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Transcendentalism Unit

Day 1: Overview of Transcendentalism

Lesson Objectives:
• Reading Process: Concepts of Print, Comprehension Strategies and
Self-Monitoring Strategies:
o A. Apply reading comprehension strategies to understand grade-
appropriate texts.
o B. Demonstrate comprehension of print and electronic text by
responding to questions (e.g., literal, inferential, evaluative and
synthesizing).
• Reading Applications: Informational, Technical and Persuasive Text:
o E. Analyze an author’s implicit and philosophical assumptions
and beliefs about a subject.
• Reading Applications: Literary Text
o E. Critique an author’s style.

Link to Past Learning/Future Assessment:


• Students should have touched on transcendentalism in the past and
read, or at least heard of, the two authors that will be focused on:
Emerson and Thoreau.
• Assessment:
o Students will be quizzed on the concepts learned and will
complete a final project on the subject that they will present to
the class.

Materials Needed:
• Teacher:
o Transcendental handouts/questions
o Chart paper
• Students:
o Writing utensils

Instructional Strategies:
• Students will be given a handout on Transcendentalism.
o Teacher will briefly review it.
• At the bottom of the sheet will be a series of questions for students to
discuss in groups of 2-3.
o Students will discuss in their groups and record their answers on
chart paper.
 How are you affected by nature? Do you find comfort in it?
Do you reflect the moods of nature?
 What is the role of nature in your life?
 How do you define an individual’s spiritual side?
 Is there a connection between the individual’s spirit and
nature? If so, what?
 What does it mean to know something intuitively? For
example, has a parent or a sibling ever known something
was wrong with you without having talked with or seen
you? What do we mean when we say "I just know it"?
 How do you demonstrate that you are an individual? Do
you think independently of others or do you follow the
crowd?
o When students are finished, they will briefly share their
responses with the class.
o Chart paper will be posted around the room for the remainder of
the unit.

Closure (Possibly including assessment):


• Chart paper will be posted around the room.
• Teacher will ask students to recap what Transcendentalism is.
Transcendentalism
Major beliefs of the movement:
• Feelings prevail over reason.
• Heightened relationship between man and nature would cause a
reformation of society, leading away from materialism and corruption.

What prompted the movement?


• Rise of cities
• Class systems
• War
• Freedom from the past
• Freedom from organized religion
• Greed

Characteristics of the movement:


• Nature
o Nature is divine
o Holds the truths of life
o Communicating and becoming one with nature is true goodness
o Nature is innocent, society is evil
• Individualism
o Rejection of standard societal beliefs
o Inner truth is the only thing that matters
o The soul is something equally available to all people
o Fulfillment comes from knowing one’s self, not from wealth,
gender or education
• Moral enthusiasm
o Anti-aristocracy
o Anti-slavery
o Pro women’s rights
o Quest for utopia
• Nonconformity
• Self-reliance/Confidence
• Free thought
• Literary Focus
o Literature was used to express the artists’ prevalent feelings of
stress and self.
 Emily Dickinson
 Ralph Waldo Emerson
 Henry David Thoreau
The Individual and Nature

1. How are you affected by nature? Do you find comfort in it? Do you reflect
the moods of nature?
2. What is the role of nature in your life?
3. How do you define an individual’s spiritual side?
4. Is there a connection between the individual’s spirit and nature? If so,
what?
5. What does it mean to know something intuitively? For example, has a
parent or a sibling ever known something was wrong with you without having
talked with or seen you? What do we mean when we say "I just know it"?
6. How do you demonstrate that you are an individual? Do you think
independently of others or do you follow the crowd?

The Individual and Nature

1. How are you affected by nature? Do you find comfort in it? Do you reflect
the moods of nature?
2. What is the role of nature in your life?
3. How do you define an individual’s spiritual side?
4. Is there a connection between the individual’s spirit and nature? If so,
what?
5. What does it mean to know something intuitively? For example, has a
parent or a sibling ever known something was wrong with you without having
talked with or seen you? What do we mean when we say "I just know it"?
6. How do you demonstrate that you are an individual? Do you think
independently of others or do you follow the crowd?

