Friday, September 9, 2011

Celebrate Heroes

We had a great lesson today.   My alternative to a full fledged "9-11" Lesson turned into a lesson on heroes, and it couldn't have been more successful!

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:

A hero is someone we think of as special because of the good or brave things that person has done.

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!


9 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great lesson. This would work well for Remembrance day here in Canada as well as your Veteran's day too.
    Have you heard of or read, Mary Cowhey's book, "Black Ants and BUddhists"? The back cover recap starts: What would a classroom look like if understanding and respecting differences...were at its heart?
    I really enjoyed the book in which she bases a lot of her lessons about her heroes: Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Martin Luther King Jr. and others.

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  2. Thanks, Sandy! That book sounds quite interesting. I certainly have to admire her taste in heroes!

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  3. Sally, it's great to be a fly on the wall of your classroom to hear the response of the children to the sensitive manner that you dealt with the topic. I'm so proud of them for listening so intently to one another's ideas.

    As the author/illustrator of the picture book, "Red, White and Blue" (which is based on the song I wrote by that name, right after 9-11.)I am amassing a collection of teacher directed responses that help the children grappple with this topic. I am so grateful for your resource.

    I am appreciating getting to know you as a result of your blog.

    Debbie Clement
    RainbowsWithinReach.blogspot.com

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  4. Sally, it's great to be a fly on the wall of your classroom to hear the response of the children to the sensitive manner that you dealt with the topic. I'm so proud of them for listening so intently to one another's ideas.

    As the author/illustrator of the picture book, "Red, White and Blue" (which is based on the song I wrote by that name, right after 9-11.)I am amassing a collection of teacher directed responses that help the children grappple with this topic. I am so grateful for your resource.

    I am appreciating getting to know you as a result of your blog.

    Debbie Clement
    RainbowsWithinReach.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. What an incredible angle to take with this topic. I will definitely remember this next year. Thanks so much for linking up!

    Denise
    Sunny Days In Second Grade

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  6. Thanks, Debbie! The children were truly amazing writing about their heroes! I appreciate your kind worlds.

    Sally

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  7. Thanks, Denise, it was my pleasure!
    Sally

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  8. Hi Sally, I teach children with special needs and spent the weekend thinking over ways to pay tribute to September 11th in a way that was appropriate and understandable for my students. After reading your lesson, I used it as a framework for my students and I was thrilled with the results! Thank you so much for sharing your lesson!

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  9. I just hopped over from the Manic Monday linky and am so glad I did! This is perfect for my Special Needs kids too. Thanks so much!

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