An Approach to Using MY HERO in the 7th to 10th Grade Classroom
by Susanne Nobles
, Fredericksburg Academy
Area: English/Language Arts
Level: 5-8, 9-12
By using the MY HERO Website, students bring their study of ancient and/or classic heroes into their own worlds. Students begin with a study of the hero, such as King Arthur (or any suitable hero from the literature you teach), and work to apply and expand the hero traits he exemplifies into their own world. Ultimately, the students discover their own hero qualities and new modern heroes to have in their lives.
WATCH VIDEO: Ms Nobles' students give feedback from their experience in using the MY HERO Website.
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- To discover hero traits
from the past and apply them to the modern
- To discover a personal
- To write an engaging
and concise descriptive essay
- To develop Internet
- To develop technology
skills through the use of the MY HERO process:
saving and citing Web images, citing Websites,
- The Once and Future
King or any suitable novel with a distinctive
hero character (Some traditional titles for
9th graders are A Separate Peace,
Lord of the Flies, Romeo and
Juliet, or Call of the Wild.)
- Internet access for
both teacher demonstrations and student use
- A computer for each
student and the teacher
- A computer projector
- Optional: the computer
brainstorming software, Inspiration
Day #1: Establishing Hero Traits
- Have the students complete the hero brainstorming sheet with a partner (Appendix #1)
- Discuss their answers on the hero brainstorming sheet guiding them towards:
- a generic definition of a hero, tying in the 5 general traits of a hero: Fearless, Applied, Instructed, Tireless, & Humble
- the connections of the King Arthur (or other classic hero) hero traits to modern day heroes
Day #2: Introducing the MY HERO Project
To do this lesson, you will need to have established an account for a hero page on the MY HERO site under your name for demonstration purposes.
- Discuss the MY HERO assignment sheet (Appendix #2).
- Start your students on the path of discovering their own heroes:
- The students take out their hero notes from the previous class as a starting point for their hero definitions.
- They create their own personal hero maps using the spider map/webbing brainstorming style (the computer program Inspiration is a great way to do this). On these maps, they should leave their center circles empty as they do not yet know who their heroes are. All around this empty circle they should choose traits that they feel their heroes should have (see sample map, Appendix #3).
- After they have completed this first layer of traits, the students complete a second layer of their hero maps brainstorming what types of things this hero might do to show the traits they chose. This layer will give them search terms to begin finding people who meet their hero traits (see sample map, Appendix #4).
- Once the students have completed their maps, the students pair and share their maps to see if there are any traits they want to add to their own maps.
- As the last step of the map, students brainstorm what type of people might hold the traits on their maps, putting these ideas into the center circle.
- Students may complete their maps for homework or the next day if they do not finish in class.
Day #3: Beginning the Hero Search
- Have your students complete their map work from the day before if it was not finished as homework.
- Have your students begin searching for a person to fit their hero qualities using their ideas in their center circle as search terms on the Internet (see suggested Web sites, Appendix #5) with the goal of having their choices by the next lesson. You may decide to give more than one class period to this research or to assign it for homework.
Day #4: Researching the Heroes
- Complete the “Researching Your Hero” sheet (Appendix #6)
- Students write down their hero choices.
- Review together the information they need to find for their Web pages.
- Discuss how to write the essay using essay(s) on the MY HERO site as example(s):
- how to link the hero qualities to examples of what the people have done
- how to select and organize the information into a concise 5-paragraph essay
- how to craft the most effective introduction using your own personal hero search to introduce how you discovered your hero
- Begin researching heroes
- Have the students create a folder on their computers to store all of their research data and images.
- Discuss how the students must save their research data and their images along with the Website information and where they found it so that they may upload the research onto the MY HERO site and cite it appropriately.
Day #5: Researching the Heroes, continued
Continue hero research.
Day #6: Researching the Heroes, continued
Continue hero research. You can assign finishing any remaining research for homework.
Day #7: Writing the Hero Essays
- Have the students open their computer folders with their saved research for you to look over while they are writing.
- Begin writing the first draft of the hero essay.
Day #8: Writing the Hero Essays, continued
Finish writing the first drafts and turn them in for teacher feedback.
Day #9: Revising the Hero Essays
- Hand back the hero drafts for them to revise for a final copy.
- You can determine how much time in and out of class you wish to give to complete these final copies. On the due date of the final essay, students need to come to class with the essay, Web links, and images saved in their computer folder.
Day #10: Creating the MY HERO Web Pages
- Create Web pages on MY HERO
- Students turn in their final hero essays for a writing grade (see grading rubric, Appendix #7.) You may decide to have these final copies due a few days before the class is set to upload the pages so that you can grade the essays and make final comments and the students can do a third and final editing before publication. (see sample final essay, Appendix #8)
- To walk them through uploading their information onto the MY HERO Website, you will need a computer and projector. The process is very well-explained by the MY HERO site. Working with 15 students, it takes about 45 minutes to get them through the process.
- MY HERO then uploads the pages onto their Website within a few days, so you will want to plan a future day for everyone to visit the MY HERO site and see their own pages plus their classmates’ pages. To find all of your student pages, type your town name into the MY HERO search engine.
- The descriptive hero
essay (see grading rubric, Appendix
- Successful uploading
of the MY HERO page
“Who Is the Hero?”
Hand-out: “Discovering Our Heroes”
1-layer brainstorming chart example
brainstorming chart example
“Discovering Your Hero”
“Researching Your Hero”
Evaluation sheet for the descriptive essay