The Individual and Nature

1. How are you affected by nature? Do you find comfort in it? Do you reflect
the moods of nature?
2. What is the role of nature in your life?
3. How do you define an individual’s spiritual side?
4. Is there a connection between the individual’s spirit and nature? If so,
what?
5. What does it mean to know something intuitively? For example, has a
parent or a sibling ever known something was wrong with you without having
talked with or seen you? What do we mean when we say "I just know it"?
6. How do you demonstrate that you are an individual? Do you think
independently of others or do you follow the crowd?
Day 2: Emerson’s “Nature”

Lesson Objectives:
• Reading Process: Concepts of Print, Comprehension Strategies and
Self-Monitoring Strategies:
o A. Apply reading comprehension strategies to understand grade-
appropriate texts.
o B. Demonstrate comprehension of print and electronic text by
responding to questions (e.g., literal, inferential, evaluative and
synthesizing).
• Reading Applications: Informational, Technical and Persuasive Text:
o E. Analyze an author’s implicit and philosophical assumptions
and beliefs about a subject.
• Reading Applications: Literary Text
o E. Critique an author’s style.

Link to Past Learning/Future Assessment:


• Students began learning about Transcendentalism yesterday, and have
most likely touched upon it in past high school years.
• Assessment:
o Students will be quizzed on the concepts learned and will
complete a final project on the subject that they will present to
the class.

Materials Needed:
• Teacher:
o Copies of Emerson’s “Nature”
o Possibly, the link to the audio reading of “Nature”
o Questions for students to consider while reading
• Students:
o Writing utensils

Instructional Strategies:
• Class will begin by learning briefly about Emerson
• As a class, we will read an excerpt from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s
“Nature”.
o The students will be given a sheet with the following questions to
consider while reading.
 What different moods does Emerson denote in the excerpt?
 How is nature connected to these moods?
 What effect does nature have on Emerson? What does he
mean when he says “I become a transparent eyeball”?
 In what ways does Emerson connect nature, humankind,
and God?
 In what way does nature serve as a teacher?
 How is nature portrayed as noble? As a source of comfort?
 How are human beings represented as part of nature?
 What can human beings learn from nature? How does this
learning affect the individual’s spirituality?

Closure:
• The questions students filled out while reading “Nature” will be
discussed and collected.
Questions for “Nature”

1. What different moods does Emerson denote in the excerpt?


2. How is nature connected to these moods?
3. What effect does nature have on Emerson? What does he mean when
he says “I become a transparent eyeball”?
4. In what ways does Emerson connect nature, humankind, and God?
5. In what way does nature serve as a teacher?
6. How is nature portrayed as noble? As a source of comfort?
7. How are human beings represented as part of nature?
8. What can human beings learn from nature? How does this learning
affect the individual’s spirituality?

Questions for “Nature”

1. What different moods does Emerson denote in the excerpt?


2. How is nature connected to these moods?
3. What effect does nature have on Emerson? What does he mean when
he says “I become a transparent eyeball”?
4. In what ways does Emerson connect nature, humankind, and God?
5. In what way does nature serve as a teacher?
6. How is nature portrayed as noble? As a source of comfort?
7. How are human beings represented as part of nature?
8. What can human beings learn from nature? How does this learning
affect the individual’s spirituality?

Questions for “Nature”

1. What different moods does Emerson denote in the excerpt?


2. How is nature connected to these moods?
3. What effect does nature have on Emerson? What does he mean when
he says “I become a transparent eyeball”?
4. In what ways does Emerson connect nature, humankind, and God?
5. In what way does nature serve as a teacher?
6. How is nature portrayed as noble? As a source of comfort?
7. How are human beings represented as part of nature?
8. What can human beings learn from nature? How does this learning
affect the individual’s spirituality?
Day 3: Emerson’s “Self-Reliance”

Lesson Objectives:
• Reading Process: Concepts of Print, Comprehension Strategies and
Self-Monitoring Strategies:
o A. Apply reading comprehension strategies to understand grade-
appropriate texts.
o B. Demonstrate comprehension of print and electronic text by
responding to questions (e.g., literal, inferential, evaluative and
synthesizing).
• Reading Applications: Informational, Technical and Persuasive Text:
o E. Analyze an author’s implicit and philosophical assumptions
and beliefs about a subject.
• Reading Applications: Literary Text
o E. Critique an author’s style.

