Lesson Topic: _Transcendentalism – Self-Reliance__ Length of lesson: __90 min_ Grade level:___10__ Stage 1 – Desired Results Content Standard(s): 126.96.36.199 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. 188.8.131.52 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text. Understanding (s)/goals Students will understand: - the basic history of transcendentalism - how Emerson’s idea of self-reliance applies to today’s culture - their own beliefs on individuality and those of their classmates Essential Question(s): What is transcendentalism? What does self-reliance mean today? What did it mean to Emerson? How do Emerson’s ideas apply to today’s society? Student objectives (outcomes): Students will be able to: - explore and share their own ideas individually and in groups - connect literary themes to modern realities - do a “close reading” of non-contemporary literature Stage 2 – Assessment Evidence Performance Task(s): Other Evidence: - group read-alouds participation in all-class discussions - beginning journal activity Stage 3 – Learning Plan Learning Activities: Vocabulary Quiz (15-20 minutes) Introduction of topic/reading (10 minutes) Have students take out their journals and write on the following prompt: What does it mean to you to be an individual? What does it mean to society to be an individual? What does it mean in school to be an individual? How do these ideas work together or conflict with each other? After the students have finished writing, bring the class together for a brief discussion of these ideas. Explain that many of these ideas will be addressed in the reading for today and have the class keep these ideas and opinions fresh in their minds. Brief introduction to transcendentalism (5 minutes or less) Provide the following background information on transcendentalism in general and Ralph Waldo Emerson in specific: Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, poet and philosopher. He lived from 1803-1882 and actually began his career as a Unitarian minister in Boston. He is most well known for his contributions/establishment of transcendentalism. (Ask if anyone knows what transcendentalism is. If no responses, ask what transcend means.) Transcendentalism is considered the first American intellectual movement. Transcendentalism is built around the idea that people and nature are inherently good. Transcendentalists believed that society and its institutions—particularly organized religion and political parties—ultimately corrupted the purity of the individual. They had faith that people are at their best when truly "self-reliant" and independent. It is only from such real individuals that true community could be formed. This is exactly what Emerson is discussing in his essay “Self-Reliance,” which we will be reading today. Reading activity (30-40 minutes) As a class, read through the selection from “Self-Reliance.” For this lesson, we will read the right side of the book in order to encourage increased engagement and comprehension. However, pause throughout (at selected passages: “Trust thyself...”, “Society everywhere...”, “But why should you...”, “A true man...”) and have students perform close readings of these passages. Discuss these meanings/interpretations as a class and continue with the selections. “Trust thyself”: Why do you need to trust yourself? “Society everywhere”: What is Emerson saying here about society? What is he being critical of? “But why should you”: What is Emerson’s problem with consistency? How does this relate to his ideas about conformity? “A true man”: What is a “true man” according to Emerson? Discussion (depends on how long the reading takes) How did our ideas at the beginning of class jive with or go against Emerson’s ideas? Are his ideas practical/reasonable/applicable? Why or why not? Should we still try to push these ideas forward? Why or why not? How do these ideas contribute to our idea of what it means to be an American?