What’s Happening This Week
There is much more to explore in our calendar. Find other important events in literary history, authors' birthdays, and a variety of holidays, each with related lessons and resources.
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Henry David Thoreau was born in 1817.
|Grades||1 – 12|
|Calendar Activity Type||Author & Text|
Henry David Thoreau was born on July 12, 1817. Thoreau is best known for his book Walden, which chronicles the two years that he lived in a small hut near the edge of Walden Pond.
Take your class on a nature walk near your school, or have them focus on a natural setting nearby. As students walk or view the setting, ask them to take note of the details of the surroundings and make a mental "snapshot" of the location in their minds.
Once they return to class, have students write their notes during a focused writing session, making sure to capture the details of the setting. After the initial writing session, students can revise and polish their writing and create a class booklet of the nature walk, using the ReadWriteThink Printing Press.
- Poets.org: Henry David Thoreau
This biography of Thoreau, published by the Academy of American Poets, links to a collection of online texts including Walden.
- Walden Pond Exhibit
After reading passages from Walden with your students, have them compare Thoreau's description of the pond with the photographs on this website.
- American Transcendentalism Web: Henry David Thoreau
This entry on Thoreau includes a complete biography with links to related materials and readings. The site provides extensive information about Thoreau, including links about his work as a surveyor and pencil maker.
- How to Keep a Field Journal
Students can keep a record of their own nature observations in a field journal, as described in this resource from the American Museum of Natural History. A number of diverse example pages, including drawings, charts, and narrative observations from the field journals of actual scientists, are included.
Grades 9 – 12 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
Students work together to create their own utopias, using blogs as the primary source of publication.
Grades 6 – 8 | Lesson Plan | Unit
Students take their ideas from the classroom page to the community pavement when they participate in a service-learning project based on their multimedia presentations.
Grades 4 – 8 | Lesson Plan | Minilesson
Students practice writing detailed, sensory-rich descriptions by framing a small piece of nature and freewriting about it. From this minilesson, students can develop a variety of types of writing.
Grades K – 2 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
Boom! Br-r-ring! Cluck! Moo!Everywhere you turn, you find exciting sounds. Students use these sounds to write their own poems based on Dr. Seuss's Mr. Brown Can MOO! Can You?
Grades 3 – 5 | Lesson Plan | Unit
Students whose first language is not English reflect on nature through readings, a visit to a green area, and bookmaking using the writing process and peer feedback.
Grades 9 – 12 | Lesson Plan | Unit
Using excerpts from the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, comics, and songs from different musical genres, students examine the characteristics of transcendentalism.