Unit Plan

19th Century Lessons for 21st Century Lives

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This 19th Century Lessons for 21st Century Lives unit plan also includes:

The words of Henry David Thoreau on Civil Disobedience seem particularly relevant today, as are his writings and those of other transcendental thinkers who ask what it mean to live deliberately and what are the responsibilities of individuals within a society. The readings and activities in a unit study of Transcendentalism are sure to engage high schoolers.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas
  • Use the packet as the basis of a unit study of transcendental writers in an American Literature course
  • Especially appropriate for an honors or AP level class


Classroom Considerations
  • Requires access to the film, Dead Poet's Society
  • Substitute a visit to a local park and a visit from a local naturalist
  • Instructors will need to create their own PowerPoint with images of Thoreau, Gandhi, King, and Atticus Finch
  • The 31-page packet includes a unit calendar, detailed lessons, a list of suggested readings, journal prompts, the project assignment, and a rubric for the presentation
  • The link to the demo video of images and sounds does not work; however, many similar resources are available on the Internet
  • The link to the student models is also broken