What is a Hero?: Exploring the Concept of a Hero
Text Set for The Odyseey by Homer
created by Lara Hawley
The theme of What is a Hero? can be explored from many different viewpoints. Students might look at how society portrays a hero and what expectations we, as members of this society, have. This can cause individuals to examine the ethnicity, gender, and culture of modern day heroes. Forcing them to decide whether or not society’s idea of a hero aligns with their own personal definitions of a hero. The question of What is a Hero?, allows students to make associations to their own lives. They can describe people they know and defend whether or not they fit these conceptions of heroes. It prompts the students to question their original impressions of a hero.
The unit and theme will be investigated through the lens of the novel The Odyssey. This text is complex and often difficult for young students to engage in. It incorporates challenging language, but my hope is that through this theme, students will become more interested in the characters and the storyline. The additional video clips, charts, and other resources will help the class make sense of the book.
As I was generating my Text Set, I tried to include resources that would spark interesting conversations in the classroom. For example, I included the “Pep Talk from Kid President” to force my students to look at themselves as heroes. I also incorporated the “7 Types of Heroes” so the students could broaden their idea of what a hero is and compare different types of heroes. I hope that students will rethink the characters of the Odyssey during this unit and decide whether or not they should be considered heroes.
The Dark Knight Rises
“The Charge of the Light Brigade” by Alfred Lord Tennyson
“A Hero” by Robert William
“Thank You Ma’am” by Langston Hughes
“Initiation” by Sylvia Plath
“Cranes” by Hwang Sunwon
“Kill Your Heroes” by AWOLNATION
“We Could Be Heroes” by Alesso
PowerPoint (Teacher Created/Shared)
- What is a hero?
- What makes someone a hero?
- Do you have to be perfect to be a hero or can heroes make mistakes?
- Can you be a hero because of one heroic act?
- Are there different types of heroes?
- Is heroism an innate or learned quality?
- How are you a hero?
- Who is your hero and why?
- Make a list of top ten qualities of a hero–from most important (1) to least important (10).
- Which of the characters in the Odyssey is the most heroic?
A special thanks to Lara for this phenomenal text set! We think this text set would be useful for many anchor texts! What do you think?