Heroes All Around Us
Lesson Plan for Grades 6-8Heroes can be powerful role models that help students develop personal values, build self-identity and create goals. In this lesson, students will learn about successful Asian Americans whose accomplishments all students can appreciate. Students will write a short biography of a hero they admire, which will encourage better research and writing skills. They will brainstorm what it means to be a hero, discuss the heroes in their own lives, and examine how these people influence the goals each student has.
- English Language Arts #4: Communication Skills
- 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.
- Social Studies: from Theme 1 – Culture, Theme 3 – People, Places and Environments
- Experiences that provide for the study of culture and cultural diversity, and experiences that provide for the study of people, places and environments.
- Learn about several accomplished Asian Americans
- Clarify the characteristics of people they admire and why they are heroes
- Practice in-class writing and learn about biographies
- Share stories about local heroes and people they admire in their own families or communities
- Practice research and questioning skills
- Hero cards with photos of five successful Asian Americans
- White board or chalkboard space
- Handout describing writing assignment
- Handout with short samples of strong biographical writing
- Handout describing the interview assignment
SET UP AND PREPARE
- Download the reproducibles.
- Print all the Hero Cards
- Print the "About the Heroes" file. Keep the answer key for yourself, and make enough copies of the handouts for every student.
- Cut all the hero cards in half along the dotted lines to separate the portrait photos on the left from the action photos on the right. Please note which action photo matches each portrait photo.
- Take all the action photos and cut along the dotted lines to separate the description of the activity from the photo.
- Separate the descriptions, portrait photos, and action photos into three piles.
- Create handout with short samples of strong biographical writing.
- Create handout describing the interview assignment
- Hero Card: Dado Banatao (Filipino) (PDF)
- Hero Card: Steven Chu (Chinese) (PDF)
- Hero Card: Yul Kwon (Korean) (PDF)
- Hero Card: Suketu Mehta (Indian) (PDF)
- Hero Card: Betty Nguyen (Vietnamese) (PDF)
- About the Heroes handouts (PDF)
Activity #1: "Asian American Heroes"
- Ask students what it means to be a hero. Is a hero someone who does one thing very well, like being the fastest runner? Is a hero someone who has won a prize? Is a hero someone who has been very brave? Is a hero someone who has invented or created something very important? List responses on a white board or chalkboard. Ask a few students to tell the class about someone they admire and why.
- Distribute the "About the Heroes" sheets to each student. Explain that these are descriptions of five famous people.
- Have students take turns reading each biography aloud. After each biography is read aloud, the students should write the names of people they think fit the description.
- Once all the hero descriptions have been read aloud, have each student pick one of the descriptions and spend ten minutes writing a few paragraphs answering the following questions:
- What makes this hero's description interesting to you?
- Is there anything you dislike about this person?
- In what ways are you similar to this hero?
- In what ways are you different from this hero?
- Post the portrait photos of the five heroes on the wall. Ask the students to think about which description matches each portrait photo. After a minute, students will guess which description matches each portrait. Post the descriptions under the portraits accordingly.
- Ask students if it was easy or hard to decide why each person was famous just by looking at them. Discuss the difficulty and possible discomfort of judging people based on looks.
- Select five students to come to the front one at a time, and give each student an action photo. The student will show the action photo to the class and then post the action photo underneath the matching portrait. Remove the description if it does not match the action photo. The earlier matches may be changed, but in the end five action photos should be correctly matched with five portrait photos. Rearrange the descriptions accordingly. Have students write the correct names of the heroes on their "About the Heroes" sheet.
- Discuss what kinds of clues helped them make the correct matches. Students should share with the class what they learned from the activity and what surprised them about the heroes' stories. Ask students to consider why they may be more familiar with Asian American accomplishments in some areas more than others. What are some reasons for this? Talk about how heroes from all ethnic backgrounds contribute to United States history and culture.
Activity #2: Writing Biographies
- Ask students to think of some people in their lives who are also heroes. This can include their friends, relatives and neighbors. Explain that students will interview one of these people and write a biography.
- Discuss biographies as a genre of writing. It is helpful to provide short samples of sound biographical writing for student reference. Sample discussion questions: What basic information does every biography include? What makes a biography interesting? Is it just the person or the way the biography is written? What are some characteristics of strong biographical writing?
- Develop a list of questions that students will ask their local heroes. Brainstorm with students what makes for an interesting profile and what sorts of things the students would like to know about their local heroes. Create with the class a list of questions that covers the local hero's background, role models, hobbies, and life's challenges, etc. Sample questions: What motivates you to do well? How have you overcome the challenges you have faced? When you were young, what did you want to do when you grew up?
- Distribute the handout describing the interview assignment. Have the students write down all the questions they have agreed to ask their local heroes on this handout. Remind students to take notes during the interview, and encourage them to ask follow-up questions.