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Have your students read the legends of Beowulf or William Tell? Do they know which Civil War hero was the grandson of a millionaire? Do they have a personal hero? Visit these sites to explore the adventures -- and qualities -- of heroes of history and today.

Biographies of Civil War Heroes
Do your students know which Civil War hero was the grandson of a millionaire? Who soldiers called "the angel of the battlefield"? which cured his stuttering by singing? They can find out by reading accounts of the lives of four notable heroes -- Philip Kearny, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, Robert Gould Shaw, and Clara Barton. This text-heavy site, which also includes accounts of the lives of "Common Soldiers," is most appropriate for students in middle school and above.

The Hero's Journey
This excellent tutorial, designed to allow visitors to examine the classic hero structure, provides nearly 200 classic hero stories and more than 1,500 original stories written in the classic hero structure. The site includes a story tool to help visitors create their own stories as well as a number of practical teaching ideas.

Young Folks' Treasury: Myths and legendary Heroes
This first-rate presentation of legendary heroes in history, literature, folklore, fiction, and the arts covers heroes from Beowulf to William Tell in formats ranging from fairy tales to poetry. The sories included here are great for literature study and extension activities.

Role Models on the Web
This site features actors, athletes, journalists, and political figures who have used their celebrity in ethical, conscientious ways. Use the featured biographies as a great springboard for discussion of the qualities valued in contemporary heroes.

Holocaust Heroes
This historically explicit site, devoted to recognizing the men and women who risked their lives, families, and futures to rescue victims of the Holocaust, is appropriate for high school students and above.

My Hero
Children and their parents tell about the people they most admire at this interactive educational site celebrating mostly modern heroes -- both children and adults. Child heroes include Sierra Leonean musician Ibrahim Alex Bangura, Balkan activist Leonara Shiroka, and Keegan's sister Catherine (the story of a boy and the sister who saved his life). Adult heroes span a number of categories, from Princess Diana in Angels to Jules Verne in Writers. Here, students can read about other people's heroes -- or write about their own.

Heroes of History
This pop culture approach to people who have improved the lives of others features an unusual assortment of heroes, from Christopher Columbus to T. D. Jakes. The site includes discussions of the values, successes, failures, and warts of each hero; allows visitors to grade the heroes discussed; and provides a brief comprehension quiz. Both secular and religious heroes are included at this site, which is best suited for older students.

Article by Walter McKenzie
Education World®
Copyright © 2009 Education World

Updated 06/18/2009