Teach everyone from Alexander Hamilton to Michael Jordan in this study of American history by challenging your students to develop and authentically present their own definition of a hero.
2016 Presidential Medal of Freedom cohort
Madam CJ Walker
Dust Bowl survivors
Members of the Greatest Generation
Past Medal of Freedom recipients, including John Glenn, Joe DiMaggio, and Georgia O’Keeffe
Culminate students’ learning with:
- Document-based essay,
supported by an outline template and sentence stems, that requires them to encapsulate their understanding of the entire unit by arguing their answer to the simple question, “What makes an American hero?”
- Nomination statement and thank you card,
supported by rubrics, models, and skill builder mini-lessons, that challenges students to brainstorm, research, and nominate their living hero to the President of the United States to receive the next Medal of Freedom and show their genuine appreciation to their hero
realizing and seeking inspiration from the commonalities among successful people in order to leave one’s own impact on the world.
No nation is founded more on the idea that the commoner has the ability to be great than the U.S. Centuries have proven that hard work, passion, and a few good ideas all mix to form the American hero. Take your students on a quest through our revolutionary foundations and the last century, exploring various spotlights on individuals and groups and asking students to decide, “Are they heroes?”
Leave the boring chronological textbook behind and head straight to the compelling sources that make this question central to our imagination and inspiration as Americans, and empower your students to engage in real conversation with real audiences.
The beauty of a thematic unit is your freedom to mix-and-match, add-and-subtract: each activity is self-contained, allowing for complete customization to meet local standards, time restraints, and interests
Included in this complete unit:
- Unit overview and detailed daily lesson plans
- Graphic organizer, concept definition sheet for unit-long note taking
- Categorizing sources as Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary
- Writing appositive clauses
- Maximizing various search databases
- Creating annotated citations
8 Activities (1-3 class periods each)
- Hook: meet a young boy who's doing amazing things with cardboard and packing tape (answer key included)
- Character: get inspired by the wise words of others in a social Quote Mixer
- Modern Day: learn the criteria in earning the Presidential Medal of Freedom with the 2016 awardees ceremony
- Foundations: learn the backstory of Alexander Hamilton
- Progressive Era: meet, Madam CJ Walker, a business woman and social activist (answer key included)
- Great Depression: see the struggle in surviving the Dust Bowl (answer key included)
- WWII: hear the stories of the Greatest Generation
- Post-War: explore PMF recipients, from John Glenn to Georgia O'Keeffe (answer key included)
2 Summative Assessments
- Essay outline, writing sheets, and CCSS rubric
- Project directions, template, and CCSS rubric
- Links to additional video and online resources
- 4 BONUS Skill Sheets: Appositive Clause, Primary/Secondary/Tertiary Sources, Google News vs. Proquest, and Citation Annotations
- EDITABLE Word Document sample projects and cover letter for mailing off your class's nominations
Only have a week or two? Try the mini-unit version!
Who is My American Hero?:
include concept definition sheet, quote mixer activity, 2016 PMF activity, and complete project. Makes a fantastic end-of-the-year project!