Going out of town is good, and it is bad, especially if you are a teacher and a mom, oh…and did I mention a wife, too-yes-that has it’s very own category! ha ha 🙂
So, anyway, all kidding aside, I have some work to do.
This weekend I had the opportunity to visit the north Georgia mountains with my family. I love the mountains, and I think I could possibly live there. It is so peaceful and beautiful. We stayed at the Unicoi State Lodge, which I highly recommend. Our room had two beds and a loft room for the kids, which they loved. The lodge held nightly concerts, mostly folk music, which only made me more determined to play in a folk band at some point in my life. Love–love–love folk music. I’m thinking a guitar might be a great Christmas present, so I could learn a few songs for my students before the year ends. Hmmm…I like this idea.
Ok…I still need to get to, as my principal likes to say, “the meat and potatoes.” My experiences in nature this weekend, brought to my mind several poets who wrote about their love of the outdoors. My thought is to introduce these poets to my students, and conduct a surprise field trip outside, where we can make discoveries about nature, and then write a poem from our observations.
I believe that this lesson may take 2 days.
EQ: Define the transcendentalist movement and describe how it applies to you today?
RL.6.2: Determine a theme or central idea of a text
RL.6.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text.
RL.6.6: Explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text.
Bellringer: Students will write a response to the following:
What is autumn to you? Think about shapes, colors, and the feel of fall. Think about seasonal celebrations like football games, the World Series, Halloween, Thanksgiving, hay-rack rides, etc.
Introduce transcendentalist or idealism movement.
- The students will read, annotate, and summarize the following piece on the Transcendentalist movement. They will also look up and write down any new vocabulary.
CCRL.6.2: Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
The American Renaissance and the Transcendentalist Movement
The following is a great link on the poets of this era, and what the transcendentalist movement was about.
2. I will have a variety of clips on hand to further illustrate the poets that make up the “idealist” or “transcendentalist” movement.
3. Secondly, students will be grouped in fours. They will be assigned specific roles: speaker, note taker, reader, task master. Then each group will rotate around 7 stations in the classroom. Each station will introduce the group to a new transcendentalist poet. Each station will include a picture and article of a poet from that period. The students will look for elements of poetry from their work and write it on large butcher paper hanging on the wall. The elements will be different depending on the station: figurative language: metaphors, similes, personification, theme, conflicts, plot, resolution.
They may also answer questions such as:
Explain how a particular stanza fits into the overall structure of a text and how it contributes to the theme or plot.
How does the plot unfold within the poem?
What is the central idea of the poem?
3. Students will come back to their groups and report their findings. We will also discuss what we would look for or observe in nature from the transcendentalist poet perspective.
4. Students will go outside for some nature time. They will continue to work in their groups. They will be allowed to take pictures on their iPhone of observations.
The groups come together and compare findings. How do animals, plants and humans affect each other? What are the positive and negative effects? What can we do to ensure that nature is persevered? How does nature affect our well being?
THE AMERICAN RENAISSANCE & TRANSCENDENTALISM
With this fiery challenge Ralph Waldo Emerson concluded his 1837 Harvard Phi Beta Kappa Address, THE AMERICAN SCHOLAR. As his words were received with great enthusiasm, Emerson argued not only for a new American culture, freed from European bondage, but also for a rebirth of an intellectual and artistic life that was inextricably bound up with the life of the spirit. Before long, Emerson and his circle of writers, reformers, and artists would christen those ideals which governed the spirit “Transcendentalism.”
The Transcendentalists stood at the heart of The American Renaissance– the flowering of our nation’s thought in literature, poetry, painting, sculpture, architecture, and music in the period roughly designated from 1835-1880. Concentrated in Boston and Concord, MA, the home of many of the literary members such as Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Margaret Fuller, the Alcotts, Theodore Parker, Jones Very, George Ripley, the Peabody Sisters, and the Channings, Transcendentalism was far broader than a geographical phenomenon or a select club membership–though Ripley and Emerson had founded the Transcendental Club in 1836. Rather it was a faith shared by such diverse minds and such diverse places as those of Walt Whitman in Brooklyn or Emily Dickinson in Amherst or the Hudson River School of painters in New York; it was a visionary bent, a way of, as the English Romantic poet William Wordsworth had once described his mission, “of seeing into the life of things” that permeated the best of American thought and art throughout much of the 19th century. Even those artists of the American Renaissance who would find difficulty with the optimism of the Transcendentalists–Hawthorne and Melville among them–would be forced to focus on and respond to the existential issues the movement raised.
|American Transcendentalism||The term Transcendentalism was derived from the philosopher Kant, who called “all knowledge transcendental which is concerned not with objects but with our mode of knowing objects.” The roots of the American philosophy ran deep into German and English Romanticism. From German philosophers such as Fichte and Herder, it received its mystic impulse; from Goethe, Novalis, Jean-Paul, Heine, and the other great German Romantic poets it acquired its imagistic language and themes. Acquaintance with German thought, by and large, filtered through English translations–Coleridge and Carlyle’s among the best–and acquaintance with these and the work of other English Romantics such as Blake, Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, and Byron enriched the Americans’ perspectives as well.
In his 1841 address delivered at Boston’s Masonic Temple , which was later reprinted in THE DIAL, Emerson attempted to define the philosophy in simple terms as “What is popularly called Transcendentalism among us, is Idealism; Idealism as it appears in 1842.” In reality it was far more complex collection of beliefs: that the spark of divinity lies within man; that everything in the world is a microcosm of existence; that the individual soul is identical to the world soul, or Over-Soul, as Emerson called it. This belief in the Inner Light led to an emphasis on the authority of the Self–to Walt Whitman’s I , to the Emersonian doctrine of Self-Reliance, to Thoreau’s civil disobedience, and to the Utopian communities at Brook Farm and Fruitlands. By meditation, by communing with nature, through work and art, man could transcend his senses and attain an understanding of beauty and goodness and truth. Transcendentalism dominated the thinking of the American Renaissance, and its resonances reverberated through American life well into the 20th century. In one way or another our most creative minds were drawn into its thrall, attracted not only to its practicable messages of confident self-identity, spiritual progress and social justice, but also by its aesthetics, which celebrated, in landscape and mindscape, the immense grandeur of the American soul.