Adult Ed
Heroes and Role Models


Activity One: Setting the Stage
Activity Two: A Whole Lot of Heroes
Activity Three: A Hero In Your Life
Activity Four: Culminating Activity

Activity One: Setting the Stage

This activity should get your students’ wheels turning. They get a chance to define some terms, and reflect on many different kinds of role models and heroes.

Step 1Put students in small groups. Each group needs a dictionary. If students all have their own dictionaries, that’s even better.

Step 1 Ask students to look up “hero” and “role model” in their dictionaries.

Ask them to prepare a short presentation to the group defining “hero” and “role model,” including their opinion as to whether there is a difference between the two terms.

Step 3 Students give their presentations. Write their definitions on the board. Note any differences between different definitions.

Step 4 Discuss the students’ opinions on any differences between the two terms. Make it clear that this is a matter of opinion.

Step 5 Ask students to do a short focused freewriting on the subject of “heroes and role models”

Refer to the “Freewriting” unit if you need to:

Activity Two: A Whole Lot of Heroes
Your class will brainstorm four lists. If you don’t have enough blackboard space, use flip chart paper. You want to keep the lists on view for this activity.

Step 1Brainstorm a list of heroes and role models that the students are familiar with, such as celebrities.

Step 2Brainstorm a list of heroes and role models that the students do know, such as family, friends, and/or the community where they live. It's very possible that the students might not know each other’s role models. “My mother” is obviously not the same mother for everyone, but that doesn’t matter.

Step 3 Brainstorm a list of “What we admire about these people” for the celebrities.

Step 4Brainstorm a list of “What we admire about these people” for the list of people the students know.

Step 5 Discuss any differences between those last two brainstorm lists.

Step 6 After the brainstorming ask students to do a focused freewriting called: “My Heroes and Role Models”

Step 7Have students share their writing in small groups. Ask volunteers to read their writing's to the whole group.

Activity Three: A Hero In Your Life

Part One: Picking a Subject

Step 1Give each student a few index cards.

Step 2Ask students to list people they know who have influenced them in a positive way.

Step 3Ask them to circle three who seem the most interesting.

Step 4Ask students to write one of those names on each of three cards.

Step 5Now write a few sentences about each person on the cards.

Step 6Break students up into pairs and have them read their cards to each other.

Step 7 Ask students to pick one person to write more about.

Step 8 Go around the room and ask each student to say whom they are writing about.

Part Two: Writing a “My Role Model” Essay.
First, students are asked to write several chunks about their role model:

Step 1Ask students to write a description of the person: their appearance, their voice, their behavior, and another else that describes the person. This exercise should be one or two paragraphs long.

Step 2 Ask students to write a short history of the relationship with the role model. When did they meet? How did they meet? How have things changed?

Step 3 Ask students to remember an anecdote that involves the role model, and write it down in a few paragraphs. The anecdote should show how this person was of influence or why this person

Activity Four: Culminating Activity
Have a reading celebration:

Step 1 Students practice reading their essays about role models in pairs before the day of the celebration.

Step 2 Supply each student with a stack of note cards or little squares of scrap paper for writing responses.

Step 3Students volunteer to read their final essays to the whole group.

Step 4 After each student reads, the other students write short responses to the essay. The responses get passed in to the reader.


Use the Internet to research role models from the “celebrity” brainstorm list. You can use the same process you used when students wrote about people they know. The difference is that here they are writing about what they have researched, not from their own experience.

Students can write reports about popular heroes and historical figures that they admire.

Students can make displays using photographs, magazine and newspaper clippings, and their own writing.

Web sites you that can help students with their research: