(one class period)
||Begin the lesson by explaining to students that in the
next few days they will be exploring the theme of “heroism,”
based on the documentary HEROES OF GROUND ZERO. Ask students to think
about the word “hero,” and have them respond in their journals
to the following questions:
- How do you define a hero? When you hear the word “heroes,”
what images and thoughts come to your mind?
- Name at least three of your heroes. They can be fictional or
nonfictional. They can be someone from real life such as a well-known
historical figure, or a character from a book, movie or TV show.
- Write down at least three reasons why you
consider these people heroes.
||Divide the class into groups of four or five students.
Explain to students that they will remain in these groups for the
duration of this lesson unit.
|| In small groups, ask students to share their journal
responses with one another. After the students in each group share
their responses, they should come up with the following based on their
- a definition of “hero”
- a list of characteristics that define someone as a hero
- a list of five of the most important
heroes of our time
||Share the group responses with the entire class and
write down student responses on the board.
||Based on the class discussion, solicit the best definition
for “hero” and a list of characteristics that make a “hero.”
||Have students complete the organizer Hero
Analysis Chart. They should complete the chart based on the class
discussion and their journal response. Discuss chart responses. Are
there some general qualities or characteristics that all heroes share?
|| Tell students that over the next few days they will
be working in groups to create a presentation on the theme of “heroism”
for a class project.
||For homework ask your students to start collecting images
of heroes from any printed materials such as newspapers, magazines,
encyclopedias, or Web sites that allow viewers to print their online
digital images. Tell students that they can use cameras (regular or
digital) to take photos of real people or events that help illustrate
the concept of “heroism.” They can also look for music,
movie clips, or artwork that portray “heroes.” Give students
time to scan images for their final project. Make sure students do
not wait until the last minute to scan their images.
| Learning Activities:
| Activity One:
(one class period)
|| Ask students to display the materials
that they have collected for their project on their desks. Ask them
to walk around the classroom for a few minutes to see what other students
have collected. Discuss what types of things they saw and their experiences
in collecting their own materials.
|| Ask students to get back into their groups.
Having already written the names and URLs of the Web sites listed
below on separate pieces of paper, ask each group to pick one piece
of paper and visit the site listed there. (No two groups should visit
the same Web site.) Have your students use the definitions of heroes
that have been discussed to measure the heroes described on the Web
site they visit. Ask each group to answer the following questions
after they finish reading the information on their Web site:
- Does the acknowledged heroic figure fit your definition of a
hero? If your answer is yes, find evidence on the Web site to
illustrate his/her heroic traits. If not, explain why.
- Why do you think our society has chosen
these people to be our heroes?
The American Presidents
The African American World Timeline
Daring to Resist
Freedom Never Dies-The Story of Harry Moore
John Glenn, the American Hero
Heroism in the Modern World
|| After students have finished this activity,
write these two questions on the blackboard:
For homework have students think about these questions for homework
and come to class prepared to discuss.
- Is it necessary that we all have the same definition of what
makes a hero?
- Is it important for young people and
adults to have heroes? Why or why not?
| Activity Two:
(one class period)
Discuss each of the questions assigned for homework with the students.
You can create two groups for each question: students who would
answer “yes” and students who would answer “no.”
After the discussion, ask students if the dialog made them think
differently about the concept of “heroes.” Did they learn
anything? Did they change their position on any of the questions
after the debate?
|| Start viewing HEROES OF GROUND ZERO. Before viewing
the program, give students the organizer Questions for
Discussion so they can think about the questions while viewing
| Activity Three:
(one class period)
Continue viewing the video with your students. After you have
finished viewing, have students complete the Questions for
Discussion organizer you handed out the day before. You may want
to show the video again if students need help in answering the questions.
|| When students have finished answering the questions,
go over their answers. You may want to review relevant parts of the
program with the class.
|| Have a class discussion about how the documentary HEROES
OF GROUND ZERO changed students’ understanding of the concept
| Activity Four:
(two class periods)
Before the class begins, go to http://www.nicenet.org
to set up an online class. Click on “Create a New Class.”
