Day by Day Schedule 2019

Day by Day Schedule

This overview of the week will give you a good idea of the landmark sites we will visit, the questions and topics we will explore, the faculty members who will guide our investigations each day, and the reading selections which will be the foundations for discussions. See the corresponding sections of the website for more details on staff/scholars, sites and readings.

We hope that this “walk through the week” will be helpful to you as you consider whether this workshop will be right for you and your teaching plans.
Graduate credit will be available for interested teachers: registration information will be sent to accepted participants in the spring.

Sunday: A Natural and Social Community         July 14 and 21, 2019

At our first meeting, we begin with an evening excursion to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, where all the Concord Authors and their neighbors are buried. It’s a perfect spot for an introduction to the town of Concord and its inhabitants in Thoreau’s day. We will continue with introductions to each other and to the week ahead over dessert in an historic building.

4:30 to 6:30
    Project Director and Project Coordinator will be at the Colonial Inn to welcome teachers. Supper on your own

6:30 to 8:00    Sleepy Hollow Cemetery Stroll with Jayne Gordon as introduction to use of landmark site (5 minute walk from Inn)

8:30 to 9:30    Welcome dessert at the Wright Tavern and orientation
Introductions of participants, overview of week, explanation of approaches

Framing Question:     
•    How can a historic landscape or site help us to understand an idea?

Topics to be investigated:
•    Who were the people in Thoreau’s community – family, friends, neighbors – whose lives were intertwined with his?
•    What do we mean when we talk about the harmony of man and nature?
•    What is our initial take on Thoreau?
•    What are the questions about Thoreau that we want to make sure to explore this week?

Sites to Visit:
•    Colonial Inn
•    Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
•    Wright Tavern

MondayConversations and Community   July 15 and 22, 2019

This first full day will be devoted to examining Thoreau’s interactions with his friends, neighbors, and the organizations in town, and the impact of living deliberately in society. We start with a look at Emerson’s circle, the fascinating assortment of thinkers who gathered around him for conversations, and Emerson’s crucial mentoring relationship with Thoreau. We visit the homes of the Emerson and Alcott families, and spend much of the day with scholar Laura Walls, author of a widely-acclaimed 2017 biography of Thoreau.

8:00                      Meet at Inn for walk to Concord Museum and intro to Museum

8:30 to 9:30      Session at Concord Museum with Kristi Martin
Emerson’s Circle and the Family and Friendships of Thoreau

9:45 to 11:00     Walk to and tour one of two literary sites: Emerson House or Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House

11:30 to 12:30   Session I at Concord Museum with Dr. Laura Walls on her 2017 biography of Thoreau

12:30 to 1:45      Lunch and first meeting with teacher facilitator

2:00 to 3:00    Walk to and tour one of two literary sites: Emerson House or Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House

3:30 to 4:30    Session II at the Concord Museum with Laura Walls

4:30 to 5:30    Reception and conversation with Laura and David Wood
Learning about Thoreau through documents and objects

Framing Questions: 
•    How did Thoreau use his Journal to translate experience into writing?
•    What was Thoreau’s relationship with the social world?
•    How is it reflected in his interactions with individuals, institutions, issues, and incidents in Concord?

Topics to be investigated:
•    What role did Emerson play in establishing a literary colony in Concord? How and why did he act as a magnet to draw intellectuals around him?
•    What was the nature of Thoreau’s relationship with the Emerson family? The Alcotts?
•    Who were the other friends and neighbors with whom he had constant interactions? What did he say about them and what did they say about him? What can we learn about Thoreau from his friendships?
•    How does Thoreau suggest ways to live deliberately and responsibly as part of Society?
•    How does Thoreau suggest ways to live deliberately and responsibly as part of Nature?
•    What do we mean by “living deliberately”?
•    How do the manuscripts and the objects work together to provide a richer picture of Thoreau’s life and thought? How do they complement the understandings we will gain from immersion in the Concord landscapes the rest of the week?

Sites to Visit: Louisa May Alcott gravesite
•    Concord Museum
•    Ralph Waldo Emerson House
•    Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House

Selected Readings: 
•    Thoreau, selections from the Journal 
•    Walls, selections from A Life 
•    Wood, selections from An Observant Eye

TuesdayLaboratories and Sanctuaries             July 16 and 23, 2019

Today we explore the ways in which Thoreau used the natural world for both investigation and inspiration. We are at Walden Pond, site of Thoreau’s study in the woods, and setting for the book Walden. Immersed in this place on this day, we can gain new understandings of Thoreau’s place and our own place in the natural world, with guidance from scholars Robert Thorson, Jeff Cramer, and James Finley.

