Transcendentalism, Project to Link Thoreau & Emerson to Modern Pop Culture, CCSS

Transcendentalism, Project to Link Thoreau & Emerson to Modern Pop Culture, CCSS
Transcendentalism, Project to Link Thoreau & Emerson to Modern Pop Culture, CCSS
Transcendentalism, Project to Link Thoreau & Emerson to Modern Pop Culture, CCSS
Transcendentalism, Project to Link Thoreau & Emerson to Modern Pop Culture, CCSS
Transcendentalism, Project to Link Thoreau & Emerson to Modern Pop Culture, CCSS
Transcendentalism, Project to Link Thoreau & Emerson to Modern Pop Culture, CCSS
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Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were promoting the ideals of Transcendentalism way back in the mid-1800s and, yet, those same ideas still surround us today in our media and popular culture. When you pause and closely examine the music in your earbuds, the movies in your streaming accounts, and the bestsellers loaded in your e-readers, you’ll see that some of today’s artists promote the very same ideas as the founders of Transcendentalism.

For this assignment, your students will become experts on Emerson and Thoreau by finding echoes of their famous words in the works of people we enjoy today. T.V. shows, movies, cartoons/comic strips, music, products/packaging, internet news stories, and public figures are fair game as students find examples to illustrate the words of Emerson and Thoreau.

The five tenets of Transcendentalism will be the focus in this project, including non-conformity, self-reliance, importance of nature (finding enlightenment or true self in nature), favoring intuition over reason, and the celebration of the simplified life.

This packet included a 1-page student assignment handout and a 1-page rubric for grading final projects. To serve as a model for students to follow, the assignment includes a detailed example showing how Lady Gaga illustrates the tenet of non-conformity.

The assignment can be done on campus in your school's computer lab or as a take-home assignment. It usually takes my class a full week for this project – two days for internet research/product building and three more days if we also include presentations.

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Cover image credit: Pixabay, Public domain

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Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
By the end of grade 11, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 11-CCR text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.By the end of grade 12, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of the grades 11-CCR text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Demonstrate knowledge of eighteenth-, nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century foundational works of American literature, including how two or more texts from the same period treat similar themes or topics.
Analyze a case in which grasping point of view requires distinguishing what is directly stated in a text from what is really meant (e.g., satire, sarcasm, irony, or understatement).
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