Follow the instructions to register and write down your class name,
class key, user name, and password. Log in and go to the “Conferencing”
link to add topics for your students to discuss. Here are some suggestions:
- Are all heroes courageous? Can heroes be fearful in desperate
- Does a hero have a responsibility to the people who admire him
or her? Why or why not?
- What’s the most important factor in determining if someone
is a hero?
- In what way are the firefighters in HEROES OF GROUND ZERO similar
to or different from the other heroes in American history?
- What is your new definition of a hero?
|| Begin the class by asking the students to go to http://www.nicenet.org.
Copy the class name, class key, user name, and password on the blackboard.
Have students copy this information and keep it in a safe place. Ask
your students to join the class discussion by following these steps:
- Log into the site using the user name and password.
- Join the class by going to the link “Classes” and
- Type in the class key in the box to join the class.
- Once in the virtual class, click the
“Conferencing” link to view the current topics for discussion.
Here they should see the topics you have posted.
|| Have students respond to the discussion questions you
have posted. This can be done individually or as a group activity
(depending on the availability of computers). Demonstrate for students
how to post messages.
- When responding to a discussion question, they must click on
“Post Messages” for the discussion topic they wish to
- If they would like to post their own topics for class discussion,
they need to click on “Create a New Topic,” and then
post their discussion topic.
- They can respond to each other’s comments
by clicking the “Reply” feature right under the subject.
|| Give students enough time to participate in the online
discussions. Join your students in the discussion forums. If they
are not able to finish writing their comments and going through the
questions, they can continue the discussions from any other place
where the Internet is accessible.
|| For homework have students write a story, one-act play,
persuasive or personal essay, or poem to express their reactions to
their online discussions. Their creative work should demonstrate their
understanding of, feelings about, and perspectives on the concept
of “heroism.” Students should use the organizer Writing
Guidelines to help them with this assignment.
| Activity Five:
(one to two class periods)
|| Ask your students to log in to http://www.nicenet.org
to join the class online. Tell them to go to the “ Document”
Link to post their writing piece. First they should click “Add
a Document.” Give a title to the document with the author’s
name next to it. (For example, “There is a Hero in All of Us”
by John Smith) Then, type the essay into the text box. If they have
the writing saved on a disc, they can just copy and paste it in the
text box and click “Add New Document.”
|| Give your students the organizer Writing
Commentary Guidelines . Tell them they will be commenting on one
of their peers’ writing pieces. Have students read over the organizer.
Divide students into pairs and have them comment on one anothers’
writing. They can send their comments to each other by clicking “Send
a Comment to…” after viewing the document. Encourage them
to go back and forth a few times with their partner. Have students
revise the creative writing piece and hand it in the next day.
| Culminating Activity/Assessment:
(two to three class periods)
||Now that students have had a thorough discussion about
heroes and the documentary, HEROES OF GROUND ZERO, it’s time
for them to demonstrate their understanding of the discussion and
how this lesson has affected them, their views, feelings, and beliefs,
etc. Explain that each group will be creating a presentation that
expresses their ideas, impressions and thoughts on the theme of heroism.
||Have students get into their groups and discuss what
they will put in their presentation. Have them look together through
the materials that they have collected individually.
||Their presentation should present what the group knows
or how the group feels about the concept of “heroism.” Here
are some suggestions for what students may include in their presentations:
Ideally, the presentation should be created using PowerPoint or
Hyperstudio. Before they actually begin to create the presentation,
have students come up with a plan for their presentation and an
outline of the content of individual slides.
- Journals reflections
- Thoughts about and/or reactions to the documentary HEROES OF
- People who are heroes in your opinion
- Creative writing done on the theme of “heroism”
- Photographs or other forms of illustration
When the final projects are completed, ask each group to present their
work to the class.
Upon completion of the class presentations, have students do some
reflective writing in their journals about how this lesson unit on
“heroism” affected them.
- Debate this statement: “Heroes are defined by cultural
- Have the class create hero portraits. Put all the written work
and artwork together to create an anthology dedicated to the community