signed it by August 2, 1776. The engrossed copy is kept in the Library of Congress in Washington, DC., United States of America. (5)

    Step 5. Washington, D.C. is the capital city of United States of America. (5) In America, a lot of people watch cable television. The cable television stations, such as the Disney Channel produces original series to cater to the entertainment of teenagers. Most are filmed at studios in Hollywood, California. In 2006, Disney Channel featured a sitcom series called, “Hanna Montana.” (6)

    Step 6. “Hannah Montana” (6) is an Emmy Award-nominated American (5) television series. It focuses on a girl who lives a double life as a regular school girl named Miley Stewart and a famous pop singer named Hannah Montana by night.


    Mr. Long: While the leap to “Hannah Montana” was a bit ‘convenient’ (based only on TV shows in general), I love that you managed to add John Locke (hello, Mrs. B — did you catch that?!) and spent time in the British Library on this path. Well done.

  6. (1) Beowulf the epic poem was made into (2) Beowulf, a movie. This movie is animated and was released into IMAX theaters as well as regular theaters. It also received several different award nominations including the Critic’s Choice award.

    (2) Beowulf the movie has (3) Angelina Jolie playing Grendel’s mother, for which she was nominated for the MTV Movie Award of Best Villain.

    (3) Angelina Jolie was in the video for (4) Meatloaf’s song Rock ‘n’ Roll Dreams Come True. Meatloaf has also had a career as an actor, and in most of these acting endeavors he was credited as Meatloaf Aday, even though his real name is Marvin Lee Aday. Meatloaf was born in Dallas and is color blind, and is concussion prone.

    (4) Meatloaf was on (5) American Idol, season 5 for the finale when he and Katherine McPhee sang a duet. American Idol has been a huge influence on many people throughout the country, and even in other countries that have their own versions of the show.

    (5) American Idol decided to have the Idol Gives Back special where they recruit many already famous celebrities along with the contestants from that season. People can call in to donate, and all votes for contestants raise money for the chosen cause. This year some of the celebrities who were on the Idol Gives Back special were Carrie Underwood, Bono, Dane Cook, and Miley Cyrus who plays (6) Hannah Montana and the ever popular Disney show Hannah Montana. Hannah Montana is the best thing since sliced bread according to many preteens and teens throughout the country.


    Mr. Long: Still smirking at the addition of Meatloaf’s real name. You get a rousing 1970’s rock star cheer from me on that one alone. Let’s all raise our guitars to Marvin!

  7. Step One:
    Beowulf is the ancient story of an epic hero who defeated monsters, achieved gold and treasure, and evolved personally along the way. As old and well-known as it is, I actually hadn’t even heard of it until last year when a friend used it for a project in Mrs. K’s class and told me about the graphic scene with Grendel’s snapping sinews.

    Step Two:
    That same friend never really got along well with another of my friends, who goes to a different school. They’re very different: one is into swords and action and snapping sinews, and the other is more into flowers and fairies and sewing. The two of them came to my birthday party when I was in sixth grade. During the party, each of them came to me privately and informed me that the other was ruining the party for her.

    Step Three:
    For one of birthday presents at that party, the fairy-girl gave me was a little box of gum. The pieces in there were a dark blue-black. I never chewed any of it because I was afraid it would make my mouth and lips and teeth all inky black. I still have the box, in fact, unopened, somewhere in my room.

    Step Four:
    I once saw an episode of a TV show in which a girl chewed some of that nasty gum on purpose, and her mouth really did get all black. She was doing it to make a friend stop crushing on her. (To my ultimate shock, it didn’t work.)

    Step Five:
    That episode was the very first in Hannah Montana’s TV show, in which Hannah Montanna is the star.

    (Hee hee, I hope you didn’t mean “trivia” as a fact you’d find in a book.)


    Mr. Long: Something about this part of your response made me smile in a nostalgic sense: “During the party, each of them came to me privately and informed me that the other was ruining the party for her.” Such a lovely ‘human’/life detail. And I love that you still have the same box of gum, especially since it turned your mouth funky colors which kept you from chewing all of it.

    To your last (parenthetical) comment, no worries. Why? Well, because you really took the time to craft an interesting story. Anyone who shows that sort of creativity deserves to kick a few rules in the kneecaps, no?

  8. Student #4 (taking Mr. Long to task)

    Hey, Mr. Long,

    Firstly, I really appreciate you responding to the blogs again this week, sometimes they are the only reason I get out of bed during the weekend. My bed is one of my favorite things in the world

    Anyway, I have to respectfully disagree with your response to my “6 degrees of separation” post. You said “the Jonas brothers connection is a bit predictable.”

    I think that the way Hollywood is today, everything is predictable and inter-mixed and it makes things difficult to be creative and inventive. All the stars inbreed with their fellow stars and are today’s version of the Habsburg and Romanov families.

    Therefore, my connection between the Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana was not a lack of ingenuity on my part but rather a perfect reflection on Hollywood today.


    Mr. Long: A strategic teacher-type would consider his earlier challenge (and your timely response) to be well worth the effort merely to see this alone: “All the stars inbreed with their fellow stars and are today’s version of the Habsburg and Romanov families.”

    While I still stand by my initial reaction that the Jo-Bros-to-Han-Mon connection is a fairly predictable link (given how intimately tied they have been since the beginning of both of their careers), I am proud to see a well-grounded reaction come my way afterwards. Plus, you have to admit that just about anyone with access to People Magazine could have landed on that connection. Hardly anywone, however, would have made the Russian Czar statement…so let’s call it a draw and enjoy our weekend. (smile)

    As for teacher feedback being the gravitational pull that challenges the majesty of your sleeping option, I can only say with humble pride, “I am honored.” Whenever I have time, I love interacting with all of the student replies. Sadly, the last 2+ weeks have been tough. Hopefully more free time comes my way in the coming weeks as the 2nd Q arrives.

  9. Step 1
    Beowulf is Ancient England’s archetype hero. Just like this epic protagonist, we all must, sooner or later, battle our own monsters. We struggle with these demons covertly and overtly. We “ordinary heroes” will never be challenged to slay Grendel or do battle with a dragon. We will, however, face obstacles that seem overwhelming. We will conquer the impediments placed in our way. We, too, will be victorious. However, in our victories, just like Beowulf, our flaws and ulterior motives will be exposed (1).

    Step 2
    Gary Kasparov, the Russian Grand Master and the best chess player in the world, exposed (1) the fallacy that a computer could out think a human. In 1989, Kasparov vanquished his computerized opponent, Deep Thought, taking 2 out of 2 games. In 1996, Kasparov further propelled his hero status when he defeated Deep Blue. The six-game match between Kasparov and Deep Blue began on February 10, 1996, in Philadelphia. Although Deep Blue was capable of evaluating 100 million different chess positions per second, Kasparov won the match by winning 4 out of 6 games. Deep Thought and Deep Blue were both developed by a Chinese (2) doctoral student. Feng Hsiung Hsu, who was employed by IBM, had an interest in martial arts.

    Step 3
    Wing Chun Kung Fu is a Chinese (2) combat martial art. Wing Chun Kung Fu is the most efficient way for one person to control their physical environment. Although Wing Chun is an ancient art, it’s techniques are based on modern day anatomy and physiology including efficiency of movement and conservation of energy. Combat moves rely on balance and remaining “rooted”. It is based on physics concepts, not memorized skills. Thus, the advantage of greater muscular size, strength, and height does not necessarily prove to be advantageous. Wing Chun is referred to as the “thinking mans” martial art. It combines physical tactics and mental strategy. Perhaps if the current Administration had more strategic economic (3) advisors, our country would be in a more favorable economic position.

    Step 4
    The recent two week downturn in the Dow Jones has many world leaders, politicians and stock holders panicked. The American market has lost approximately 2.4 trillion dollars. Much of what has been lost is closely tied with personal pension plans that middle class people currently have their financial future tied to. Many senior citizens currently rely on their retirement funds to subsidize their lifestyle. The collapse of Wall Street has turned into an economic (3) nightmare. The spirit and heart (4) of many working class Americas are angered that this economic catastrophe was not addressed earlier.

    Step 5
    One person who is probably not overly concerned about the current Wall Street collapse is Billy Ray Cyrus. Billy Ray is best known for his country western hit, “Ackey Breaky Heart “(4). Born in Kentucky, he owns a 200 acre ranch in Tennessee (5) and currently resides in Los Angeles County. He won a Country Music Association Award for this song in 1992 and a Grammy in 1993. Cyrus, a multi-platinum selling musician has eight Top Ten singles to his credit. To date, he has released 29 singles, of which 15 have found their way to the Top Twenty.

    Step 6
    Cyrus’ daughter is the star of a popular television show that mainly appeals to preteen girls. The show first aired in 2006. The first show introduced the main character and her family as they relocated from Tennessee(5) to Malibu, California. Hannah Montana (6), played by Miley Cyrus, is the lead character. She is an ordinary teenager by day and pop singing star by night.


    Mr. Long: If I could brag about a student’s ability to both answer this challenge and truly raise the bar, this is what I’d talk about. In a heartbeat!

    Love that you managed to combine Big Blue, the recent downturn of the Dow, and the way you introduced Miley’s father (as someone not too worried) — too funny, too creative! And outstanding ‘stories’ along the way!!!

  10. 1. Beowulf is the story of a hero fighting evil. He fights for glory, and later on for his people. This poem was written by possibly a monk, who put the christian references in the story. Bewoulf’s journey to attain glory was part of the culture at the time.

    2. People who study the people of the past and their cultures are archeoligists. They uncover evidence about such civilizations. Part of this evidence is sometimes bones.

    3. Orthopedics are bone doctors. Before becoming a fully licensed doctor, they must study the human body. Their study of the bones and the body itself can be classified under the science of life, or biology.

    4. Last year, in freshman year, Mrs. B. our biology teacher, taught us about the bones in our body. To teach us, she showed us a clip of Hannah Montana singing the bones in our body(which was very strange).

    5. Hannah Montana is a Disney Channel star. Her self- titled show is a hit. Some really strange people would pay 200 to 2500 dollars for concert tickets to her concert.


    Mr. Long: Technically, 5 steps, right?

    BTW, brilliant and most unexpected video clip of Montana singing about bone, mmm? Too good of a detail to pass up! Oh, and I love how you added archeologists (re: culture study); clever.

  11. Step 1-Beowulf is a poem written by monks that has been told orally from generation to generation. It was eventually made into a movie in 2007.

    Step 2-Anthony Hopkins starred in Beowulf as the voice for King Hrothgar. Hopkins is the only son of a baker and was born and raised in Welsh, England.

    Step 3-I’m a big fan of soccer, especially european soccer. England’s probably one of the best soccer countries in the world. I was never really into soccer until I saw a game on TV 3-4 years ago. After that I was hooked for life.

    Step 4-I was flipping through the channels yesterday trying to see if a soccer game was on and I stumbled upon a teenage sitcom that was on the Disney Channel. Just then my friend texted me and asked what I was doing. I told him that I was watching some lame show on the Disney Channel. Then my friend asked me if the show I was watching was Hannah Montana. I honestly didn’t even know who that was until my friend asked me that day.

    Step 5-So I started doing some research on the Internet because I got curious and found out that Hannah Montana was another one of those typical, cheesy sitcoms that most teenage girls go crazy over.

    Step 6-Hannah Montana is actually a big hit on the Disney Channel, to my surprise, and Miles Cyrus, the actress/singer who plays Hannah Montana, holds concerts that get sold out as soon as tickets are available. Miles Cyrus in real life is a professional singer/actress whose career success and popularity skyrocketed once Hannah Montana aired on TV.


    Mr. Long: I don’t know if I’m proud or embarrassed to be somewhat responsible for your new-found awareness of Hannah Montana. Crazy timing that the phone call came yesterday, mmm?

    Oh, and thanks for letting me know that it was Hopkins who played the King. Nice trivia detail for me to put in my back pocket.

  12. Step 1:
    We recently read Beowulf(1) in class. Beowulf is a poem told throughout history, being tweaked every once and awhile. Beowulf sometimes contradicts itself with its biblical and pagan comments. The story has the ‘hero’ steps many stories and movies have.

    Step 2:
    I brought Beowulf(1) the story home and sat it on my desk(2). My desk is brown and very cluttered. It has many pictures of my friends and I. It’s drawers are filled with cards, magazines, and writing utensils.

    Step 3:
    My desk(2) holds some Spanish note cards(3) that have vocabulary on them. These vocab words are from our most recent test. They include painting words and other ‘art’ type things. There are almost 30 of them. They are multi colored.

    Step 4:
    My Spanish note cards(3) went to school(4) with me. The school is very big, it has many classrooms and many students. There are multiple teachers and administrative. There are many students doing history, Spanish, French, Chinese, math, English, science and other homework.

    Step 5:
    At school(4) I meet up with my friend(5). Her name is S.. We have been friends since pk 4 when L. and I would make her decide who she would play with. (: S. is so funny, and a great person to be around.

    Step 6:
    S. (5) was suppose to go to the Hannah Montana concert last year but instead she went to the awards banquet.


    Mr. Long: While quirky, I love the “desk” move in step 2. Unexpected in a good way. Guessing it was a heart-breaker for S. to choose the ceremony over the concert; hopefully she’s recovered by now!

  13. Beowulf(1) not only tells the story of a soldier with an incredibly large ego, but also of a ‘monster'(2) that is unjustly punished for a crime that his ancestor committed. Grendel has been banished from the lives of men because his ancestor, Cain, killed his brother, Abel.

    Penelope is a ‘monster'(2) who has been forever cursed with pig nose because of her great great great great grandfather. Her pig nose will only go away when she finds “one who will love her faithfully.” This movie is simply called Penelope and the star role is played by Christina Ricci. This movie also stars James McAvoy(3) as her ‘prince charming’.

    James McAvoy(3) was the roommate of Jesse Spencer when they were living in London. Jesse plays Dr. Robert Chase on the popular television show, House M.D. This Australian actor is rumored to be playing the role of Jim in The Storyteller(4).

    Katherine McPhee is also a cast member of The Storyteller(4) and she plays Tina. Katherine McPhee got her jump start into Hollywood on the reality TV show, American Idol. Katherine played the role of Harmony in The House Bunny which also starred the cheetah girl(5), Kiely Williams as the shy British sorority girl, Lily.

    The Cheetah Girls(5) started out as merely a movie on Disney Channel(6) before they became the world renown singing trio. Now the Cheetah Girls are traveling in world tours as famous pop stars.

    Hannah Montana is a TV show on Disney Channel(6). This Show stars the actress Miley Cyrus as a teenager who is also a pop star.


    Mr. Long: Classic approach by staying inside a variety of shows/stories by using the actors (etc) to make the links. I love “House, MD”, BTW, so that made me smile in particular. And excellent jump from 1 to 2 with the ‘monster’ concept. Glad you went beyond Beowulf himself.

  14. 1) As I sit here, reading the posted comments above, I overhear my brother discussing with my dad about Beowulf for his upcoming western civ. class, which I find so COOL!

    2)He is discussing the Germanic culture (from all over Europe, not just solely Germany) and its influences on Beowulf.

    3)Jonathan is now talking about the Carolingian Dynasty, which allows me to reminisce on my freshman year of Honors World History I. I loved that class, especially because my family has traveled a lot, so I learned more about the places that I had actually visited.

    4)We traveled to England, and Scotland the summer before my 7th grade year, (and my very first year at “O”.) We visited so many castles and famous locations that allowed me to make SO many memories with my family.

    5) This past summer, I went with the Texas Baptist All-State Choir and Band group to Germany, and my family met me over there. We performed in beautiful churches. (Along with the church that Martin Luther posted the 95 thesis. It was AMAZING!) We attended the Baptist World Alliance Youth Conference, which had over 6,300 people attending from around the world. Several were German (you can guess this, because it was held in Germany.) We had a great opportunity to have ‘family groups’ with about 15 people from around the world in each. I loved getting to know about people’s culture, and hearing about the differences from their society compared to ours.

    6) We had a chance to talk about different movies and tv shows. I asked them if they had a German version of Mary Poppins. It turns out they do, and they translated “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” into German. Its just a little different, but it is really amazing to think about. I also wandered if they knew about the up-and-coming/already famous idol, Hanna Montana. Some had heard of her, but others had no clue. I found this very interesting, considering, it is very hard to live in America without hearing something about Miley Cyrus aka Hanna Montana.


    Mr. Long: Yes, very cool that the book was being discussed at home and that a convo about Marry Poppins would illicit such a connection at the end.

  15. Step 1
    Beowulf(1) is the first great piece of English literature. It is read and analyzed in thousands of classrooms across America. It has also been examined and interpreted by dozens of literary experts and critics. One such analysis by Stanley B. Greenfield(2) postulates that references to the human body through out Beowulf(1) show the worth and status of the various vassals to their lords.

    Step 2
    Stanley B. Greenfield(2) was Professor of English at Oregon University(3) from 1959 to 1986. Stanley Greenfield worked side by side with his wife, Thelma, who was also an English professor and Head of the English Department.

    Step 3
    Oregon University is the second largest university in Oregon. It was founded in 1876 with one building, later named Deady Hall in 1893 for Judge Matthew Deady. The University of Oregon is a member of the 60 schools in the Association of American Universities. It was ranked 108th out of national universities in 2007. The University of Oregon(3) has a highly acclaimed College of Education, ranked 5th overall and 2nd among public universities with the 2008 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Graduate Schools.” Georgetown College(4) is a small, liberal arts college which offers a variety of undergraduate degrees and a Master of Arts in Education.

    Step 4
    Georgetown College was founded in 1829, making it the first Baptist college founded west of the Allegheny Mountains. Despite a rocky start, the college remains a vibrant, still Baptist affiliated private school. Georgetown College resides in the small community of Georgetown, Kentucky, which had a population of 18,080 as of the 2000 census. Billy Ray Cyrus(5) attended Georgetown College(4), first for baseball, then switching to focus on music.

    Step 5
    Billy Ray Cyrus is a Grammy-winning country musician and actor. He was born William Ray Cyrus in Flatwoods, Kentucky on August 5, 1961. Billy Ray made his break with his 1992 hit “Achy Breaky Heart.” Billy Ray Cyrus(5) has made 37 singles, had 3 number 1 singles, and has had 1 “Weird Al” parody made after him. Together this makes 41(6) his key stat…

    Step 6
    As of October 11, 2008 41(6) million people have viewed Miley Cyrus a.k.a. Hannah Montana’s myspace profile.


    Mr. Long: While there are many that I like, I am quite fond of this one…and if forced to, would say that it’s in my top-3 so far. Remarkably creative way to solve the puzzle. Clearly — I’m guessing — you figured out the Wikipedia trick? (smile)

  16. 1) Beowulf is slaughtering invaders in the land of the Geats when he sees a glowing object appear in front of him. Startled he accidentally touches the magical glowing object and is suddenly sucked into a time warp that transports him to 2007, at a gas station.

    2) Beowulf is very suprised and politely asks some passerby if he might know the way to the local mead hall and if he has seen a glowing object. The passerby, thinking the man a bum, tells him to go away, and if he wants any money then here is 5 dollars.

    3) Beowulf, thinking that the 5 dollar bill a map, tries to locate a mead hall by the weird scribbles on the back. The scribbles read “Los Angeles, 8:00 PM, at the Mets Stadium.” Beowulf asks another passerby if he might know the way to this mead hall “Los Angeles”. The passerby was a Cab driver and said that he could take Beowulf their for exactly 5 dollars.

    4) Beowulf was taken to the Airport by the Cabby, who took his 5 dollars, and looked at the odd screens on the wall. He say the same odd scribbles at the beginning of the screen and saw the letters A2. he located the gate, and somehow managed to get on board (you would think that the security at airports would be better).

    5) when he got to Los Angeles, he asked around to see if he could find the Met’s Stadium. He soon found the location and traveled their by foot. All this while he was contemplating that it must really be a great mead hall, or else all those people wouldn’t have had him travel so far. Beowulf then decided to wait until 8:00 so that he could see if the king of this grand mead hall had an announcement to make.

    6) When 8:00 came around Beowulf, amazingly not thrown out by now by security, (the security is really lax in this country) was wondering why their where so many people here, especially girls that should have been at home minding their 4-5 children or cleaning the hut. Suddenly everything went dark. Beowulf panicked and in his confusion got up on stage. Hannah Montana, who was supposed to play that night, bumped into him trying to get into position and yelled really loud “Who the —— is on my stage?!” she then attempted to push Beowulf off the stage but just then the magical light appeared agian and sent Beowulf back to his time.


    Mr. Long: This is a perfect example of what happens when a student manages to creatively ‘break’ the rules while remaining true to them in spirit. Nice job.

    Once it’s done once, however, it’d be disappointing to see too many people try to ‘copy’ the concept. You’ve broken the mold…and done it very well in the process! Next time, however, try to pull it off while actually using real facts!

    That being said, I do love that you gave Beowulf a peek at our world. So clever!

  17. 1) Beowulf is the name of a character from an Old English tale that was passed around by word of mouth and finally written down by someone (monks, in this case). Similarily, the Iliad was a story passed down through generations before finally being written down (by Homer).

    2) The Iliad is the story of the Trojan war, fought in the 13th century B.C.E. It tells how the Trojans fought the Greeks over the beautiful Helen. Helen had been kidnapped (perhaps willingly) from her home in Sparta, and was the daughter of a god and a human. Her father, the god, was none other than Zeus.

    3) Zeus was king of the gods. He dominated Greek culture and religion. He was promiscuous and enjoyed using magic to change his shape. The religion he headed was later called ‘pagan’ by Christians, who disliked the idea of magic. Christianity was founded by Jesus Christ, a Nazarean, and furthered by the efforts of Peter, the first pope. This occured in the Mediterranean.

    4) Christianity soon spread everywhere, including Europe. It was fought over and hated and adopted by many. It also underwent many changes. One person who changed it immensley was King Henry VIII of England. Henry created Anglicanism to divorce his wife, Katharine of Aragon, and thus marry Anne Boleyn.

