Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding A Walk in the Woods: Understanding Transcendentalism - Section 3: A Little Philosophy: Notes on Transcendentalism


One of the most difficult aspects of teaching Transcendentalism as a means of addressing non-fiction, and as a literary genre, are the myriad aspects, characteristics, and elements of the philosophy textbooks address, and none of them seem to present it clearly. In order for students to have a backdrop to rely on, today, I provided five traits of the philosophy, explain the concept of the Over-Soul (that all living things are connected), and the etymology of the name. 

Student reaction to these notes went well, and quickly, as we addressed them, as I shared the elements with the class, I asked students to share where they had seen the five elements as they read the essays by Emerson, students identified examples such as the power of nature in "Nature," the focus on individuality (especially some of the quotations I asked students to address) in "Self-Reliance," and the like. This conversation provided some context for students to carry their understanding of Emerson into the small-group discussions, next.

  Providing Notes: Thoughts on Cutting to the Point
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Providing Notes: Thoughts on Cutting to the Point
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A Walk in the Woods: Understanding Transcendentalism

Unit 9: Literacy: Transcendent Impressions in Essays (American Romanticism III)
Lesson 1 of 2

Objective: SWBAT determine and analyze how Ralph Waldo Emerson's point of view develops Transcendentalism over the course of selections from "Nature" and "Self-Reliance" through collaborative discussion.

Big Idea: "All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better." -Emerson

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