Heroes Around Us
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- Standards |
- Resources & Preparation |
- Instructional Plan |
- Related Resources |
Students will explore the distinction between a hero and an idol. Based on collaboratively established criteria for heroism and characteristics of heroes, students will select, read about, and report on a hero. Students will identify how their hero matches their criteria and characteristics. Hero reports will be compiled into a class book. As a follow-up, the teacher will read aloud and lead a discussion of the poem Heroes We Never Name to emphasize the fact that there are heroes all around us. Students will write about a hero they know and describe this person's noble qualities and deeds.
From Theory to Practice
- Students have an opportunity to interact with new text formats (i.e., multiple media) that require new thought processes.
- Students are engaged with challenging, authentic information sources that are used extensively in the "real world."
- Readers must adopt a more critical stance toward text or risk being tricked, persuaded, or biased.
- The teacher acts as a facilitator—guiding readers to online texts, modeling how to use comprehension strategies flexibly, and scaffolding learning opportunities embedded within these sources.
Common Core Standards
This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.
This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.
NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts
- 1. Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
- 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
- 4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
- 5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
- 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
- 12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).
Materials and Technology
- Chart paper, overhead transparency, or white board
- Copy of poem Heroes We Never Name by M. Lucille Ford
- Overhead transparency of poem Heroes We Never Name
- Student journal
- Collaboratively generate a description of the term heroism and characteristics of a hero
- Read for the purpose of examining how the person described in their selection reflects the description and characteristics
- Take notes related to their purpose for reading
- Use their notes to construct a focused summary
- Present their information clearly to classmates
- Listen effectively to hero reports to identify additional criteria to define heroism as well as additional characteristics of a hero
- Share interpretations after listening to a teacher read-aloud of the poem, Heroes We Never Name
- Construct a journal entry that describes a hero they know and give support for their opinion
|1.||Compare dictionary definitions of hero and idol with students and clarify the distinctions. Explain that anyone can become a hero when they act courageously and nobly. Define words for students using Webster's dictionary:
Hero - a person of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his or her brave deeds and noble qualities.
|2.||Tell students they are going to do a "think, pair, and share." They will first think of their own answer to the question posed, then they'll be given a minute to share their thinking with a partner (pair), and finally, students will be called on to share the ideas they and their partner had with the whole class.
|3.||Ask students to think about the following questions for one minute:
What is heroism?
|4.||Have students pair up and share their ideas with a partner for one minute.
|5.||Partners report ideas to the whole class, giving the reasons for their thinking.
|6.||Lists these ideas on chart paper, transparency, or white board using the following format:
|7.||Go to Heroism In Action and, as a class, listen to the opening video clip. Ask students what characteristics named here match ones they've identified. Ask if this video presents new ones that should be added. Explain that this list is tentative and can be expanded or revised as they read about and discuss people who have done heroic deeds.
|8.||Have students identify a modern-day person who has such characteristics, giving examples to support their opinion.
|9.||Make a list of these identified "heroes around us."
|10.||Have students respond to the following statement in their journals:
My behavior reflected a characteristic associated with a hero when....
|1.||Review the definition of a hero and the characteristics of a hero that the class generated in the previous lesson.
|2.||Explain to students that they will be selecting and reading about a particular hero today. They will determine how this person's deed(s) demonstrated heroism and how his or her behavior reflected characteristics of a hero.
|3.||Direct students to the following websites:
My Hero. Provides an extensive list of hero biographies. Click on the directory link for a complete list of categories, or try some of the ideas below:
|4.||Have students select one hero to read about. Make sure that each student has a different hero to report on.
|5.||Instruct students to read about their hero and take notes using the Heroes Around Us Note-taking Form.
Notes should address as many of the following as possible:
|6.||Circulate among the students as they read and record notes to provide assistance as needed.
|7.||Have students pair up and practice reporting on their hero using the notes they took. The focus will be on the information in the topical areas for note taking and, especially, how the person's life and deeds reflect heroism and hero-like characteristics.
|8.||Instruct the students to summarize their notes into a report on the Heroes Around Us Summary Form. Later, these summaries will be edited, word-processed, and collated into a class book of heroes.|
|1.||Students will report on their hero to the class using the summary they composed. As classmates listen, they should consider whether additional descriptors could be added to the "Heroism is...." list or additional characteristics could be added to the Characteristics of a Hero web.
|2.||Invite students' comments on additional descriptors and/or characteristics to be added. Add those for which there is consensus.
|3.||Introduce the poem, Heroes We Never Name by M. Lucille Ford (using the tranparency). Explain that the poem talks about people who have not always been recognized, but their heroic deeds have made us a nation. Be ready to explain who these heroes are.Read the poem aloud and invite discussion in response to the question posed, as well as other reactions.
|4.||Give each student a copy of the poem. Ask students to write a response to the following in their journal.
Identify a hero you know and describe why this person is an "everyday" hero. What lesson does his/her life teach us?
|5.||Have students share journal entries with the rest of the class as time permits.|
- Have students use the Essay Map to outline and extend their summaries. Students should then revise and edit their hero reports, which are then compiled into a class book for the school library.
- Students follow up with additional reading about heroes (fact or fiction). Examples include:
Out of War: True Stories of the Children's Movement for Peace in Columbia. S. Cameron. (2001).
A Special Fate: Chiune Sugihara, Hero of the Holocaust. A. Gold. Scholastic.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. C.S. Lewis. Macmillan. Additional books in Narnia series.
The Hero and the Crown. R. McKinley. Greenwillow Books. Newberry Medal Book.
Harry Potter series. J.K. Rowling.
The Hobbit. J.R.R. Tolkin. Ballantine Books, Inc.
The Homecoming. C. Voigt. Fawcett.
Student Assessment / Reflections
Assess students' ability to:
- Collectively brainstorm meaningful definitions for heroism and characteristics of a hero from their own experiences and expand on these following engagement with the electronic media used.
- Read with comprehension as reflected in successful completion of the note-taking sheet and their ability to report to a partner.
- Write a complete, well-constructed hero report to minimally meet level 3. (Use the rubric for written report.)
- Write journal entries that clearly address the question/topic posed. These are judged as overall— exemplary, acceptable, or unacceptable.
- Present their hero to the class in a manner that holds the audience's attention and provides a complete summary of the information. (Use the rubric for presentation.)