Discovering Our Heroes

Your Name: Sharon Cutz
School: Livingstone Adventist Academy
E-mail Address:
Published Date: November 17, 2010
Subject(s): language arts, social studies, technology, art
Intended Grade Level(s): 8

Description: A concluding project for the heroes unit where students explore what it means to be a hero, develop a criteria for a true hero, select a person they consider a hero, and then celebrate their hero by creating a video using Animoto.

Pathways Theme, Goals, and Skills:
Theme: Heroes
  • cross curricula approach to literacy that gives students an opportunity to become deeply involved in learning
  • students create meaning through writing and conversations with one another
  • offers a management plan that includes whole class, small group, and individual student activities

Target Areas (skills):
Comprehending, studying, and evaluating ideas
  • determine meaning of unfamiliar words and phrases using context clues and resource materials
  • listen to, contribute, and stay on topic when participating in discussions
  • analyze, compare, and contrast character traits
Sentence skills
  • use new vocabulary in concept maps, sentences, and discussion

Faith Integration:
Who we choose as our heroes reveal what our values, morals, and priorities are. We should carefully choose our heroes to be people of integrity and high standards, who inspire us to become better people, and draw us closer to Christ.

Technology Standards (National Educational Technology Standards for Students):
Creativity and Innovation: Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.
  • apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes
  • create original works as a means of personal or group expression

Communication and Collaboration: Students use digital media and environmentals to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.
  • communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats

Technology Operations and Concepts: Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations.
  • understand and use technology systems
  • select and use applications effectively and productively
  • transfer current knowledge to learning of new technologies

Books, references, worksheets.
  • The Unlikeliest Hero by Booton Herndon
  • To read about other people's heroes:

  • computers with Internet access
  • digital cameras
  • construction paper
  • markers and colored pencils
  • thesaurus
  • chart paper for Graffiti Activity

Teacher Preparation:
  • Teacher will test student computers to ensure Animoto program works
  • Teacher will introduce Animoto by showing a premade video: Animoto video
  • Teacher will lead students through two activities that will help students define who their heroes are
  • Teacher will assess students' knowledge on using digital cameras and give instructions if needed
  • Teacher will give instructions on how to use Animoto
  • Teacher will have art supplies available for student use

Student Preparation:
  • Students must know how to use a digital camera
  • Students must know how to download and save digital pictures to a file
  • Students must know the steps on how to use Animoto
  • Students must know how to use a thesaurus


The Unlikeliest Hero: A look at Desmond Doss and what makes him a hero
  • Students work with a partner to discuss the heroic traits of Desmond Doss
  • Students use a thesaurus to look up words synonymous with hero
  • Students begin brainstorming people who they consider heroic

United Streaming: Listen to the views of others on who their heroes are
Video Clips to share with class (note: you must have an active account with Discovery Education to access):
United Streaming
  • Who Are Your Heroes?
    • Lewis (3:09)
    • Representative Regula (1:26)
    • Representative Hobson (2:55)
    • Tubb Jones (2:02)

Graffiti Activity: A Discussion on the Importance of Heroes
This lesson was retrieved from and is from the packet: "My Hero: A Guide for Teachers and Afterschool Educators." The "Graffiti Activity" lesson is on page 5. Students work in groups and respond to a series of four questions that pertain to defining a hero and identifying the traits of a hero. The groups move about the room, carousel style, to four posters that address the four questions.

Story Map
  • Students create a storymap to organize and illustrate the order of their photos and words for their video
Art and Creativity
  • Students will artistically sketch 5 words (synonymous with hero) using bubble letters and decorate with color and pattern
  • Students will take digital pictures of their 5 words
  • Students will take digital pictures of their heroes or download pictures from the Internet

Digital Photography
  • Students will take digital pictures of their words and their hero (or download them from the Internet) and save them to a file on the computer
  • Students will upload pictures to Animoto and follow the steps to create a video
  • Students will share their video with a partner for peer-editing
  • Students will share their finished product with the class

Differentiated Instruction:
  • Advance learners can be required to add additional words and images to their video
  • Students who lack artistic skills may type their words rather than sketch and color them
  • Slower workers can be paired with faster workers to create the artistic words, and then each student will use the words in their individual videos

Multiple Intelligences:
  • Students use a thesaurus to look up synonyms
  • Students decide on which words best fit their hero
  • Students will organized information (words and images) in a logical sequence
  • Students create props explaining subject matter
  • Students will take digital images of props and download them on computer
  • Students will select a musical selection to enhance their video
  • Students will work individually and in groups to create images
  • Students will create a video using Animoto to display information
  • Students will collaborate among peers while creating their video including peer feedback and peer editing
  • Art supplies will be available for student use
  • A bulletin board titled: "Discovering Our Heroes" will be decorated with pictures of various heroes as well as words that are synonymous for "hero."

  • Teacher will pre-assess students' work habits and skill level through classroom observations to determine what differentiated instructions will be necessary
  • Teacher will assess students' skill level on digital photography in an oral question and answer format
  • Teacher will assess students' final product (Animoto video) using the following rubric: