Using the book MY HERO: Extraordinary People on the Heroes who Inspire Themin the Classroom

by Sara Armstrong, Ph.D., The MY HERO Project


The MY HERO Project is an online collection of stories, artwork, and short films featuring heroes through time and around the world. Students share their stories with the global community through the Web site.

The MY HERO Project has recently published a book called MY HERO: Extraordinary People on the Heroes Who Inspire Them, in which some 40 men and women whom most of us would consider heroes in some fashion write about their heroes. This lesson plan provides ways to use the book and its stories in the classroom.

To use this lesson plan, we will assume that you have already spent time with your students working on the MY HERO Lesson Plan: Unit 1: What is a hero? It is imperative that you and your students have a discussion about the characteristics of heroes, and how they differ from celebrities, before engaging in this lesson.



Students will:

1. Increase their understanding of the concept of heroes and heroism.

2. Learn about particular heroes and their heroes.

3. Categorize hero types.

4. Build hero vocabulary.

5. Identify their own living heroes.

6. Participate in writing activities.

7. Contribute a story, artwork, or short film to the MY HERO Web site.

Activities and Procedures:

Step 1: Remind students about your discussion of the characteristics of a hero, reviewing some of the characteristics. (You might build a brainstorm map on the board, overhead, or computer that displays the characteristics.)

Step 2: Introduce the MY HERO book, and read the introduction by Magic Johnson aloud (or have a student read it) to the class.

Step 3: Ask students to comment on the introduction, perhaps adding characteristics of a hero to those already mentioned.

Step 4: Discuss the categories of heroes, and show the students the blank Chart of Book Heroes.

Step 5: Explain to the students that each of them will draw a slip from the basket. They will then read the story written by that person and identify the author’s hero. Next they will start filling in the blank Chart of Book Heroes by adding their author’s occupation, hero, and category. Suggest that those whose authors write about family heroes also add another MY HERO category (e.g., Family/Freedom).

Step 6: After everyone has had a chance to read a story and contribute to the Chart, hold a discussion about the stories. Ask students what they noticed about the story they read. Were they surprised by the choice of hero? Had all the authors actually met their heroes? Is it important to meet your hero? Why or why not?

Step 7: Challenge students to think about a hero in their own lives like the one they read about. For example, if a student read about a family hero, who in his or her family would they call a hero and why? If a student read about a U.S. president as a hero, what other U.S. president might be considered heroic and why?

Step 8: Have students identify a hero they will write about that might be considered for the MY HERO Web site. Provide them the resources and time to write their story, or to develop an art piece, or a short film.

Step 9: Have students upload their materials to the MY HERO Create Program, Virtual Art Gallery, or Short Film Festival.

Step 10: Hold an event with parents and others to hear and see the hero pieces students have developed.

Step 11: Create your own MY HERO page of your students’ work with eCreate. Feature it in your next newsletter or email to parents.



1. Create a Hero Wall. 

Use a whiteboard, or chart paper that can hang in the classroom for an extended period of time. Work with students to create categories of hero words. These might include characteristics or qualities of a hero; relationship with a hero (e.g., mentor, role model); kinds of heroic acts (large and small), etc. Students can add words as they come across them in the stories they are reading. Occasionally discuss how the Hero Wall has grown and how the students’ ideas of heroes have changed.


2. Analyze the Chart of Book Heroes in different ways. 

a. Organize the authors’ heroes into MY HERO categories. What do you notice about the numbers of stories in each category? (e.g., Why do students think there are so many stories about family members?)

b. Build a graph or chart illustrating the kinds of heroes represented in the MY HERO book.

c. Have students think about MY HERO categories that are not represented, and who might be identified in those categories.


3. Have everyone read Elie Wiesel’s piece in the book and hold a class discussion about his comment that it’s not a good idea to call people heroes because of the power it gives them. What if we had no heroes? What would be different?


4. Use some of the student stories to prepare for participation in online collaborative projects and contests such as the iEARN Pearl World Youth News, CyberFair, Doors to Diplomacy. 

Handouts and Resources

MY HERO: Extraordinary People on the Heroes Who Inspire Them book

List or chart of MY HERO categories of heroes

Basket containing slips of paper with the names of contributors to the book written on them

One copy of each story from the book


A Peacemaker Story: Mohandas K. Gandhi

Gandhi Peacemaker Handout

Gandhi Peacemaker Handout Word Bank

Lesson Plan Presentation



MY HERO: Extraordinary People on the Heroes Who Inspire Them
Credit: Amazon Link

Organizer created on 9/8/2020 4:25:21 PM by Laura Nietzer

Last edited 9/8/2020 5:08:28 PM by Laura Nietzer