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|Project Title: ||Ordinary Heroes|
|School Year: ||2006|
|School - District:||Heights Elementary - Sharon|
|Contact Name:||Susan Waltuck|
|Content-Area(s):||English Language Arts|
|Community Need:||Community Activism and Citizenship|
|Brief Description of SL Project: |
The Ordinary Heroes Project is implemented by the 9th grade class of Mr. Michael Murray at Sharon High School and the 5th grade class of Ms. Susan Waltuck at Heights Elementary School. In this year-long study, students examine the nature of heroism and establish criteria for assessing heroic acts using such virtues as courage, kindness, dedication and selflessness. In addition, they conduct a community search for ordinary heroes who meet their established criteria. The culmination of this project is the creation of an Ordinary Heroes Hall of Fame and an awards ceremony to honor the local citizens selected for their contributions.
Unfortunately today's society typically promotes famous people as heroes, overlooking, or paying lip service to the many ordinary citizens who make extraordinary contributions to their community. Most students leave their community unaware of who those people are and how their generous and unselfish acts enrich the qualities of life for others.
|The Community Need the Project is Meeting:|
The Ordinary Heroes Project serves to educate students about community activism and citizenship. By learning and talking to local heroes, students get a better understanding of what it means to do one’s part for the community while widening the definition of hero to include people who have not been adequately recognized for their heroism.
|Service Component: |
Throughout the yearlong project students gain an understanding of the complexities involved in managing even a small town like Sharon and an awareness of the tremendous amount of volunteer work performed by citizens in order to keep town programs running smoothly. In the process of learning how ordinary citizens make a difference and celebrating their contributions, the students' sense of pride in their community and belief that they too can make a contribution is heightened.
|Connections with Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: |
English Language Arts: Language Strands- Standard 1: Discussion, Standard 2: Questioning, Listening, and Contributing, Standard 3: Oral Presentation, Standard 4: Vocabulary and Concept Development, Standard 6: Formal and Informal English. Reading & Literature Strands- Standard 8: Understanding a Text, Standard 9: Making Connections, Standard 13: Nonfiction, Standard 15: Style and Language. Composition Strands- Standard 19: Writing, Standard 20: Consideration of Audience and Purpose, Standard 21: Revising, Standard 22: Standard English Conventions, Standard 23: Organizing Ideas in Writing, Standard 24: Research, Standard 25: Evaluating Writing and Presentations
|How Youth Voice Helps Shape Project:|
Students were awarded the opportunity to use their own heroes as the center of their projects. Students collaborated on peer reviews of their projects enforcing English Language Arts standards. In this sense, youth voice was enforced and empowered through collaborative efforts in their projects.
|Student Reflection Component: |
Students write essays about people they know personally who might be heroes and read their essays to the class; Students interview local citizens to discover information pertaining to heroes and prepare a summary of the interview to be presented to the entire group for discussion; Students will identify the basic facts and essential ideas in what they have read, heard, or viewed.
|Community Partners Involved: |
Community partners were students, teachers, and heroic citizens. Partners could also include the local news media who publicized the heroism or local police or fire departments.
|Demonstration/Celebration of Students' Work: |
The culminating event is a formal ceremony organized to honor the 10 local residents. Each Ordinary Hero is presented a citation from the local state senator and and representative and has his or her name engraved on a plaque which hangs in the Sharon Public Library. Town officials, community members and former heroees join in the recognition ceremony. Local and regional newsparers cover the event. The ceremony is documented on film and shown by the local cable station to the entire community.
|Evaluation of Project's Impact:|
Evaluation could be conducted by after writing to the local news media to inform them about new-found Ordinary Heroes. Students could look for articles written or broadcast that highlight everyday heroism.
|Challenges/Solutions Identified by District:|
Challenges exist regarding funding costs associated wth transporting 20 elementary students to the high school every 10 days. This has been addressed by obtaining grants to cover these expenses.
* NOTE: This project summary was written by the district/community. Any text in italics was added or modified by the Department (ESE). Most of these projects were supported with Learn & Serve America funds distributed through the ESE.