The MY HERO Project is a global online community in which millions of people, young and old, students and professionals, share their original stories, art, audio, and films to celebrate people and organizations making a positive difference in the world. Teachers and students alike will find it a useful tool for class work. Are you and your students engaged in a study of community helpers, activists, or other people making a difference? Whatever your social studies topic of investigation is at the moment, the discipline itself is the study of human society – essentially who makes a difference in the world, how these individuals or groups of people do so, and what the impact is. And that is where MY HERO becomes an incredible resource for information and tools. You can watch the introduction video here:
Anyone who visits www.myhero.com can access the stories, and anyone who registers with the site can submit their own media for submission. A large section of the website is devoted to educators and includes resources, lesson plans, and opportunities to interact with other classes around the world, discussing and sharing ideas about heroes through the program’s Global Learning Circles. Here’s a pretty spectacular segment from Dirt! The Movie featured on the My Hero website that invites rich conversation about the idea of heroism.
If you are a Seedlings Summer workshop alum, you’ll find many connections from our work to media on the MY HERO site. Remember William Kamkwamba from The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind? His story is documented here and is the perfect illustration of how the concept of a hero fits within a STEAM framework.
Were you in the “Our Changing Landscapes” focus group? Or the “Water Habitats,” or “Our Mechanical Worlds” groups for that matter? See this short film about a subsistence farmer in Peru who galvanized her community’s support to stand up to a mining corporation to protect their land and water. (Note: This film is not appropriate for some younger age groups.)
You also might find the film, The Last Resort of interest. It features a man who led a campaign to establish a nature reserve in Puerto Rico in order to protect the nesting ground for the endangered leatherback sea turtle.
You can also see examples of how young children can contribute to the site. Click here to view a student-made film about a local hero who leads an organization to clean up litter and care for communities around California. This is an elementary-aged child’s artwork illustrating her hero, Wangaari Maathai, who planted trees in deforested land all around Kenya. If you haven’t yet read Mama Miti, Wangari’s Trees of Peace, or Seeds of Change, drop what you’re doing right now and head to your library to check out these beautiful books recounting Wangaari’s story.
By now, you’re getting the idea: This program could be a powerful tool for enriching any SEC-related curriculum. There are endless videos, stories, songs, and art to browse through, but you will find it is also an effective way to empower your students to share their own original work with the world and potentially even collaborate with students from around the globe. You’ll also find complete lesson plans on the site, and a thematic calendar to help tie in heroes as the seasons change. Make sure you get on the website and check it out for yourself. Let us know in the comments section whether it gets incorporated into your work in any way!
*All artwork featured in this post is from the MY HERO website.*