    5) Henry’s generation was furthered by his sister’s children, who took the throne as the Stuarts. When they died off, George of Hanover took the throne. He was German and didn’t even speak English. He had a son, who had a son, who had a son. This last son became George III of England. George, it was rumored, secretly married a woman named Hannah Lightfoot, who was a Quaker and unfit to marry him, according to his mom. Though this marriage may be a myth, Hannah Lightfoot was, perhaps, the wife of a king, but never acknowledged as such.

    6) Hannah is a common name, derived from a Hebrew word meaning “he favors me” (ie, with a child). A famous person with the name Hannah is Hannah Montana, a star on Disney Channel. The world is hoping that Hannah won’t live up to her name just yet (hopefully, she’ll get married before she has any children!). We don’t want her to end up consumed by the celebrity-crazed people in Hollywood and thus making bad choices.


    Mr. Long: You clearly — no hesitation here! — get the award for delightfully delaying the obvious connection until the last moment. I actually had NO idea how you were going to get there at the 4th turn, but I was very intrigued to find out! Thanks for defining “Hannah”, by the way. Great bit of trivia.

  18. The story of Beowulf makes me think of Scandinavia which is predictable because it is the setting of the story. Scandinavia is associated with Vikings, blondes and I associate it with the music (2) that comes from these northern countries.

    Thinking of associating music with the story of Beowulf makes me think of the blog entry you posted a while back. The purpose was to find music to make a ‘sound track’ for Beowulf. While most students who answered this chose songs that actually went along with the text I’m sure there were some who simply took the opportunity to suggest their favorite songs to you. (3) Nothing is wrong with this, I suppose, but it just brings me to my next point.

    Scandinavian music happens to be some of my favorite. This said it is interesting to think of all the different types of music people classify as their favorites: pop, rock, country, etc. (4) I personally despise ‘pop’ music, but others seem to really enjoy this music and idolize those who perform it by attending concerts, screaming and holding marriage proposal signs. (5)

    Thinking of idolized pop stars obviously forces my mind to think about the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus. Miley is an up and coming pop star that is worshiped by preteens around our nation. She has just recently been recognized as Miley Cyrus, she was previously worshiped under the name of Hannah Montana. (I don’t know why she needed an alias, perhaps she committed some sort of crime and didn’t have a clear name for a while?!? And also why does she do concerts as herself and Hannah Montana, seriously everyone knows that it’s the same girl under the wig!) (6)


    Mr. Long: Why did I think — at #2 — that you were going to mention ABBA?

    BTW, we’ll be doing more soundtrack entries in the future. Thanks for reminding me…as well as for pointing out that some just ‘filled in’ the answers without really tying to the story very closely. (wink)

  19. Step 1: Beowulf (1) is a poem about a warrior who travels to the land of the Danes in order to protect the people of Herot. He gradually evolves into a hero as the story progresses. The poem is said to have been composed by a poet or a monk near the twelfth century. Beowulf was recorded in the Wessex dialect. Beowulf is the oldest surviving epic poem in British literature and the first English literary masterpiece. This poem only exists in one manuscript, and is said to have survived a disastrous fire that destroyed the library of Sir Robert Bruce Cotton, where Beowulf used to be kept. The manuscript has visible scars from the fire, especially in the upper left hand corner.

    Step 2: The old epic of Beowulf (1) is now kept in the British Library (2) in London, England. This library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world’s greatest libraries. This establishment carries over 150 million items and receives about 3 million new items each year. This library’s collection includes manuscripts, maps, newspapers, magazines, prints and much more. If you see 5 items each day, it would take you over 80,000 years to see the whole of the collection!

    Step 3: One of the collections the British Library (2) carries is Jane Austen’s (3) early work: The History of England in her own hand. Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775 at Steventon, Hampshire, England. In 1785, Jane was sent to the Abbey boarding school where she was to receive an education. She started writing at an early age, and her family supported her all the way. She later wrote numerous influential works including Pride and Prejudice.

    Step 4: Jane Austen (3) was a very prominent author and in 2007, a biography/ drama called Becoming Jane was produced about her life. Becoming Jane was nominated for 5 awards, such as the People’s Choice Awards in 2008 and the British Independent Film Awards in 2007, and won two. The movie starred Anne Hathaway (4) as Jane Austen. Hathaway was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress at the British Independent Film Awards, but did not win.

    Step 5: Anne Hathaway’s (4) acting career began in 1999, when she played Meghan Green in the TV series “Get Real.” She was 17 at that time, and had no previous acting experience. Since then, she has been in various films and TV shows such as Saturday Night Live, which she recently hosted. Most of her films have been Disney (5) movies, which include The Princess Diaries, The Princess Diaries 2, Ella Enchanted, and Hoodwinked!

