Overview: Free creative writing lesson plan for elementary school and junior high. Here they come to save the day! Students consider the qualities of fictional heroes before writing and illustrating short stories featuring themselves as superheroes helping others.
Subject: ELA: Narrative Writing; 21st Century Skills: Social & Emotional Learning
Grades: 4th, 5th, and 6th
Duration: 2 days
Related Concepts: Creative Writing, Character Education
Students will be able to:
- Recognize admirable qualities in fictional characters as well as themselves in a class discussion.
- Express their understanding of admirable qualities through writing and drawing.
- Apply narrative and creative writing techniques to write an original short story.
Essential Questions: How do superheroes use their powers to help people? How can I use my own admirable qualities to help people?
Vocabulary: hero/heroic, admirable qualities, self-esteem
Common Core Standards Addressed:
- ELA: Writing
- W.4.3, 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 3e
- W.5.3, 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 3e
- W.6.3, 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 3e
- Art supplies
- Images of popular superheroes to project onto the board
- Projection system
- Student computers (optional)
Have learners write a short paragraph about their favorite superhero. What makes him or her admirable? What are his or her superpowers? How does he or she help people?
Discuss the superheroes that students wrote about. If students wrote about the same superhero, see if they agree on that superhero's powers and admirable qualities.
Write some of the discussed admirable qualities on the board, such as helping others, being honest, and stopping people from hurting others. On the other side, write the corresponding superpowers for each hero (e.g. Wonder Woman's lasso of truth shows that she values honesty; Superman's strength helps him save people from dangerous situations, etc.)
Continue the list to include admirable qualities in non-super heroes, including parents, friends, or mentors. Have partners or individuals brainstorm powers that would correspond to these qualities (e.g. a person who is loyal may be able to race to a friend's side in the blink of an eye; a person who cares about the environment may be able to heal animals and plants, etc.) Encourage learners to think about their own admirable qualities as well.
Bring the class back together and have individuals, pairs, or groups work together to create a new superhero based on the admirable qualities and powers listed.
Students work on a short story or comic book using first person point of view describing their superhero and how they would use their superhero abilities to help others. Emphasize that heroes should be original and not connected to learners' favorite superheroes.
Students continue working on their short story or comic book. When they're finished, they can make a short presentation to the class about their superhero, his or her powers, and what he or she does in their story.
Ask students how they can be real life superheroes. How can they use their existing skills and abilities to help others? You can also assign this prompt as a short essay homework assignment.
- Walk around while students are working on their stories and drawings to make sure they understand the assignment and are following directions, and that heroes are unique.
- Assess each student's project and/or writing assignment to ensure that each student applied his or her understanding of his or her own admirable qualities as well as admirable qualities in general.
- Provide a list of admirable/heroic qualities and their definitions that English learners can use as a reference while working on their stories.
- Encourage English learners to think about examples of heroic characters in their native culture to draw comparisons and grasp the general concepts of the assignment.
- If students have physical challenges that inhibit drawing, they can work with a partner to describe what they would draw.
- Higher-level students can write a second short story featuring an existing superhero character in the same situation as the student's superhero character. In the second story, students can compare and contrast how the existing superhero would handle the situation with how the student's original superhero character would handle it.
Students can build on what they learned about superheroes and practice creating original superheroes again for a practical purpose (this time to improve water quality and availability) with the World-Water Hero lesson.