Breakwater first and second graders are involved in a months long integrated unit on heroes.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines hero as “a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability”.
Breakwater first and second graders collaboratively defined hero as “people who change their world and community”.
To kick off the unit, the classes brainstormed what they thought made a hero and talked about traits of a hero (for instance: brave, courageous, selfless, kind, strong, thoughtful, helpful, generous, etc.)
Together the class read a biography of Abraham Lincoln, and asked: is he a hero? Yes. Then they identified the facts about this hero. What did he do that was heroic? What were some of his heroic traits?
With this “hook” (an engaging activity at the start of an investigation that ignites student interest and curiosity), students were really excited to explore a variety of books on heroes. After a few days of browsing the books, they each chose an individual that interested and inspired them to study further.
When the first and second graders’ Learning Buddies next visited, each student was paired with a sixth grader who either read their hero book to them or listened to them read. This was followed up with a discussion, recording of facts about each hero, and note taking that identified specific heroic deeds and traits.
As 1/2 teachers Julia and Andrew continue to facilitate this study, the idea of heroes closer to home will be introduced: first studying someone well known, then heroes within our community, and finally: how can we all be heroes and help?
Images of first and second graders’ Hero Trading Cards: On the cards, the front of each shows a portrait of the hero and a defining character trait. On the back, students have listed facts and heroic actions from their research on their hero with assistance from their 5 and 6th grade Learning Buddies.
Learning Buddies at work: