Lesson plan

Read about and Discuss Historic Heroes

In this lesson plan, students will discuss characteristics of a hero and how to get information from texts to understand why a person is considered a hero. Partner discussions will help students have a deeper understanding.
Grade Subject View aligned standards
  • Students will be able to read and comprehend informational texts about heroes and discuss their ideas.
(5 minutes)
  • Display photos of heroes that are relatable to your students. Some ideas are sports heroes, historical heroes, or community helpers.
  • Ask, "What do all these people have in common?" Lead students to come up with a definition for a hero.
  • Provide a definition if necessary by saying, "A hero is a person that people look up to because they give positive values or ideas to follow, and have noteworthy successes."
(8 minutes)
  • Ask students to name people they think are heroes. While students share names, sort the people into "real" and "fictional" sections in a mind web.
  • Follow-up with more questions about the qualities of these heroes, like things they say and do, and how other people perceive them. Heroes usually overcome obstacles, or challenges that stand in the way of goals. A person's reaction to these obstacles or hardships shows their heroic characteristics.
  • Use student input to create a list of heroic characteristics, which are admired quality traits that make an individual different from others. Some options for the list could include: hard-working, creative, patient, selfless, resilient, persistent, and risk-taker.
  • Add specific heroic characteristics to the mind web and connect a mentioned hero's name to the characteristics.
  • Explain that heroes can be renowned for their successes, whether they are inventors or athletes, or they can be famous for the heroic action they took in the face of danger or hardship (e.g., military personnel, firefighters, police officers, etc.).
  • Tell students they will read about a heroic figure and look for obstacles the person endured and the solutions they created to overcome their hardships. Students will then discuss their findings with their partners by asking and answering questions about the hero to gain a deeper understanding of the hero and text.
(20 minutes)
  • Brainstorm a list of questions students can ask each other when they are done reading the text. Write some of those questions on the board for students to refer to during their partnership discussions. (Tip: You can refer to the questions from the Comprehension Check: Heroes worksheet for additional ideas.)
  • Allow partnerships to choose a biographical text for them to read. (Tip: To ensure all heroes are chosen, provide a limited copy of each of the heroes depending on class size so partnerships will have a good mix of heroes.) During partner work, ask partners to:
    1. Take turns reading one paragraph at a time until they have read the whole informational text.
    2. Reread the text, swapping paragraphs so they are reading a new one the second time around.
    3. Use the Peer Discussions: Ask and Answer Questions worksheet to pose questions and respond to their partner's questions.
    4. Reread the text as necessary to help with their questions and answers.
  • Choose volunteers to share information about their chosen heroes based on their peer discussions. Ask questions like, "What struggles did this person endure? Why do people admire this person? What are some of the heroic characteristics this person showed? Why is the obstacle important to understanding this person's story? How does the person's obstacles relate to what the person is famous for?"
  • Refer to the mind web if students need additional assistance naming a character traits, and add their chosen heroes to the mind web if they are not there already.
(12 minutes)
  • Distribute the Comprehension Check: Heroes worksheet. Review the instructions and any key vocabulary students may not understand. Allow other students to help answer questions that arise about the worksheet.
  • Ask students to reread the same text about their hero independently.
  • Have students complete their worksheet using the biographical text as a reference. Remind students to quote or paraphrase the biographical text if necessary.
  • Tell students to share their completed worksheets with their elbow partners as time allows.


  • Give students the opportunity to create a product that shares information about their hero, whether it is in the form of a portrait or a written essay. Use online tools like an audio recording or creation tool (e.g., Adobe Spark) to create a presentation.
  • Challenge them to create an antihero to their chosen hero. Have them create a Venn diagram of their hero and antihero and then write a paragraph comparing and contrasting the two people.
  • Encourage them to share critical-thinking questions to ask their partners and write them on the board. Some examples include, "Are some heroes respected more than others? Why or why not?"


  • Pair students into mixed-ability partnerships so struggling readers can have support during the reading comprehension portion of the lesson.
  • Role-play heroic character traits of chosen heros to discuss how the words and actions of the person shows their character traits.
  • Allow beginning English learners (ELs) to use their home language before trying to converse in English. Provide vocabulary cards and a glossary for key terms in the lesson. Provide sentence frames or starters for all conversations.
  • Allow students to use an essay map interactive online tool to create an essay about the heroic person they studied.
(5 minutes)
  • Distribute and review the 3-2-1 Assessment worksheet with students to make sure they understand how to complete it and use as an exit ticket.
  • Have students complete the exit ticket in complete sentences. Challenge them to ask a question they have not used so far throughout the lesson or in their partner discussions.
(5 minutes)
  • Choose students to read their question to the class. Answer some questions as a class and allow students to share with partners before sharing aloud with the class. Have students add onto another speaker's comments when you would like additional detail.
  • Make note of questions that require additional research for future lessons, like questions that students struggle to answer or information that is not in the text.
  • Remind students that while there are many types of heroes in the world, most heroes share the experience of overcoming some obstacle or hardship; how heroes overcome hardships is a reason why they are admired.

Add to collection

Create new collection

Create new collection

New Collection


New Collection>

0 items