    Step 6: The name Disney (5) has been a well- known name in family entertainment for over 8 decades. Over the years, there have been numerous hit Disney films and TV shows. They have their own channel where they air a very popular show called Hannah Montana (6). This show has been a sensation with young girls, preteens, and even teenagers. It stars Miley Cyrus as Hanna Montana who leads a double life as a pop star and a normal girl who lives in Malibu with her father and older brother.


    Mr. Long: Ah, yes, the fire. Great detail to add up front! And I love the idea of the 5 items/day and how big the collection is. And I’m surprised it took one of you this long to mention Jane Austen in class. Mmm. Guess we have a few literary nuts out there (in a good, good way!).

  20. Step #1: “Beowulf” (1) is an epic of tale of a hero that defied all odds. He sailed to meet King Hrothgar and volunteered to defeat the monster that had been tormenting the city. Beowulf had an intense battle first with the monster Grendel, and then with Grendel’s mother. Finally, Beowulf faced a great dragon which ultimately cost him his life. “Beowulf” had all the classic components of an epic poem and was followed by many more of its kind.

    Step #2: The story of Beowulf (1) is similar in many ways to the story of Odysseus (2). Odysseus was lost at sea for many years and was stranded far from his home and family. He had to fight a plethora of vile creatures before he was at last rewarded and returned to his old life. I remember reading this story in 8th grade Honors English and I recall thinking after a while that Homer should have just let poor Odysseus catch a break.

    Step #3: In the story of Odysseus (2), monsters are constantly present. Odysseus is always being lured into some kind of trap and having to battle some horrible creature. The talk of monsters got me thinking about Halloween (3). Although this is generally a fun holiday full of cute kids and cavities, it is also filled with ghosts, ghouls, and fright.

    Step #4: When thinking about Halloween (3), I obviously thought about the month of October (4). We are currently in the middle of October and I’m pretty excited for Halloween. Sadly I haven’t come up with a phenomenal costume idea yet =[.

    Step #5: There is yet another entertaining fact about October (4). This has more to do with TV and entertainment however. What is happening you ask? Well High School Musical 3 (5) comes out of course! On October 24th to be exact.

    Step #6: Using High School Musical 3 (5), I made my sixth and final connection. The first HSM movie premiered on the one and only Disney Channel, which I am convinced will probably take over the world. Anyway, also showing on the Disney Channel is a hit show about a girl who is leading a double life. By day she’s a normal highschooler and by night she’s a pop sensation. Who is she? Hannah Montana!!!!!! (6)


    Mr. Long: Still laughing at this (in a good way): “I remember reading this story in 8th grade Honors English and I recall thinking after a while that Homer should have just let poor Odysseus catch a break.”

    And if you think of a great costume for my son, Beckett, please let us know. We’re about ready to send him out with a sheet over his head and call him Casper.

  21. Step 1: Beowulf is the story of a hero who is faced with many trails including a dragon and a monster Grendel. Though Beowulf defeats many monsters physically he also battles with his pride internally. Due to his great ability he has pride in himself and his accomplishments, but sometimes his egotistical nature leads him astray.

    Step 2: The pride of Beowulf is comparable to the pride of a celebrity who is continuously in the spotlight and considered a hero due to their works. Though Beowulf was technically much more heroic because he was saving lives from monsters many celebrities use their earnings to assist charities and in essence save lives.

    Step 3: Being a celebrity usually is associated with being an actor though celebrities can be any public figure. If and actor is very talented or very attractive then it is very easy for them to receive celebrity status especially if they embrace the paparazzi and the tabloids. Some actors, however are more interested in their craft and don’t fall into this celebrity zone of recognition.

    Step 4: Actors can perform their craft on the stage, through films, or on television which relates to television series. These series can be serious, comedic or centered towards a certain audience depending on the tv channel they are aired on.

    Step 5: Channels like Disney have an audience of children and young teens and therefore have to air shows that have good messages but also a cool story line. This can lead to actors that sing and dance as well as play their roles.

    Step 6: Hanna Montana is a show which has a lead actress that sings and dances on Disney. This plot line is cool and has good messages and lessons in all episodes. Hanna has a celebrity status and like Beowulf her pride sometimes controls her actions.


    Mr. Long: You seemed to cleverly walk a tight rope here between real facts and a creative spin.

  22. Step 1: When I think of Beowulf and his time I think of the Pagan roots of his story.

    Step 2: Pagan religion is derived from the Northern areas of Europe, Scandinavia and its people who believed in it. These people were the Vikings.

