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|Project Title: ||Ordinary Heroes|
|School Year: ||2006|
|School - District:||Sharon High - Sharon|
|Contact Name:||Michael Murray; Sue Waltuck|
|Contact Email:||firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com|
|Content-Area(s):||English Language Arts|
|Community Need:||Education, (civic engagement)|
|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 yearlong study, students examine the nature of heroism and establish criteria for assessing heroic acts using such virtues and 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.
|The Community Need the Project is Meeting:|
The Ordinary Heroes initiative began in response to a fourth grade students brave announcement of his HIV-positive status. His teacher, Sue Waltuck, seized the opportunity to engage her students in a discussion about the qualities of a hero and acts of bravery committed by ordinary citizens on our communities. As a result, the Ordinary Heroes initiative has been established for Ninth and Fifth grade students to recognize and honor community heroes with whom they have identified as “Ordinary Heroes.” Unfortunately, society typically promotes famous people as heroes, overlooking-or paying lip service to -the many ordinary citizens who make extraordinary contributions to their community.
|Service Component: |
Throughout the yearlong project students gain an understanding of the complexities involved in managing, even in 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:|
Sharon High School 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: |
students, teachers, heroic citizens
|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:|
Evaluations are made through journal entries and class discussions. Ways of improving inter-grade activities are cataloged and implemented in future discussions; Rubrics are used to evaluate student essays and presentations; Teachers check for assigned specific details included in the interview and summary. Students verbally critique other group's presentations, specifically looking for incomplete information; Accuracy of student information is identified through quizzes, class discussions, and by verification by the interviewees; All essays are peer edited and evaluated by teachers on the basis of coherence, a clearly focused main idea, and specific supporting details; Students compare and contrast their first and last essays to determine how their concept of a hero has evolved.
|Challenges/Solutions Identified by District:|
Challenges exist regarding funding costs associated with 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.