Heroes Are Made of This: Studying the Character of Heroes

What makes heroes and villains? A six-part unit plan asks young scholars to explore the concept of heroism and the characteristics they consider heroic and unheroic. Groups create character maps that focus on how characters are shaped by appearance, actions, reputation, and cultural norms. Then look at the heroic and unheroic characteristics of a character in a text they are reading. The unit ends with class members creating a Venn diagram that compares characters with each other and/or a text's heroic ideal.

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CCSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas
  • Ask groups to post their word portraits and explain their choices to the class
  • Set aside additional prep time to copy the worksheets, make overheads, and add tabs to computers for the webpages
Classroom Considerations
  • Lessons can be used as a unit plan or stand-alone activities
  • Groups required computers with internet access and the flash plug-in installed
  • The plans are richly detailed and carefully scaffolded
  • The plans can be used with any  literary work that focuses on a heroic character
  • None