8:00 to 9:00        Walk to Fairyland Pond on the new Emerson-Thoreau Amble
OR board bus at either 8:30 to meet up at Fairyland and ride to Walden

9:00 to 10:00      Orientation film and individual time at the Pond for journaling

10:00 to 10:45     Session I with Robert Thorson: meet at House replica; walk around Pond

10:45 to 11:15       Break and time for individual reflection at House site area

11:15 to 12:00       Second session with Robert Thorson; continue walk around Pond

12:15 to 1:30         Lunch and lesson planning groups at Walden Pond

1:30 to 2:00          Van up hill to Thoreau Institute (Walden Woods Project) (3 shifts)

2:00 to 3:00        Session on Thoreau’s writing with Jeff Cramer

3:30 to 4:30        Session on Thoreau and Walden with Dr. James Finley

4:30 to 5:30        Van back to Concord Center (3 shifts)

7:30 to 9:00        Discussion on teaching Walden with James Finley (Wright Tavern)

Framing Questions: 
•    What was Thoreau’s relationship with the natural world?
•    How is this relationship reflected in his experience at Walden, and observations in his writings?

Topics to be investigated:
•    What is the geological history of Walden Pond?
•    Why did Thoreau come here?
•    In what ways did the Pond serve Thoreau as a laboratory? As a sanctuary?
•    What are ways by which Thoreau “surveyed” the Pond?
•    How can we use Thoreau’s example of keen observation with our own students?
•    How did Thoreau contribute to the field of science in his lifetime and after?
•    What does it mean to be “part and parcel” of nature?
•    What is the process that Thoreau went through in his work as a writer?
•    What was the significance of Thoreau’s experience at Walden?
•    What is the significance of the book Walden for our students at different levels?

Sites to Visit: 
•    Walden Pond State Reservation
•    Thoreau Institute/Walden Woods Project

Selected Readings: 
•    Thoreau, “Where I Lived and What I Lived For” and “Spring” from Walden 
•    Thorson, selections from The Guide to Walden Pond
•    Cramer, intro. to Walden: A Fully Annotated Edition

Wednesday: From Revolution to Revolution in Concord     July 17 and 24,2019

This middle day revolves around an historical overview of Thoreau and his town, providing context for discussion on the connections – physical, social, and symbolic – between the writer and his setting. We will be working with scholar Bob Gross and local site staff to examine Thoreau’s relationship to the rich history of Concord, and how he used that history – which we will experience through documents, objects, structures and landscapes – in his writing.

8:30 to 10:00        Session with Dr. Robert Gross on Thoreau and his town

10:15 to 12:15        Three groups visiting stations: object lessons with Curator David Wood, Thoreau through his objects,
using objects in the classroom  (10:15-10:45; 11:00-11:30; 11:45 – 12:15)

12:30-1:30              Lunch and time with teacher facilitator

1:30 to 2:00          Walk to Old Manse

2:00 to 2:30         Discussion with Bob Gross under tent at Old Manse: what to investigate

2:30 to 5:15          Exploration of Manse/North Bridge/River/Robbins House area in three groups rotating (2:30 – 3:15; 3:30 – 4:15; 4:30 – 5:15)

5:15                         Wrap-up and preview of Thursday. Supper on your own; evening free

Framing Questions: 
•    What was the relationship of Thoreau’s own history to the history of his hometown?
•    How did Thoreau make use of the symbolic landscape of Concord?

Topics to be investigated:
•    What are the major ways in which Thoreau connected to his town?
•    How did Thoreau’s personal history and Concord’s community history intersect?
•    What do we mean by “from Revolution to Revolution” in the town of Concord?
•    How did Thoreau respond to the rapid social changes of his time?
•    What were his strategies for “living deliberately”?
•    How can the Old Manse, the Robbins House, the North Bridge, and the Concord River sites help us to understand Thoreau’s connections to the history of Concord?
•    What did each of these sites mean to Thoreau?
•    How can objects associated with Thoreau help us to understand the man and his legacy?

