After studying the question, “What is a hero in today’s society?,” students created a textual and visual representation of a hero in their life. Students utilized literary devices, sensory details, and the narrative form to create a written character sketch of their hero in a heroic moment, and then represented that moment through photography.
I like to start the school year with an identity project that helps me get to know my students, and helps them get to know one another, to build a strong classroom environment. This project encouraged students to think about who has made an impact on their life. For most students, this was a piece of cake. They knew who they would select. For a few who had trouble identifying someone, this was their first challenging project in a project-based school. Working with these students, I learned about the struggles that prohibited heroes from rising in their lives, and about their sources of motivation. The highlight of this project for me was seeing the pride in my students’ eyes as they saw their black-and-white pieces displayed throughout the school.
The Hero in My Eyes project opened my eyes to a whole side of my mother’s life that I may not have seen otherwise. We conducted interviews with the person we viewed as our Hero. This gave me the chance to learn what my mom went through being a single mother: how hard it was to raise a baby by herself, only at the age of seventeen, with barely enough money to support us. It taught me to appreciate my mother more than I already did. Not only did it show me another side of her, it showed me another side of writing. We were taught how and when to use literary devices, descriptive writing, interviews, and narrative for our character sketches. I used these elements to put a voice in my writing, one that made my audience feel like they were really there as it all happened. I was able to convey why she is my hero without directly saying it. I can say that the Hero in My Eyes is one of my favorite projects so far. It helped me develop my writing skills and my relationship with my mother.
—Brandi Coley, 9th grade