Link to Past Learning/Future Assessment:


• Students read Emerson yesterday.
• Assessment:
o Students will be quizzed on the concepts learned and will
complete a final project on the subject that they will present to
the class.

Materials Needed:
• Teacher:
o Copies of “Self-Reliance”
o Possibly, the link for the audio reading of “Self-Reliance”
o Copies of questions for students to answer while reading
o Chart to fill in quotations picked out and explain
• Students:
o Writing utensil

Instructional Strategies:
• The teacher will show 2-3 comics on the Smart Board that have
transcendentalist characteristics.
o We will talk about the similarities between the comics and
transcendentalism.
• The teacher will pass out pages/books of comics to groups of 2-3.
• On the Smart Board will be the list of Transcendentalist characteristics.
o Students will be asked to find 3-5 comics that show
transcendentalist characteristics.
• The class will read Emerson’s essay “Self-Reliance”
o Students will follow along answering questions that correspond
 What does Emerson mean when he says that “envy is
ignorance and imitation is suicide”?
 What does he want each individual to recognize about
him/herself? What does he say about “power” and “work”?
 How is trust a part of being self-reliant?
 Why does Emerson see society as the enemy of
individuality?
 What is the role of nonconformity? What did that word
mean to Emerson?
 What is a “foolish consistency”? How does it get in the
way of genius?
o Students will also be asked to identify two quotations that reveal
the way Emerson feels about the following: (on a pdf printout
chart)
 Nonconformity
 Self-reliance
 Free thought
 Confidence
 Importance of nature

Closure:
• The class will share some of the quotations they picked out for each of
the five areas of Transcendental thought.
• Charts will be collected.
Questions for “Self-Reliance”

1. What does Emerson mean when he says that “envy is ignorance and
imitation is suicide”?
2. What does he want each individual to recognize about him/herself?
What does he say about “power” and “work”?
3. How is trust a part of being self-reliant?
4. Why does Emerson see society as the enemy of individuality?
5. What is the role of nonconformity? What did that word mean to
Emerson?
6. What is a “foolish consistency”? How does it get in the way of genius?

Questions for “Self-Reliance”

1. What does Emerson mean when he says that “envy is ignorance and
imitation is suicide”?
2. What does he want each individual to recognize about him/herself?
What does he say about “power” and “work”?
3. How is trust a part of being self-reliant?
4. Why does Emerson see society as the enemy of individuality?
5. What is the role of nonconformity? What did that word mean to
Emerson?
6. What is a “foolish consistency”? How does it get in the way of genius?

Questions for “Self-Reliance”

1. What does Emerson mean when he says that “envy is ignorance and
imitation is suicide”?
2. What does he want each individual to recognize about him/herself?
What does he say about “power” and “work”?
3. How is trust a part of being self-reliant?
4. Why does Emerson see society as the enemy of individuality?
5. What is the role of nonconformity? What did that word mean to
Emerson?
6. What is a “foolish consistency”? How does it get in the way of genius?
Day 4: Thoreau’s “Where I Lived and What I Lived For” from Walden

Lesson Objectives:
• Reading Process: Concepts of Print, Comprehension Strategies and
Self-Monitoring Strategies:
o A. Apply reading comprehension strategies to understand grade-
appropriate texts.
o B. Demonstrate comprehension of print and electronic text by
responding to questions (e.g., literal, inferential, evaluative and
synthesizing).
• Reading Applications: Informational, Technical and Persuasive Text:
o E. Analyze an author’s implicit and philosophical assumptions
and beliefs about a subject.
• Reading Applications: Literary Text
o E. Critique an author’s style.

Link to Past Learning/Future Assessment:


• Students read Emerson the last two days, in order to recognize the
similarities in ideas between him and Thoreau.
• Assessment:
o Students will be quizzed on the concepts learned and will
complete a final project on the subject that they will present to
the class.

Materials Needed:
• Teacher:
o Copies of Chapter 2 of Walden
o The link to the audio reading of Walden
o http://thoreau.eserver.org/cliff.html
o Copies of chart for students to pick out quotations matching the
five main ideas associated with Transcendentalism
• Students:
o Writing utensil

Instructional Strategies:
• Class will begin by learning about Thoreau.
o Online tour of Walden Pond and the cabin on the Smart Board
• Class will read/listen to an audio recording of Chapter 2: “Where I Lived
and What I Lived For” from Walden.
o Even though an audio recording is playing, students will be given
packets to follow along with.
o Students will also be asked to identify two quotations that reveal
the way Emerson feels about the following:
 Nonconformity
 Self-reliance
 Free thought
 Confidence
 Importance of nature
• Once finished with the excerpt, the differences and similarities
between Emerson and Thoreau will be discussed.
o Emerson = teacher
o Thoreau = practitioner

Closure (Possibly including assessment)


• Students will all be asked to each write their own definition of
transcendentalism.
o Those will be shared with the class and collected.
• Charts of quotations will be shared and collected, as well.
Day 5: Multiple Intelligences Identification/Begin Projects

Lesson Objectives:
• Reading Process: Concepts of Print, Comprehension Strategies and
Self-Monitoring Strategies:
o A. Apply reading comprehension strategies to understand grade-
appropriate texts.
o B. Demonstrate comprehension of print and electronic text by
responding to questions (e.g., literal, inferential, evaluative and
synthesizing).
• Reading Applications: Informational, Technical and Persuasive Text:
o E. Analyze an author’s implicit and philosophical assumptions
and beliefs about a subject.
• Reading Applications: Literary Text
o E. Critique an author’s style.

Link to Past Learning/Future Assessment:


• Students have been learning about the transcendental movement and
two of its authors the past several days.
• Assessment:
o Students will be quizzed on the concepts learned and will
complete a final project on the subject that they will present to
the class.

Materials Needed:
• Teacher:
o Computer lab reservation
o Handout of possibly final projects
• Students:
o Writing utensil

Instructional Strategies:
• Students will be in the computer lab.
• The teacher will explain Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple
Intelligences.
o Explain each intelligence briefly.
o How to apply these
• Students will go to
http://literacyworks.org/mi/assessment/findyourstrengths.html
o Students will take the test on the site and record their Top 3
Intelligences out of the following:
 Linguistic
 Logic/Math
 Spatial
 Bodily-Kinesthetic
 Musical
 Interpersonal
 Intrapersonal
 Nature
• Once all students have figured out which intelligence they are
strongest in, the teacher will hand out the list of possible assessments
for the Transcendentalism Final Project.
o See below.
• Students will be instructed to pick one and begin working on it.

Closure (Possibly including assessment):


• Students will be allowed the remainder of the period to work on
their projects.
Transcendentalism Multiple Intelligences Final Project Options (75 points)

Find the intelligence you scored 1st or 2nd highest in below, and then using the
suggestions below, choose or design your own final assignment that relates to
Transcendental ideas, themes and/or concepts.

Language/Linguistic:
• Create a portfolio of:
o At least 3 original poems
o A short story, minimum of 2 pages
• Develop and deliver a speech

Logical-Mathematical:
• Design a series of Transcendental puzzles
• Write a report identifying the relationship between two topics
• Design a web site

Spatial:
• Create a photo/art exhibit (wiki)
• Create an online scrapbook

Bodily-Kinesthetic:
• Create some sort of performance to deliver to the class:
o Skit
o Dance
o Act

Musical
• If you play an instrument or sing, create a song to perform for the class
• Compile a “Name that Transcendental Tune” list of 20-25

Interpersonal
• Conduct a survey, document the results
o 1 informative page on the topic
o 1 page summary of the results
o Chart/Graph of results

Intrapersonal
• Create a journal (at least 5 pages of entries) reflecting on times you have
spent in nature, felt connected to nature, etc.

