Boatlift – An Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience

“He who saves just one life, saves the world entire.” (From the Talmud)

Using the documentary as a starting point, please respond to the following prompts:

What makes a hero? Simply put, how would you define the word hero?
Are heroes born or made?
What are some common attributes that you associate with heroes?
Can anyone be a hero?
Please tell about a point in the story that moved you in some way. Be specific.

Do you believe that one person can make an impact on the world?
Do you believe that a single person can change the course of history?

Taking all of these questions into account, please tell us who is a hero to you. (No family member or friend)

Two well-crafted paragraphs

“I am not a hero.”
Miep Gies died in 2010 at the age of 100. She and her husband hid Anne Frank and her family in the secret annex in Amsterdam to avoid German persecution during the Holocaust. This is an excerpt from an interview Miep Gies did.

TERI SCHULTZ: Miep Gies said she did not like being called a hero. Yet, she risked her life many times over to help the Frank family during the two years they hid from the Nazis in a secret annex built into the Trading Company office in Amsterdam where she’d worked for Otto Frank almost a decade.

Providing refuge to Jews, she noted later, carried a punishment of at least six months in a concentration camp. Still, the Austrian-born Dutch woman, knighted by the governments of Germany and the Netherlands, recipient of a medal from Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, always insisted she had done nothing extraordinary.

Ms. MIEP GIES: I, myself, I’m just a very common person. I simply had no choice. I could foresee many, many sleepless nights and a life filled with regret if I would have refused to help the Franks. And this was not the kind of life I was looking for at all.

SCHULTZ: Gies explained another motivation for emphasizing her modesty. She said if people are allowed to think it takes remarkable qualities to act boldly on behalf of others, few will attempt it.

Ms. GIES: People should never think that you have to be a very special person to help those who need you.

What Makes A Hero?

Students, since we have begun our hero unit with the reading of Harry Potter and The Hobbit, I would like to open up discussions on the essential question: What makes a hero? Using the short documentary BoatLift, An Untold Story of 9/11 Resilience to guide your thinking, please craft a well-detailed paragraph and include the following elements:

What is your definition of a hero? Include the qualities and what a hero means to you.

When you watched the video, what struck you (stood out for you) about the boat captains/workers?

What particular images demonstrated heroism?

In their own powerful words, the boat captains/workers narrated the events from that day. What is one stand-out thing you remember from what was said?

After watching the video, I….(finish the sentence)

Begin your paragraph with a creative lead-in sentence and end with a concluding sentence that sums up all your ideas. NO repeating the first line, or saying in conclusion, or that is why…think!

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What Makes a Hero?

Students, please write three (3) good paragraphs each beginning with a creative lead sentence. Put a double space between prompts to indicate a new paragraph…I do not want to read one huge block of text.

1. Reflect on something from BoatLift  that made an impression on you.

2. What is your definition of a hero? Think and give an example of someone who fits your description. (No family or friends)

3. From the quotes below, which one do you connect with? What does it mean to you? (Be sure to indicate which quote you have chosen.)

(A) A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer” (Ralph Waldo Emerson).

(B) Hard times don’t create heroes. It is during the hard times when the ‘hero’ within us is revealed” (Bob Riley).

(C) A  hero is someone who, in spite of weakness, doubt, or not always knowing the answers, goes ahead and overcomes anyway” (Christopher Reeve).


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I Need A Hero

Hi Students!

A new museum is being opened, and it is solely dedicated to heroes who have shaped our world. Your task is to nominate one hero to be represented in this museum. Please answer the following questions in the direct order given and then nominate your hero. Your hero should reflect your answers to these questions. Please do not copy from another; I can tell.

1. What does it take to be a hero for you?

2. What are your qualifications to be a hero? This answer should support question one.

3. Are heroes born or made? Defend your answer.

4. Who is your hero that belongs in this museum?

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving! (Sixth graders will be on holiday the week of November 19. Please check back the following week for new posts!)

“He Who Saves One Life Saves The World Entire.” Talmud

What makes a hero?

All of us have heard about certain individuals who have become heroes when they were least expecting to. This may account for the fact that heroes are not born but rather made by circumstances.

What is your definition of a hero?

Describe the characteristics of a hero.

Cite a specific incident or circumstance where you believe someone acted heroically.

Please be specific and detailed in your response. I want to know why you chose the particular person that you did and why. What did this person do that led you to say, “he/she is a hero.” I am not looking for you to tell me about family members whom you look up to. Think beyond. Think about past and present history/news.

You all the know the story of Anne Frank. Anne and her family and friends were able to survive in the secret annex for such a long period of time only because they were aided by Miep Gies and others who were willing to risk their own lives in order to help the Frank family. When interviewed after the war, Miep said, “We did what we could. We were not heroes. We were ordinary people.” Can you give examples of ordinary people who have given selflessly of themselves for another?

Many of you are getting confused between a role model or idol, leader, and a hero. A hero is an ordinary person who does something extraordinary for someone else, without little care to the danger of his own life or any fanfare. Remember the Virginia Tech tragedy? Would you consider the elderly professor, (who happened to be a Holocaust survivor) who died after shielding his students with his body a hero? I would. Think along these lines.

Please do not use any of the people in the video as your hero. They are just examples to get you thinking.