    Step 3: The Vikings, Being of the Northand colder region of Europe needed some ways to stay warm. One of the ways to keep warm, besides clothing, was by the use of long hair and a beard.

    Step 4: As time and medical knowledge progressed, long hair was shaved off and replaced by wigs in order to help prevent the spread of disease and little critters.

    Step 5: Soon, many European countries expanded Westward, taking the tradition with them. These traditions ended up in the Americas which became the United States.

    Step 6: Over the course of a few hundred years this tradition was still honored and even modern celebrities used them. Miley Cyrus is an owner of one of these wigs.


    Mr. Long: Mmm re: Miley’s wig collection. Fascinating, but mmm. Also, loved the hair to wig shift.

  23. 1) Beowulf (1) was written about a warrior who seeks fame and recognition by ridding the world of monsters and fighting great battles.

    2) In one episode of Franklin (kids’ show about a turtle and his forest friends), Franklin travels around doing good deeds hoping for recognition and praise from the adults, much like Beowulf (1) in his story.

    3) One of Franklin’s friends was Bear. Another kids’ TV show featuring a bear was the Muppets’ (3) own Fozzy Bear, who was a hilarious jokester and friend to Kermit the Frog.

    4) On one particular episode of the Muppets (3), Elton John guest starred and sang a beutiful rendition of Don’t Go Breaking My Heart with Miss Piggy.

    5) Elton John has recently given support to a Don’t Drink and Drive campaign, along with The Who, Guns N’ Roses, and Aerosmith (5).

    6) All of Hannah Montana’s (6) episodes are title after popular songs throughout music history, one of which being Sleepwalk This Way, an obvious parody of Aerosmith’s (5) Walk This Way. Which they had recorded with Run DMC… sorry its hard to shut the connections off.

  24. (1) Beowulf is an epic poem written about a young hero who journeys throughout the lands, slaying terrible monsters and becoming king in the process. One of the monsters Beowulf fights is a nameless monster referred to as Grendel’s mother.

    (2) In the old fairy tale of Rumplestiltskin, the miller excessively boasts (like Beowulf) (1) to the townspeople. One day he claimed, to the king, that his daughter could weave straw into gold. Because of this, she is imprisoned and commanded to do so. A small, weezened and nameless (1) man comes to her and offers her help if she can give him gifts. Unlike Grendel’s mother, however, his name is revealed to the audience as Rumplestiltskin.

    (3) Another weezened “man” (2) that is famous in a completely different genre is Yoda from Star Wars. Although he is technically not a man and also is named, he possesses a very weezened and old look to him.

    (4) Yoda (3) is voiced by Frank Oz. This actor also provides the voice for Bert of Sesame Street. (Isn’t that cool? When I rewatched Star Wars: The Phantom Menace the other day, I recognized Yoda’s voice and randomly identified it as Bert’s from Sesame Street. I looked it up, and what do you know? I was right!) Bert is a yellow puppet that is also friends with Ernie, a red puppet that is famous for his rubber ducky scenes.

    (5) Sesame Street (4) used to be my now seven year old sister’s favorite show as a little kid. Her favorite character was Elmo and she always loved Ernie’s rubber ducky. (4) She had thought Oscar, the garbage puppet, was annoying and always deeply hated him. Now that she is older she watches Disney channel.

    (6) On Disney Channel, my sister enjoys watching the Suite Life of Zack and Cody. To my dismay, she also watches Hannah Montana. Hannah Montana annoys me like no other, and although it is extremely immature, I have fostered a deep hatred (5) for her.

  25. Step 1: The epic poem of Beowulf is a Viking story of honor and glory told to kids and warriors. Although it is originally told as a poem, it is also a so-so movie.

    Step 2: Beowulf the movie, has been made into a real movie (a movie with real live people) and a 3D animated film. Starring in the animated film as Grendal’s mother was Angelina Jolie.

    Step 3: Angelina Jolie is an actress who has been in such movies as Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and Wanted. Wanted is originally a comic book written by Mark Miller.

    Step 4: The miniseries Wanted was at Comic Con featured to become a movie. Comic Con was featured on the Knoxville News. Knoxville News is a news paper in Knoxville Tennessee.

    Step 5: Also featuring in the Knoxville news was Dolly Parton. Dolly Parton is a Country singer, Actress, Theme Park owner of Dollywood.

    Step 6: Dolly Parton was a guest actress on Hannah Montana. The episode that she was in was called “Good Golly, Miss Dolly”.

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