Lesson Plan: Heroes

Day 2/3: Language Arts

  1. Topic: Historical Heroes and Character Sketches
  2. Objectives: Students will be able to…
    1. Brainstorm and identify heroes of the past and be able to explain why they are heroes.
    2. Construct a character sketch and be familiar with a variety of resources.
    3. Create short presentations by taking on the character of their historical hero.
    4. Understand the connection of the heroes’ impact to their personal lives.
  3. Materials Needed:
    1. Books:
        i.Let it Shine:Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters
ii.Lives of Extraordinary Women


    1. Visual items to play the character of Harriet Tubman
Eg) cotton, black painted face, whip, sugar lumps, old sack, map of her journey
    1. http://www@myhero.com
    2. http://www@myhero.com/New_Directory/directory_table.asp
    3. Rubric sketch
    4. Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
  1. Strategies:
    1. Introduction—Dress up as Harriet Tubman and use visual materials that identify who she was, what she likes, and what she did. (This can be used with any hero of the teacher’s choice) Use the story short biography and character sketch of her to get ideas of the significant things that she is recognized for. (Click under the website http://www@myhero.com/New_Directory/directory_table.asp and go under lifesavers. Next click under Harriet Tubman and a character sketch will appear. The short story can be read from the book, Let is Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters.) Talk about the time period she lived, the setting, how she was treated, and how she escaped. Illustrate to the students how she felt as a person enslaved by whites. Explain why she is considered a hero. Include famous quotes such as, “There was one of two things I had a right to, liberty or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other.” Make sure you use vivid language, which will enable the students to visualize her. (This will be a good introduction for Social Studies topic on Harriet Tubman.)
    2. Ask the class (in character) about why people consider Harriet (me) a hero. “You want to know why…you tell me.” Have open discussion about the contributions she made. What was her risk? (She risked her life countless times and helped rescue about 300 slaves by the Underground Railroad.)
    3. Read to the class a biography on a couple other heroes such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Joan of Arc, Sojourner Truth, Mother Teresa, or any other. (See under Lives of Extraordinary Women. Day1books.
    4. Mini-lesson--Character Sketch—Show examples of character sketches from the website: (Hint: Go to http://www@myhero.com, scroll down to directory, choose a category to discover more about that hero and research deeper into the person’s life). Allow them to explore through the books at the Hero learning center, or brainstorm about a historical hero that sparks their interest. Ask students what they know about character sketches. Things to include on their character sketch: -graphic organizer, resources used (at least 2), when did the person live, physical description, what events may have influenced his/her life, interesting facts about the person’s life and (or) famous quotes, accomplishment, how has the person influenced modern day lives, and how has the person impacted themselves. They also must include a picture of the hero and at least three visual aids for presentation. Encourage students to browse through various picture books on their hero.
    5. Student should brainstorm possible visual images to use in describing their character. They will present their character in first person to the class for the next Language Arts class period.
    6. Introduce to them the book, Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse and give them a brief description of the setting and time period that the book takes place in. Ask them to share what they know about the Depression and share brief facts about life during that time. (The economy was very low, it was hard to find jobs, there were many dust storms in the country and people had dust everywhere in their clothes and homes, by the 1930s the soil in Oklahoma and neighboring states had become loose and dry, wheat crops failed, and nearly fifty million acres were severely damaged before conservation measures helped put an end to the storms that threatened the lives of people and animals as well as the crops.) Have them begin to read the section of the free verse poetry book, “Winter 1934 to Summer 1934.” Have them think about how the main character in the book, Billie Jo, is a hero.
    7. Closure—Students will reflect on the heroes that they read about in class. Have them write about why they chose the hero they did, what they like about the assignment and what they did not enjoy about the assignment. Have them also reflect on characteristics of their hero that they wish to attain or that they identify in themselves.
  2. Assignment: Student presentations, gathering materials for character sketches, and begin reading Out of the Dust.
Extension Activity:  Have students browse through picture books about heroes and analyze the content.  Have them locate books about heroes for them to read for the younger grades.  Also, have the students research about the time period that the hero lived in and explore more facts about the society and the way people lived during that time.
  1. Evaluation:
Informal evaluation of students’ attentiveness, use of time researching, and participation of questions in class.  Also see rubric under Rubric Sketch for evaluation on character sketch and presentation.  Points from the Rubric Sketch will be recorded and compiled in a portfolio.  Class participation points will be recorded separately for daily work.
*Special note:  It is optional to have the students create character sketches without the character presentation if time is limited.  Students can simply present their character sketch to the class from a third person voice and use visual images to make their character more real to the class.