Sites to Visit:
•    Concord Museum
•    Old Manse
•    Robbins House
•    Minute Man National Historical Park/North Bridge
•    Concord River

Selected Readings:
•    Walls, selections from A Life 
•    Gross, selections from The Transcendentalists and their World 
•    Thoreau, “Sounds” from Walden 
•    Emerson, “Nature”

North Bridge, photo by Jayne Gordon

Thursday: Confronting Injustice: Antislavery         July 18 and 25, 2019

Now we consider Thoreau’s connections to the social and political climate of Concord and beyond, as we deepen our understanding of what he meant by living deliberately. Led by scholar Sandy Petrulionis, we will discover the individuals, institutions, issues, and incidents that inspired or provoked some of his most fiery passages. Changing temperature, we end with an evening literary “salon” for intellectual (and other) refreshment.

8:30 to 11:00       Session with Dr. Sandra Petrulionis at Concord Museum (Civil Disobedience, Slavery in Massachusetts, A Plea for Captain John Brown)

11:00 to 12:30     Walk back to Concord Center for lunch on your own

12:30 to 2:00      Exploration of Concord Center sites associated with Thoreau and antislavery with Sandra Petrulionis and Jayne

2:00 to 3:00        Session on resources at Concord Free Public Library

3:00 to 7:00        Free time (Teacher facilitator will be available)

7:00 to 9:00       “Salon” Evening at Concord Art: Thoreau’s Observations and Our Own with Mike Frederick, Rich Higgins, Kate James

Framing Questions: 
•    What was Thoreau’s relationship with his conscience? His community?
•    How is it reflected in his actions and reflections on the role of an engaged citizen?

Topics to be investigated:
•    How was the Thoreau family involved in the reform movements of the nineteenth century? What specific role did they play in the antislavery movement?
•    How can we trace the continuity and the changes in Thoreau’s position on the role of the individual and the state by comparing “Civil Disobedience,” “Slavery in Massachusetts,” and “A Plea for Captain John Brown?”
•    What specific incidents in the life of the town and of Thoreau related to antislavery are associated with the jail site, the Town Hall, First Parish Church, and other sites in the center of Concord?
•    Who were Thoreau’s heroes and why?
•    What role does conversation play in the development of ideas?

Sites to Visit:
•    Concord Center historic landmarks: jail site, Town House, First Parish Church
•    Concord Free Public Library
•    Concord Art

Selected Readings:
•    Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience,” “Slavery in Massachusetts,” “An Appeal for Captain John Brown”
•    Petrulionis, selections from To Set This World Right: Thoreau and Antislavery in Concord

•    CFPL website on “Emerson’s Concord”

•    Walls, selections from A Life


Friday: Thoreau’s Timeless Questions            July 19 and 26, 2019

On this final day of the workshop, we engage in exercises that will help us to apply the experiences of the week in two ways: connecting to the landscape as a teaching tool, and connecting to our students through the questions Thoreau asked. We will makes use of an outdoor riverside classroom, as well as the farmhouse where Thoreau was born, to discuss our discoveries and our curriculum projects.

8:30                        Walk or bus to Calf Pasture conservation land at confluence of Concord’s rivers with Jayne, teacher-facilitator, and Rich Higgins

8:45 to 10:45        Outdoor classroom session

10:45                      Bus to Thoreau Farm: Birthplace of Thoreau on July 12, 1817

11:00 to 12:00      Orientation and Lesson planning group work at site

12:00 to 2:00       Picnic and discussion of Thoreau’s questions and our students and teacher projects led by Jayne and teacher-facilitator

2:00 to 2:45          Final reflection on living deliberately

2:45 to 3:15        Informal group evaluation of Living Deliberately workshop

3:15 to 3:30        Bus back to Concord Center and close of workshop

Framing Questions:
•    What is Thoreau’s relationship with us?
•    How do the questions he posed in his time and place relate to the questions we have in our time and place?

Topics to be investigated:
•    How can we make use of the landscape as a teaching tool?
•    How can we apply Thoreau’s observational skills with our students to create outdoor classrooms?
•    What criticisms have been levelled at Thoreau in his time and ours? Do they have validity?
•    What impact has Thoreau had on environmental and social justice movements?
•    What are the key elements of Thoreau’s legacy?
•    What makes Thoreau approachable? What poses a barrier?
•    What are Thoreau’s most enduring ideas?
•    What is the impact of those ideas on our students?
•    How will we engage our students with those ideas?
•    What does it mean and what is required to live deliberately?
•    How has our experience of this week changed our perception of Thoreau?

Sites to Visit: 
•    Calf Pasture Conservation Area
•    Thoreau Farm: Thoreau’s Birthplace 7/12/1817

Selected Readings: 

  • Thoreau, “Walking” and “Life Without Principle”
  • Finley, selections from “Legacy” section of Thoreau in Context
  • Schulz, “Pond Scum”

For the full reading list, click here.