Basic notes on what transcendentalism is can be read here. I've given the students a really easy handout with questions for the first day. Keep in mind, if you have non-post secondary students, getting them to learn about Emerson and Thoreau can be challenging. You REALLY have to sell both authors. For me, the best way has always been to bring in contemporary artists in pop culture, even if those artists never read Emerson and Thoreau. I wish I had both on audio. It's easier to understand when read aloud. Finding audio that matched my version didn't work. I hadn't realized that these texts have been diced and rearranged. I found one version at Librivox, but their version starts before mine.

  1. Background on Emerson: I didn't make this reading and study guide so I can't post it. Go here and create something you like. Better yet, send the students.
  2. Read "Self-Reliance." I read a diced, shorter version. At first read, my students seem to grasp the main idea but understanding all of it isn't likely. One way to help them would be to read the first paragraph, but also take the reading and break it up with comprehension questions in between sections. That way they can process his ideas as they read, rather than answer questions at the end.
  3. Watch comtemporary music videos and decide if they follow Emerson's thoughts. My three picks are Pink's "Don't Let me Get me", "Montgomery Gentry's "What do You Think About That?" and Gavin Degraw's "I Don't Wanna Be." There are many other videos that fit the reading.
  4. Read "The Trouble with Henry" picture book for interest/fun
  5. United Streaming video on Thoreau w/study guide
  6. Read "Walden"
  7. My FAVORITE student made video (not my students unfortunately)
  8. Transcendentalist Day: The purpose of this day is to get them to sit and reflect quietly.
  9. At the end, I will give a objective final test at Quia.




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