K-12 Lesson Plans from Summer NEH Workshops in Concord

In both 2017 and 2019, the Concord Museum offered weeklong summer workshops for K-12 teachers from across the country funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Most of the faculty were also members of the Thoreau Society, and the project director Jayne Gordon is currently head of the Thoreau Society Education Committee. The Society is grateful to the Concord Museum for allowing us to share with our expanding community of educators the lesson plans generated by the workshop participants in Living and Writing Deliberately: The Concord Landscapes and Legacy of Henry Thoreau.

The teachers created curriculum units based on one of the following seven threads, adapted to appropriate grade levels, subject areas, and learning styles. Using as a base the observations Thoreau made and the questions he asked, the lessons focused on Thoreau’s inquiries, and their relevance to what students worry and wonder about today. They also answered the timeless question we all grapple with: Why does Thoreau matter?

  1. Being Awake, Aware, and Alive
  2. Hearing that Different Drummer
  3. Examining Desperate and Deliberate Lives
  4. Living in Society
  5. Living in Nature
  6. Practicing Simplicity
  7. Choosing Life with Principle


NEH 2017 Lesson Plans

Lesson Title
Teacher Name
Grade Level Taught
Link to LessonCourse Subject
Thoreau as EngineerMary ZdrojewskiPK-12Zdrojewski Lesson PlanInformation Literacy
Be Awake, Be Aware, Be AliveSusan RichardsonK-2Richardson Lesson PlanLibrary Skills
Being Awake, Aware, and AliveNancy LoggheK-5 Logghe Lesson PlanLibrary Skills
Learning How to be Present in a World of StimulationKelly MatthewsK-5Matthews Lesson PlanMultiple Subjects
We All Beat to Our Own DrumsJennifer Surgenor2-5Surgenor Lesson Plan
Surgenor Questionairre
Thoreau Drummer Quote
Observations and Descriptive WritingAnnette Luongo3Luongo ODW Lesson PlanEnglish
“Simply” Area and Perimeter – Math with ThoreauLori Holquin3Holguin Lesson PlanMath
Native Americans & ThoreauAnnette Luongo3Luongo NAT Lesson PlanSocial Studies
Introducing Thoreau’s Concepts to Low Incidence Special Education Students Through a Read Aloud of the Book WonderCynthia Geesey3-5Geesey ITC Lesson PlanMultiple Subjects
WonderCynthia Geesey3-5Multiple Subjects
Magnify Your Mind with the Private EyeAshley Barefoot4-5Barefoot Lesson PlanGifted Education
Getting on the Right TrackKathryn Hammel4-6Hammel GRT Lesson Plan 
Hammel Part I
Hammel P. II
Hammel P. III
Multiple Subjects
Science-Based JournalingAnita Oudega4-6Oudega Lesson PlanScience
How can where we are change who we are? and What is Justice?Alicia Serafin5Serafin Lesson PlanEnglish as a Second Language
Being Awake, Aware, and AliveTheresa Roh5Roh Lesson PlanMultiple Subjects
Intro to JournalingCarol Grossi5Grossi Lesson PlanSocial Studies and English Arts
Hearing that Different DrummerJoanna Joaquin5-8Joaquin Lesson PlanAdministrator
When is it Right to do the Wrong ThingStacey Callaway6Callaway Lesson PlanEnglish
Seeing the Life That Surrounds UsShirley Daniels6Daniels Lesson PlanEnglish Language Arts
Being Awake, Aware, and AliveBeth Corey6Corey Lesson PlanMultiple Subjects
Home PoetryMaria Gross7MGross HP Lesson PlanEnglish
Practicing SimplicityKate Rapp7Rapp Lesson PlanReading English
Using Walking to Strengthen Our WritingClara Talley7Talley Lesson PlanGifted Education English
Being Awake, Aware, and AliveBeth Curtin7Curtin Lesson PlanLanguage Arts
Being Awake, Aware, and AliveElizabeth Curtin7E.Curtin Lesson PlanLanguage Arts
Choosing a Life with PrincipleKathryn Clark7-8Clark Lesson Plan History
Practicing SimplicityPenny Kinchen8Kinchen Lesson PlanEnglish Language Arts
Learning From and With Henry David ThoreauRachel Nichols8Nichols Lesson PlanHumanities
“Economy” as an Introduction to WaldenDonna Przybojewski8Przybojewski Lesson Plan Part I
Przybojewski Lesson Plan Part II
Przbojewski Lesson Plan Images (Pending)
Przybojewski worksheet
Language Arts
Look Closely at your HomeLaura Glismann8Glismann Lesson PlanScience
Living and Writing DeliberatelyWinifred Dick 8-12 WDick Lesson PlanEnglish
Being Awake, Aware, and AliveArielle Trager9, 10, and 12Trager Lesson PlanEnglish
Living DeliberatelyJamie Gowdy9, 11, and 12Gowdy Lesson PlanLiterature
Examining Desperate and Deliberate LivesErin Haemker9-11Haemker Lesson PlanEnglish
Present MomentDamian Ubriaco9-11Ubriaco Lesson PlansEnglish
Radicalizing and Idea: Thoreau, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm XRobin Flattery9-11Flattery Lesson PlanEnglish
Concord and ThoreauRobin Fogel-Shrive9-11Fogel-Shrive Lesson PlanEnglish Language Arts
Henry David ThoreauKathy Weingand9-11Weingand Lesson Plan

