Be a Hero

Posted by on Apr 12, 2015 in Classroom Uses of Real Heroes |

Story by Amy Evans of John Beck Elementary School, Lititz, PA   Inspired by 50 American Heroes Every Kid Should Meet by Dennis Denenberg and Lorraine Roscoe “Be a Hero” activities use American heroes to provide students with specific, positive feedback about their behavior. “Be a Hero” activities can also be used to teach a variety of standards in Social Studies, English Language Arts, and Counseling. The activities can be incorporated and adapted easily to meet the needs of students. Hero Display There is a Hero Display in our classroom. I chose American heroes from the book 50 American Heroes Every Kid Should Meet by Dennis Denenberg and Lorraine Roscoe. The display includes each hero’s name, picture, and virtue. The display also includes the book 50 American Heroes Every Kid Should Meet, other books and information about the heroes, and a poster of the virtues and their definitions. Tickets As students in our classroom display the virtues of the heroes, they earn a ticket. For example, a student showing “patience” would earn a Susan B. Anthony ticket. A student showing “honesty” would earn an Abraham Lincoln ticket. Download sample tickets and a virtues chart  Students can refer to the hero display to find out information about the hero and the virtue they emulated. Ticket Journal Students keep track of their tickets in a “Ticket Journal” that they bring home at the end of each month. In this journal, students record the date and reason they earned each ticket. They also reflect on the past month, and create a goal for the upcoming month. Monthly Drawing As students earn tickets, they write their names on the back and put them in a container for a drawing to be held at the end of the month. Hero Game Board Students also keep track of their earned tickets on a “Hero Game Board”. They earn points during the month and can “spend” their points at the end of each month. Learning Activities Each week we focus on one hero. During the week we read about and discuss the hero. Students document their learning on graphic organizers. They also participate in a variety of activities based on the heroes, including the monthly game. Additionally, we discuss and learn about the heroes as they relate to our Social Studies, ELA, and Counseling...

Read More

Tips for Creating a Heroes Fair

Posted by on Mar 28, 2014 in Classroom Uses of Real Heroes |

Tips for Organizing a Heroes Fair What is a Heroes Fair? Most educators have attended, organized, or participated in a science fair at some point in their lives so for a “big picture” overview of a heroes fair, think about a science fair; however, instead of student displays of the procedures and results of a scientific investigation, substitute pictures and information about the life and work of a person who made (or who is making) a positive difference in the world. A heroes fair is often the culminating activity of a heroes unit or is the end product of lessons on using media center resources to research a topic. Either way, students research a hero and create a display of materials that help communicate what they learned. These projects are then shared with an audience usually made up of students from other grades, classmates, and/or parents. Where did we get these tips for organizing a heroes fair? We went to the experts- i.e. teachers who have done it, but we didn’t ask enough questions because most sections of this document could use more ideas. Teachers who haven’t done an heroes fair but who would like to try really need sample handouts/ letters/ rubrics etc, so if you have experience organizing a heroes fair and are willing to share tips, please contact Dr. Denenberg! (For e-mail see CONTACT on the home page.) Who are the heroes that the students research? We asked teachers who have organized heroes fairs for advice on whether or not to let students choose any hero to research. Most agree that while an introductory activity can include brainstorming names of heroes and then discussing what makes someone a hero, for the heroes fair students should be given a list of heroes to choose from for their research project. This avoids the problem of students perhaps choosing popular entertainers or sports figure “heroes” who might not, in fact, be good role models. Unsurprisingly, since the teachers we surveyed have used this web site, most recommend the book 50 American Heroes Every Kid Should Meet by Dennis Denenberg & Lorraine Roscoe as one of the best collections of biographies of role models for whom kids can easily find information. However, you don’t have to buy the book to acquire the list of names, (although you’re missing out on an excellent resource if you don’t!) The list of names is found on a web site called National Heroes Day (http://www. under “Activities for Recognizing National Heroes Day” and is also found on this web site ( at the end of the heroes fair tips. The 50 American Heroes Every Kid Should Meet are, of course, only American heroes. For a good international list, one science teacher we talked to used the scientists featured in a series of volumes from the Core Knowledge Foundation by E. D. Hirsch Jr....

Read More