The past few class days have included a great deal of lecture on what Transcendentalism is, from the philosophy, to the religion, to the literary theory. It is a new way of thinking that students may not agree with, but should understand. It truly is a way of thinking that very much still exists today (like all of our other -isms). A modern "transcendental" thinker would be Dr. Wayne Dyer, as well as others like those behind 'the secret'.
Students have worked in small groups on a worksheet on Emerson's "On Nature" (having read it last week individually) and have jigsawed his "Self-Reliance". Wednesday is a pop quiz on "Self Reliance" (main ideas include: trust thyself, non-conformity, society is against the individual, work to your full potential, and to be great is to be misunderstood).
Following that, we'll move into Thoreau's "Walden" selection in the text book. In fact, Thursday is the vocabulary quiz on the list of words and definitions I provided students. I expect that Friday we'll watch a National Geographic video with Leslie Neilson that very much mimics Thoreau. It's both gross and beautiful, the essence of nature for transcendentalists, who see all as beautiful if a person is really looking closely.