Weingand Slides

English Language Arts
Examining Desperate and Deliberate LivesBarbara Whitlock9-11Whitlock Lesson Plan History
PoetryMark Bauer9-11Bauer Lesson Plan
Bauer Found Poem
Walden to ChinatownWei Liu9-12Liu Lesson PlanChinese
Writing as a way of Being Awake, Aware and AliveLiza Birnbaum9-12Birnbaum Lesson PlanEnglish
Living and Writing DeliberatelyBonnie Klatt9-12Klatt Lesson PlanEnglish
Calculating Life CostBrian Scannell9-12Scannell Lesson PlanEnglish and History
Living in SocietyLauren Farber9-12Farber Lesson PlanEnglish and Literature
Journaling for Self DiscoveryJennifer Markert9-12Markert Lesson PlanJournaling to Self Discovery
Living in SocietyThomas Fabian9-12Fabian Lesson PlanLanguage and Composition
Alive Awake Alert: Journaling in Nature and Nature WritingJoseph Grissom9-12Grissom JNN Lesson PlanScience
Alive Awake Alert: ObservationJoseph Grissom9-12Grissom Obs. Lesson PlanScience
Being Awake, Aware, and AliveAgatha Wozniak9-12Wozniak BAA&A Lesson PlanSocial Studies
Living in NatureAgatha Wozniak9-12Wozniak LiN Lesson PlanSocial Studies
Examining Desperate and Deliberate LivesAgatha Wozniak9-12Wozniak ED&DL Lesson PlanSocial Studies
A Life of PrincipleAgatha Wozniak9-12Wozniak LoPr Lesson PlanSocial Studies
Artists in NatureMarisa Flint9-12Flint Lesson PlanVisual art
Being Awake, Aware, and AliveCarolyn Smiley10Smiley Lesson PlanAmerican Literature
Being Awake, Aware, and AliveEmily Ray10Ray Lesson PlanEnglish
Sketching DeliberatelyLynn Miller10Miller Lesson PlanVisual art
Living DeliberatelyDamian Ubriaco10-11Ubriaco Lesson PlansEnglish
Living in SocietyLiz Sokolov10-12 Sokolov Lesson PlanAmerican Literature
Living DeliberatelyErik Borne10-12Borne Lesson PlanEnglish
Living in NatureGregory Brandt10-12 Brandt Lesson PlanEnglish
Ideas for Teaching the Legacy of Henry David ThoreauElizabeth Levinson10-12Levinson Lesson PlanEnglish and Literature
Being Awake, Aware, and AliveCara Lane11 Lane Lesson Plan
Essay Grading Plan
American Literature
Examining Desperate and Deliberate LivesLisa Neu11Neu Lesson PlanAmerican Literature
Nature JournalDamian Ubriaco11Ubriaco Lesson PlansEnglish
Choosing a Life with PrincipleJake Rhoades11Rhoades Lesson PlanHistory
Living in SocietyRobert Pickup11 Pickup Lesson Plan History
PoetryJanelle Ehrhardt11History, Government/Economics
TranscendentalismJustin Schlicher11-12Schlicher Lesson PlanAmerican Literature
Do You Keep a JournalChristine Traxler11-12Traxler Lesson PlanEnglish
Finding the Right SpaceDarrin Berard11-12Berard Lesson PlanEnglish
Examining Desperate and Deliberate LivesJill Mollenhauer11-12Mollenhauer Lesson PlanEnglish
Being Awake, Aware, and AliveSandra Caroscio11-12 Caroscio Lesson PlanEnglish
WalkingDamian Ubriaco11-12Ubriaco Lesson PlansEnglish
LyceumDamian Ubriaco11-12Ubriaco Lesson PlansEnglish
Curating and ExhibitDamian Ubriaco11-12Ubriaco Lesson PlansEnglish
Choosing a Life with PrincipleNadyne Shimada11-12Shimada Lesson PlanEnglish Language Arts
The Literary GardenRobyn Dyba11-12Dyba Lesson PlanLiterature
Reconciling SocietyMary Rose O’Shea12O’Shea Lesson PlanAP Literature & Composition
Being Awake, Aware, and AliveMarie Meyer12Meyer Lesson PlanCreative Nonfiction




NEH 2019 Lesson Plans

Lesson Title
Teacher Name
Grade Level Taught
Link to LessonCourse Subject
The Concord Landscapes and Legacy of Henry David ThoreauJacqueline GregoryPK-4Gregory Lesson PlanElementary
Hearing that Different Drummer: Henry Builds a CabinTina GenayPK-4Genay Lesson PlanElementary
Henry David Thoreau at a Primary LevelZamaria RocioK-1Rocio Lesson PlanElementary
Portraying Nature: Deliberate art making inspired by the writing of Henry ThoreauElizabeth Sobkiw-WilliamsK-5Sobkiw-Williams Lesson PlanVisual Arts
Living Deliberately: Henry Hikes to FitchburgAimee Levesque2Levesque Lesson PlanElementary
Living in Nature: Where is my Walden Pond?Randolph Costilow2-6


Costilow Lesson PlanElementary
Living in Society: Global CitizenshipCatherine Christensen3-5Christense Lesson PlanElementary
Choosing Life with PrincipleKatie Hartman3-5Hartman Lesson PlanElementary
How does paying more attention to our world change our writing?Annmarie Rad3-5Rad Lesson PlanElementary
Repurposing and Old book into Something New – A Nature Journal!Beverly Black4Black Lesson planElementary
Thoreau’s Relationship with NatureClara Defilippis4Defilippis Lesson PlanElementary
Thoreau and His WorkJodie Lang4Lang Lesson PlanElementary
Living in Nature: Looking at the Natural World with both “scientist eyes” and “poet’s eyes.”Rosemary Barilla4Barilla Lesson PlanElementary
Observing and Measuring with ThoreauElizabeth Jorden5Jorden Lesson PlanElementary
Henry David Thoreau: Place, People, PurposeTed Donahue5Donahue Lesson PlanElementary
Choosing Life with Principle: How can we do routine tasks in more mindful, conscious way?Elaine Phipps5Phipps Lesson PlanElementary
Awake, Aware, AliveDanny Carratala6Carratala Lesson Plan English Lanuage Arts
Practiving Simplicity (And Planting a Seed)Elizabeth Ellingson6Ellingson Lesson PlanEnglish Language Arts
Using Thoreau’s Words and Way of Living to Inspire Creativity in our WritingKerri Packwood6Packwood Lesson PlanEnglish Lanuage Arts
Living in Society: Conforming to ExpectationsKaytlin Yachim6Yachim Lesson PlanEnglish
A Multimodal Urban WaldenCourtney Beavan6-7Beaven Lesson PlanScience
Hearing that Different DrummerJosh Gilgoff6-8Gilgoff Lesson PlanEnglish Language Arts
Living Deliberately – ThoreauStephanie Dixon7Dixon Lesson Plan English Language Arts
My Wild Life: Choosing Individualism in SocietyVanessa Carroll7Carroll Lesson PlanEnglish
Journal UnitJeannine Mendoza7Mendoza Lesson Plan Language Arts/Social Studies
Living in NatureDanielle Snyder7-8Snyder Lesson PlanHumanities
Walden as Performance Art?Anne Wenzel7-12Wenzel Lesson PlanCreative Writing
Using Paired Passages to contemplate “Hearing that Different Drummer”Anne Pennypacker8Pennypacker Lesson PlanEnglish Lanuage Arts
Within and Without: Living in and out of Society with Henry David ThoreauErik Mortenson8-12Mortenson Lesson PlanEnglish
Being Awake, Aware, and AliveGary Wyss8-12Wyss Lesson PlanEnglish
Choosing a Life of PrincipleRobert McClung9-11McClung Lesson PlanEnglish
