I was a passionate reader of Henry David Thoreau, and getting to read and discuss his book “Walden” with Advanced Placement English students was a true pleasure. But I had long noticed many of the same ideas Thoreau banters back and forth had been stated in similar manner by the stoic philosophers of antiquity centuries earlier.
So in this assignment I had students connect the Roman philosopher Seneca to Thoreau in the 19th century to modern 21st century times my students lived in — identifying and highlighting the intellectual connection between past and present. I enjoyed writing up this assignment! They are philosophical concerns that are close to my heart.
But the task put forth just didn’t come close enough to the purpose of what I was supposed to teach. It was ultimately more about me than about “The American Experience” curriculum for eleventh graders.
So I don’t think I actually ever had students complete it.