The Thinker/ Rodin

Rodin’s famous sculpture depicts a person deep in thought. We connect between the sculpture and the process of cheshbon nefesh.

Resource Ages: 9-11, 12-14


The Thinker, Auguste Rodin 1904

Foundations for Planning

Essential Questions

  • How can I be the best “me” this year? In class, at home, on the playground, etc?
  • What resources support/enable/inspire my growth?
  • How do I grow as a result of the Jewish calendrical cycle?

Content Questions Related to the Essential Questions

  • Why is it important to reflect and think about our actions?
  •  How does thinking help our future behavior?

Background for Teacher

Read about the sculpture.

Read about the sculpture.

In-Depth Discussion
Suggested Activities
Further Study

Click here to view our consolidated list of suggested interactive pedagogies for classroom discussion.

  1. This man seems to be thinking about something really important. What things about the way he is sitting tell us that he’s deep in thought?  
  2. Where do you usually do your serious thinking?
  3. When you need to really think about something “big”, where do you go to think? What does your body language look like when you are thinking hard?
  4. What kinds of “big things” do you think/wonder/worry about?
  • Ask the students to photograph their “thinking place”. Print the pictures and ask the students to fill out thinking bubbles around the picture: What are some of their thoughts coming up to Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur (goals, regrets, problems in the world, family issues, etc.)
  • Explore Body Language. The haftarah on Rosh Hashana tells us that Eli misunderstands Hannah’s intentions when she is praying to God for a child. Ask students to demonstrate what different emotions, ideas, intentions look like (e.g. happiness, concentration, anger, etc.). 
  • Study the resource The shofar – an alarm clock, which describes how the sound of the shofar can encourage us to engage in soul-searching.
  • Read the story A Retrieved Reformation by O. Henry, which tells the story of a man who wants to change his life.
  • Read the poem I Walk Down the Street by Portia Nelson, which discusses the autonomy of our actions and how we can make changes in our lives.