What is the relationship of man to society? Thoreaut’s TextsDeborah Posner9 and 11Posner Lesson PlanEnglish
Obey or Rebel: Obeying Authority or One’s Conscience after reading Antigone and “Civil Disobedience”Ryan Smith 9, 11, 12Smith Lesson PlanEnglish
Henry David Thoreau UnitDavid Duer9-12Duer Lesson PlanEnglish
Thoreau, Social Location, and the Personal Statement Merry Gordon9-12Gordon Lesson PlanEnglish
Being Awake, Aware, and AliveKristin Pollack9-12Pollack Lesson Plan English
How did Thoreau’s writing and work influcence the American Environtmental movement?Laura Gallant9-12Gallant Lesson PlanEnvironmental Technology
Thoreau: Desperate and Deliberate LivesBradley Fletcher9-12Fletcher Lesson PlanHistory
Examinging Desperate and Deliberate Lives: Running a Thousand Miles for FreedomSarah Jelinski9-12Jelinski Lesson PlanInstructional Services
Living and Writing Deliberately: The Concord Landscapes and Legacy of Henry ThoreauKathy Carrol9-12Carrol Lesson PlanLibrary
Living and Writing Deliberately: The Concord Landscapes and Legacy of Henry ThoreauRebecca Newland9-12Newland Lesson PlanLibrary
Living Life Deliberately – Journal ActivitiesBarbara Fowler9-12Fowler Lesson PlanSocial Sciences
Deliberate ChoicesStephanie Gronholz10Gronholz Lesson PlanEnglish
Connotative and Denotative meaning: an intro to reading and thinking expectations through Transcendentalist literatureShannon Martin10Martin Lesson PlanEnglish
Into the Wild: Chris McCandless as a reflection of Henry David ThoreauPaula Priour10-11Priour Lesson PlanEnglish
Transcendentalism’s Enduring PrinciplesLyndsay Thompson10-11Thompson Lesson Plan
Citizens of Concord! Sophocles’ Antigone and Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience”John Rearick10 and 12Rearick Lesson PlanEnglish
Henry David Thoreau – Curriculum UnitChristopher Donovan11Donovan Lesson PlanAmerican Literature
Into the Wild and TranscendentalismCharles Cangemi11Cangemi Lesson PlanEnglish
Focus: Being Awake, Aware and AliveMaura Dwyer11Dwyer Lesson PlanEnglish
Whole Life Examined: Transcendentalist Ideas in the Modern EraDavid P. Iverson11Iverson Lesson PlanEnglish
Henry David Thoreau and The Green New DealCarol Graham11Graham Lesson PlanEnglish Literature
Thoreau & WordsSerrin Anderson11-12Anderson Lesson PlanEnglish
The Language of Nature: An exploration of the individual and society from Transcendenalism to TodayKerri Bundy11-12Bundy Lesson PlanEnglish
Thoreau’s Rhetoric in Civil DisobedienceRebecca Randolph11-12Randolph Lesson PlanEnglish
Living and Writing Deliberately: The Concord Landscapes and Legacy of Henry ThoreauAmy Krukowski11-12Krukowski Lesson PlanEnglish
A Dead Cat at Last: Connecting Thoreau’s Resistance to Dystopian TextMichael Arthur Soares11-12Soares Lesson PlanEnglish
The Individual and SocietyCrystal Spackman11-12Spackman Lesson PlanEnglish
Contact! Thoreau’s Most Pivotal PassageTim Larsen11-12Larsen Lesson Plan English
Podcasting Like ThoreauKim Rott12Rott Lesson PlanEnglish
Walking as a Data Collection ProcessDr. David Valdez12Valdez Lesson PlanIB Psychology