Our Heroes Ourselvesby Billie Jo Grant
Subject Arts - Media, Arts - Visual, English/Language Arts, Social Studies
Students, by participating in the online The MY HERO Project, explore a teacher directed
range of heroes and heroic behaviors.
As they identified and researched heroes from the nation and world at large, as well as
local and regional heroes, students learned to recognize and appreciate “unsung” heroism
in themselves, at home, at school, and in their community. The unit is centered on cross age
groupings, and includes online and real time research, as well as various
presentations, including those of outside visitors.
After three years of completing this project successfully within a classroom, a vision
was born to bring The MY HERO Project to everyone in school ultimately with each
person realizing that there is a HERO within themselves. Students and staff were
encouraged to use their interests, gifts, and talents to express themselves. This project
involved the entire school community and a group of dedicated professionals willing
to work collaboratively with students from kindergarten to fifth grade in cross-age
groupings. (Our kindergarten students worked independently due to their scheduling
and participated in our family finale night during Education Week.)
Activities and Procedures
Step 1: Teachers were asked to host a group of multi-grade students (teachers
determine range). Teachers identified a “type” of hero- News, Musical, Young
Heroes, Peacekeepers/Freedom, Sports Heroes, Animal Heroes, Earth-Keepers,
Family, Community, Literary, Historical/Military, Faith, Human Rights.
Step 2: Interest was sparked throughout the school for MY HERO.
-teacher written short stories about their heroes were read out over the morning
announcements or homework page- ask parents/family about their heroes
-Hero themed music was played in the classroom
-”What makes a Hero” bulletin board was displayed
-Smart Notebook pages were created to spark discussions within the classroom
Step 3: Students were surveyed and asked to identify their top three interest
categories from the teacher groupings. This survey was led and tallied by 5th grade.
Step 4: MY HERO launch in the gym with a teacher created Hero slide show.
Students were introduced to their project group and group leaders.
Step 5: Over a two week period, groups met for 6 hours total. Each teacher discussed,
what makes a hero what are the characteristics of a hero? After identifying a specific
hero research began. Heroes were explored and written about. Each student created a
piece of art to display at our finale night. Each student was also asked how they could
be a hero or how are they a hero?
Step 6: Culminating Hero display night. Each “hero”, which was everyone, was given
a small chocolate bar (or badge/metal) with the quote- “we are the heroes of our own
story”. The hallways were decorated with paper plates describing each groups hero.
Our gymnasium was filled with hero art and stories. There was also student singing
and dancing performances.
Service projects. Example: Earthkeepers collected bottles to raise money to fund their
solar powered cars. Animal Heroes collected leashes, collars, toys and treats for
Humane Animal Rescue Team. Artist Heroes recorded their singing and sold CDs to
raise money to help with the Japan earthquake.
Remembering: Activities Materials
1. Listen to songs about Heroes. 1. Music source- ITunes or CDs
Discuss words that are common in all the songs.
2. Variety of Graphic Organizers 2. Google Links
3. Watch short video clips 3. myhero.com or youtube.com
4. Collage of heroic traits 4. magazines, glue, paper, scissors
Cut out pictures and words
5. Hero Bingo 5. teacher or student created bingo
Understanding: Activities Materials
1. Read stories out-loud 1. newspapers, books, magazines
2. Reader’s Theater 2. online sources
3. Build a Hero Sandwich (real or fake) 3. real sandwich supplies, or paper,
write own recipe for being a hero glue, markers
4. Personal dictionary or thesaurus 4. paper and pens/pencils
5. Real life hero backgrounds. Find picture of hero, 5. picture of hero, background
glue it on paper and draw the setting and people paper, pencils, glue, markers,
they work with in the background. other art supplies
6. Outside Visitors 6. arrange for outside visitors
Applying Activities Materials
1. Full-body heroes, trace and write traits 1. butcher paper, pencils, paint,
2. Hero Jeopardy 2. Student or teacher created, moderator, teams
3. Paper quilt based on heroes and their qualities 3. paper, glue, fabric, art supplies
4. Digital Storytelling Use PowerPoint with voice to tell story of your hero 4. Computer, PowerPoint
5. Comic Strip 5. Computer, Comic Life (computer program)
6. 3D Graphic Model 6. mobile supplies
7. Tableau of Hero 7. Costumes, props, camera.
Create scenes that show what the heroes you are learning background materials, paint about do.
Take photographs. paper,
8. Portraits 8. paper, paint, markers, colored pencils, pastels, watercolors, etc
9. Collage of pictures and symbols that represent 9. newspaper, magazines, paper,
hero you are learning about. Add words markers, pencils, scissors, glue
Analyzing Activities Materials
1. Compare and contrast hero and idol 1. research, paper, pencils
2. Hero vs. Villain 2. paper, pencils, art supplies
Create trading card for made up characters
3. Paper bag puppet of hero 3. brown lunch bags, art supplies
4. Hero survey- older kids ask younger 4. student or teacher created
Evaluating Activities Materials
1. Die-cut cubes of own heroic traits 1. die cuts, art supplies
2. Top 100 heroes 2. paper and pencils or whiteboard
3. Interpret heroic quotes (individual or group) 3. quotes, paper, markers
4. Hero Rules- create a list of rules for heroes. Do 4. paper or poster, marker, pencils
they follow rules, do what they want? Why?
Creating Activities Materials
1. Hero sculpture. Place sculpture on index card 1. clay, index cards, markers that describes them
2. Hero MadLib 2. internet, teacher or student created
3. Quick Write – various topics 3. journals, paper, pencils
4. How can I be a Hero? Presentations 4. written script, pretend (or real) microphone
5. Guest Speaker- creating questions 5. paper and pencil or whiteboard
How to write and ask respectful questions
6. Make real life people into super heroes 6. paint, paper, art supplies
7. Poems, songs, skits 7. student or teacher created