I modeled looking up the word heroes in 3 different dictionaries and led a delightful discussion on what heroes are and what heroes aren't. The best "child friendly" definition came from Macmillian First Dictionary (Macmillan Publishing Company, 1990) Here it is:
We discussed what heroes are and why they're not superheroes. We talked about heroes in our families, in our school, and in our town. Then I told them about my hero, my dad. I told them why he's my hero. (because he taught me to inspire kids to be the best they can be.) I told them to think about who their own hero might be, and why that person fits the definition of hero.
While they were at lunch, I typed up Heros Writing Prompt, available here (or click the image) for free! It has the child friendly definition of heroes, and a lead for the children to write about their heroes. When writing time came, they were ready to write. This was the most focused I'd seen this group of children yet this year. They were so focused, that I actually had a chance to sit down with the children and write about my dad. We ended up with a variety of heroes. Lots of moms and dads, but children also picked neighbors, siblings, teachers, and, of course, firefighters and police officers. Some of their explanations were quite touching! It was the first time we had enough writing for a sharing session, and the children were truly interested in each others' work. I was quite proud of them!