Ralph Waldo Emerson Lesson Plans
"Self-Reliance," more

"American Civilization"
This essay was first published in The Atlantic in 1862.

"Concord Hymn"
The poem read by former U. S. President Bill Clinton. This downloadable video (1:42) resides at YouTube.

Examining Transcendentalism through Popular Culture
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.

How to be a Nonconformist
This tongue-in-cheek guide was written and illustrated by a high school student in 1968. What might students write after studying Emerson's "Self-Reliance"?

Incomparable Things Said Incomparably Well: Emerson's Extraordinary Letter of Appreciation to Young Walt Whitman
"I greet you at the beginning of a great career" Emerson wrote, and more. Background and text of the letter.

Individualism in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s "Self-Reliance"
This lesson offers a thorough exploration of the essay. The text analysis focuses on Emerson’s definition of individualism, his analysis of society, and the way he believes his version of individualism can transform American society. The first interactive exercise addresses vocabulary challenges. The second, well-suited for individual or small group work, presents some of his more famous aphorisms as tweets from "Dr. Ralph," a nineteenth-century self-help guru, and asks students to interpret and paraphrase them. The third invites students to consider whether they would embrace Dr. Ralph's vision of life.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1830-1882): A Guide to Resources
Biography, links to e-texts, famous quotes, and an explanation of Transcendentalism.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Biography and links to e-texts of essays and poetry.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
On this page, a brief biography. Follow links to activities, discussion questions, and archived support graphics.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
This page from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy offers excellent background information.

Repeat After Us
Audio files of some Emerson poems. A good site for LD students, ELL students, and for those who read well and might like to record and contribute. Files are in alphabetical order by poet; scroll down.

The Sage and the Magazine
Follow links on this page to articles originally published in The Atlantic Monthly . Includes links to four poems he published in the magazine's first issue.

"Self Reliance"
Text of the essay.

Suggestions for Pairing Contemporary Music and Canonical Literature
A list of songs that were inspired by reading literature. Organized by the last name of the author (e.g. Chinua Achebe, William Butler Yeats), the list includes song title, performer, year of release, and more. The list includes 7 titles inspired by "Self-Reliance" and 3 inspired by Nature .

Transcendentalism: Emerson and Thoreau Projects
Four post-reading activities.

Vocabulary from "Self-Reliance"
A list of 175 words presented in context and with definitions. Click on the word for pronunciation, examples of recent use, more.