Naturalist
• Create an advertisement poster for Walden Pond

Points Breakdown:
• 30 points = Evidence that you understand Transcendentalism
• 20 points = Neatness and creativity
• 10 points = Choosing or creating a project that reflects your strengths
• 15 points = Being on task during class
Day 6: Work Day for Projects

Lesson Objectives:
• Reading Process: Concepts of Print, Comprehension Strategies and
Self-Monitoring Strategies:
o A. Apply reading comprehension strategies to understand grade-
appropriate texts.
o B. Demonstrate comprehension of print and electronic text by
responding to questions (e.g., literal, inferential, evaluative and
synthesizing).
• Reading Applications: Informational, Technical and Persuasive Text:
o E. Analyze an author’s implicit and philosophical assumptions
and beliefs about a subject.
• Reading Applications: Literary Text
o E. Critique an author’s style.

Link to Past Learning/Future Assessment:


• Students have been learning about the transcendental movement and
two of its authors the past several days.
• Assessment:
o Students will be quizzed on the concepts learned and will
complete a final project on the subject that they will present to
the class.

Materials Needed:
• Teacher:
o Computer lab reservation
• Students:
o Writing utensils

Instructional Strategies:
• Students will be in the computer lab working on their projects.

Closure (Possibly including assessment):


• All class will be for students to work on their projects.
Day 7: Work Day for Projects

Lesson Objectives:
• Reading Process: Concepts of Print, Comprehension Strategies and
Self-Monitoring Strategies:
o A. Apply reading comprehension strategies to understand grade-
appropriate texts.
o B. Demonstrate comprehension of print and electronic text by
responding to questions (e.g., literal, inferential, evaluative and
synthesizing).
• Reading Applications: Informational, Technical and Persuasive Text:
o E. Analyze an author’s implicit and philosophical assumptions
and beliefs about a subject.
• Reading Applications: Literary Text
o E. Critique an author’s style.

Link to Past Learning/Future Assessment:


• Students have been learning about the transcendental movement and
two of its authors the past several days.
• Assessment:
o Students will be quizzed on the concepts learned and will
complete a final project on the subject that they will present to
the class.

Materials Needed:
• Teacher:
o Computer lab reservation.
• Students:
o Writing utensils

Instructional Strategies:
• Students will work on projects and be expected to complete them.

Closure (Possibly including Assessment):


• Entire period is for students to work on and complete projects.
Day 8: Presentations

Lesson Objectives:
• Reading Process: Concepts of Print, Comprehension Strategies and
Self-Monitoring Strategies:
o A. Apply reading comprehension strategies to understand grade-
appropriate texts.
o B. Demonstrate comprehension of print and electronic text by
responding to questions (e.g., literal, inferential, evaluative and
synthesizing).
• Reading Applications: Informational, Technical and Persuasive Text:
o E. Analyze an author’s implicit and philosophical assumptions
and beliefs about a subject.
• Reading Applications: Literary Text
o E. Critique an author’s style.
• Communication: Oral and Visual
o A. Use a variety of strategies to enhance listening
comprehension.
o B. Evaluate the clarity, quality and effectiveness and overall
coherence of a speaker’s key points, arguments, evidence,
organization of ideas, delivery, diction and syntax.
o C. Select and use effective speaking strategies for a variety of
audiences, situations and purposes.
o F. Give presentations using a variety of delivery methods, visual
displays and technology.

Link to Past Learning/Future Assessment:


• Students have been learning about the transcendental movement and
two of its authors the past several days.
• Assessment:
o Students will be quizzed on the concepts learned and will
complete a final project on the subject that they will present to
the class.

Materials Needed:
• Teacher:
o Grading materials
• Students:
o Projects and presentation materials.

Instructional Strategies:
• Students will have completed projects by this point.
• They will present their projects to the class.
Closure (Possibly including assessment):
• All of period will be for presentations.