Indigenous People's Day and Columbus Day

A Lesson Plan about Heroes

by Allan Fisher

  1. Teacher asks class, "Do you have a hero?" T. tells students to think about a hero or heroine and be ready to talk about the person. (T. can be ready to tell about a hero or heroine, too.)

  2. T. elicits students' suggestions and makes a list of heroes/heroines on board. Students explain who these people are and what they did.

  3. Teacher writes on board, "What are the characteristics of a hero/heroine?" Working in small groups or pairs, students tell about their hero or heroine and explain why that person is a hero/heroine in their opinion.

  4. Whole class discusssion. T. elicits from students special characteristics of heroes, listing these characteristics on the board.

  5. T. asks students why there are fewer students than usual in class that day. T. asks students to free write for 5 minutes about Columbus Day. (T. writes on board, "Who was Columbus? What did he do? Was he a hero in your opinion?)

  6. Group work. Students talk about Columbus.

  7. Class discussion about Columbus and Native Americans. T. asks students about Columbus and Native Americans:

    • Who are they?

    • Where did they come from originally?

    • Are there Native Americans in San Francisco?

    • Why might some people think of Columbus as a hero?

    • Why might some people think he was not a hero?

    • What would you say to an Italian-American who was listening to this conversation?

  8. Writing Assignment: Ask students to write a composition about their hero or heroine. Ask the students to make sure they explain where and when the person lived, what their background was, why they became famous, and why you consider the person to be a hero or heroine. Students can also choose to write why they don't have a hero or heroine.

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