Question: What Makes a Hero?
Cesar Chavez has received
worldwide recognition as an American hero. In his lifetime, he inspired
and led thousands of farmworkers in the nonviolent movement for
social justice. Schools, streets, and parks are named in his memory.
Monuments, murals, and even a U.S. postal stamp have been designed
in his honor. The California Department of Education has declared
March 31 as Cesar Chavez Day. What makes Cesar Chavez a hero?
Presenting Cesar Chavez Day - Group Project
You and your teammates
will be responsible for designing an oral presentation for younger
children at your school (grades K-3) to explain Cesar Chavez Day.
As a team, you will decide what you consider to be the most important
lessons to be learned from the life of Cesar Chavez. To help your
young audience better understand what you are talking about, you
will need to create some visuals to go along with your oral presentation.
Choose one of the following:
- An Illustrated
Big Book on the Life of Cesar Chavez - Your librarian or kindergarten
teachers are sure to have some examples of "big books."
Include a minimum of six key events. Design
your book in the style of a picture book, with an illustration
on each page accompanied by a minimum of words. The illustrations
themselves should carry much of the meaning. Make sure your sentences
(two to three sentences per illustration) are language rich. You
might want to read through some pictures books (I recommend books
by Kevin Henkes, Patricia Polacco,and Jane Yolen) and see for
yourself that picture books are NOT "baby books."
- An Illustrated
Poster on the Life of Cesar Chavez - Start with a large piece
of butcher paper or poster board.
- In the center
of the poster, draw a large picture of Cesar Chavez
- Pick six key events
from Cesar's life. Around the edges of the poster, write a
brief summary or caption for each event
- Include a drawing
or symbol to illustrate each event
- A Multimedia Presentation
(PowerPoint, HyperStudio, KidsPix) on the Life of Cesar Chavez
- Refer to Tips for Making a Multimedia Presentation.
Include a minimum of six key events. Your first step in the research
process is to record your key points on a storyboard (a
rough draft for a multimedia project). In addition to text,
be sure to include titles and/or subtitles for each slide and
identify your source for each graphic. If you are including additional
elements such as sounds, pictures, or movies, be sure to record
where these sources are located (URL, title or CD-ROM or video).
Begin the process by
agreeing as a group how you would explain the term "hero"
to others. Remember: your presentation should answer the question
"why is Cesar Chavez remembered as a hero?" How does each
key event you have selected support your definition of a "hero"?
At the end of your Big
Book or multimedia project or on the back of your poster, include
a bibliography of your sources (correctly sited, of course!) Be
sure to refer often to the scoring guides for both your visual
presentation and your oral presentation.
A Meeting of the Minds - Partner Project
The Civil Rights Movement
of the sixties changed history forever. Cesar Chavez was a key player
in the movement to improve the rights of workers of all races. Who
else throughout our nation's history has contributed to the Civil
Rights Movement? Your task is to pick another hero or heroine who
was willing "to cross the line" for justice and to investigate
his or her story. You and your partner will then create a Meeting
of the Minds Dialogue by developing and writing down a conversation
he or she would have enjoyed having with Cesar Chavez.
To start your research,
you might want to read Farmworkers
Remember Martin Luther King, Jr. Although they never met, Dr.
King's commitment to a nonviolent struggle had a profound impact
on Cesar Chavez. What if these two could meet? What would Martin
Luther King want to say to or ask Cesar Chavez? What would Cesar
Chavez want Dr. King to know about the farm laborer's fight for
equality? What qualities would they admire in each other?
Throughout his lifetime,
Cesar Chavez delivered many speeches that inspired and gave hope
to others. Listen to several sound clips (audio
clip 1, audio clip
2, audio clip 3,
audio clip 4) and
read through Quotes
by Cesar Chavez or Education
of the Heart. You may incorporate one of his actual quotes into
your dialogue. Use the Meeting of the
Minds Scoring Guide as your check-off list.
Task 3 - What Makes a Hero? - Individual
Who are your heroes? What qualities do
they have? What "lines" have they crossed?
Your final task is to write an essay on
a person you consider to be a hero. Be sure to include the qualities
on which you based your decision, with examples to support each
quality. Use the Scoring Guide for the
Hero Essay to help organize your thoughts and writing.
Keep in mind that you will be
presenting your project to a younger audience (after you do a practice
run for your teacher and classmates!) Will your presentation keep
the attention of kindergarten - third graders? Each team member
will be expected to participate equally in the oral presentation.
In order to meet your presentation
deadlines, you will need to work together cooperatively and make
every minute of classroom and at-home research time count. Each
of you will be completing a Group Participation
Evaluation for Task 1 and Task
As you begin the project, read
through the specific scoring guide for each task. Be sure to use
the scoring guides as a final checklist.
Compare your hero to those nominated
by other classmates. Do you find many similarities? How about differences?
Do you think heroes are perfect people in all ways, or can they
have their flaws like other people? After completing this project,
what is your personal definition of a hero?
E. Chavez's image is used with permission of the Cesar
E. Chavez Foundation.