|Middle and High School||Language Arts, Social Studies|
• Describe the qualities exhibited by a hero.
• Identify and generate a list of words and phrases used to describe heroic behaviors.
• Identify local heroes to honor in a poem.
• Express how writing a poem helps them understand a concept, compare objects or ideas,
or provide a new way to look at a subject.
• Create an illustrated poem using the words or phrases identified in the prior activity.
• Ppublish their poems.
Citizen Service Before Self Honoree Focus:
Any Citizen Service Before Self Honoree may be considered for this lesson.
For the Teacher:
This lesson could be used after students learn some basic forms of poetry and some literary devices
like concrete and abstract words and imagery.
The teacher and students will discuss the concept of a hero as defined by the Medal of Honor values
of courage, citizenship, patriotism, integrity, commitment, and sacrifice.
Here are some examples:
CITIZENSHIP—e.g. a feeling of belonging
COURAGE—e.g. standing up to fear
INTEGRITY—e.g. doing what’s right
SACRIFICE—e.g. giving up something
PATRIOTISM--e.g. supporting freedom
COMMITMENT—e.g. not giving up
Whole Group Activity:
The teacher will choose a Citizen Honoree vignette to view. After watching the vignette, the students
will use their prior knowledge of acts of sacrifice, citizenship, courage, integrity, patriotism, and commitment
in order to spark a class discussion of what they feel it takes be called a hero. The teacher will model
the Vocabulary Web Graphic Organizer by having students think of words and phrases that describe
the Citizen Honoree’s actions.
The teacher will ask students to name some heroes in our society. A hero may be a person who is admired
for great courage, special achievements or noble character; or a person who, against the odds, tries when
others have already tried and failed. Such perseverance sometimes makes heroes.
Why are they considered heroes? Why do we admire them? The teacher will ask students to decide why people
who have these values are considered to be heroes. Ask students to think about all of the different things that
people do to help others in their community. Make a list of the names on the board.
Examples could be firefighters, police, service members, parents who volunteer at school, people who bake
for bake sales, artists, people who help the elderly, people who plan celebrations for everyone to enjoy, e.g.,
4th of July, First Responders, people who teach: Sunday school, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H, kids who
help younger kids learn something new, people who help their neighbors, people who coach: Little League,
soccer, football, baseball, etc.
Students will use the Vocabulary Web Graphic Organizer to generate words and phrases about someone
they personally know and consider as a hero. Ask students to write down a few concrete words or phrases
about this person. The teacher will ask students to think about what it is that makes this person a hero.
Students will select some of their newly generated graphic organizer words and phrases to create a poem
in a poetry form that the teacher chooses. Students can illustrate their poem. Ask them to draw the person
or bring a photo of the person, if possible, to the next class session.
Small Group Activity:
Students will share their hero poem with each other in pairs. The teacher will ask students to look for similarities
in the poems.
Students will share their published poems with the entire class. Students will publish their poem and send it
to the hero they chose. The teacher will ask students what they learned about heroes.
Download lesson to view an example of a possible format for a Student Poem with a sample of a completed poem.