Teaching with the Web:
A Collection of Online Treasure Hunts and Webquests

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Ang Mga Bag-ong Bayani (The Modern Heroes): A Webquest for 1st and 3rd Year High School (English and Filipino)

Authored by N. Abucay , E. Jesalva, S. Trangia and P. Arinto


Introduction
What is a hero? How does one become a hero? Does one have to fight and die in a battlefield while defending one’s country to be considered a hero?

In today’s world, there are many ways to be a hero. A hero is one who does something good for the benefit of other people. An example is an individual who provides scholarships so children from poor families can get an education. Other examples of heroic acts are: helping a jeepney passenger recover his/her necklace, wrist watch or earrings from a snatcher, saving a person from getting drowned, saving an old man /woman from being run over by a vehicle, returning excess payment to one’s customers, and returning things left in one’s taxi/tricycle to the concerned passenger. These heroic acts can be done by ordinary people. You do not have to be a martyr to be a hero.

In this activity, you will try to get to know the heroes around you. You will also write about them so that others, especially young people like yourselves, may appreciate these people who “have made a difference” and follow their example.

Task
Your task is to acquire a broader understanding of what a modern hero is by getting to know the heroes around you and writing biographical essays about them. You will interview people in your locality who you think have done something heroic. So that there will be no duplication of biographies, first year students should interview and write about the heroism of community workers (such as firemen, policemen, janitors, and garbage collectors), child minders (yayas, daycare workers), teachers, doctors and other health care workers, and social workers. Third year students will interview and write about heroes among agricultural workers, media workers, environmental workers and activists, government workers (other than teachers, health care workers, and social workers), and cultural workers (such as art historians, translators, writers and other artists).

Working in the fields or professions mentioned above does not make people heroes. However, some people who do these kinds of work are heroic or perform heroic deeds. Your task is to find such people in your own community and neighboring areas, interview them and the people around them, and write about them or their heroic deeds.

You will work in groups of three. Each group is to come up with only one biographical essay of one local hero. The biographical essay should include:

· the person’s full name and the name by which he/she is known to people in his community
· his/her date and place of birth
· his/her family background
· his/her educational background
· important influences in his/her life
· an account of his/her heroic deed/s
· his/her philosophy or motto in life
· any advice for young people like yourselves

You can choose to arrange the information listed above in any way you like in your biographical essay. What is important is to begin in a way that will attract the attention of your readers and persuade them to read the rest of the essay (for example, you can begin with the story of your subject’s heroic deed or with his/her statement of his/her motto in life or even his/her advice to young people) and then to arrange the rest of the information in a logical and coherent way following how you begin.

Process
1. You will do this activity in groups of three members each. Get together with your group and decide who will perform the different roles, as follows:

Role Responsibilities
Interviewer Will interview the person the group thinks is a hero (or the subject of the biographical essay)
Editor Will write the biographical essay
Photographer and encoder Will take an interesting photo of the subject and write a caption of it; and
Will encode the biographical essay written by the group

2. Once your roles are clear to you, begin the background research using the online resources listed below (under “Resources”). Reading these websites carefully will give you an overview of heroism and heroes and biographical essay writing. 

You have one week to complete this step.

3. After doing the background research, your group should come up with a shortlist of three possible subjects for your biographical essay from among the people you know. If you cannot think of anyone you know who fits your criteria of heroism, ask your parents or elders (such as the barangay captain or parish priest) to recommend some people.

The interviewer should then ask the first person on the list for permission to interview him/her. You must of course explain to the person the reason for the interview. If the person agrees, there is no need to ask the next person on the list.

Prepare well for the interview. List down your questions. Prepare pens and a clean notebook for taking down notes.

During the interview, be polite, speak clearly, and listen attentively. Be sure to take detailed notes. For more tips on conducting interviews, visit the following Web pages:
http://www.courses.vcu.edu/ENG-jeh/BeginningReporting/Prewriting/interviewing1.htm
http://www.courses.vcu.edu/ENG-jeh/BeginningReporting/Prewriting/interviewing2.html.

Here is an example of how to interview:
http://library.thinkquest.org/C001515/design/.

After the interview, the photographer should take a few pictures of the interviewee, with his/her permission. You can also borrow for scanning a photo of the interviewee that he/she would like featured in your group’s biographical essay about him/her. But if you do so, please make sure to return the photo immediately.

Be sure to thank the interviewee for granting you the interview. When you get home, immediately transcribe your notes—that is, write your notes neatly and in an organized way for the editor of the group to use.

All group members, including the editor, should be present during the interview. The interviewer will take the lead in this process. But the editor will have a better understanding of the character of the interviewee that will help him/her write an insightful biographical essay if he/she is present during the interview as well.

This step should be completed within two weeks.

4. The interviewer should hand over his/her transcribed notes to the editor of the group. The editor will then write the biographical essay. Be guided by the rubric for evaluating your essay given under the Evaluation section below.

The editor should complete the draft essay in two days. While the editor is writing the essay, the photographer should be scanning his/her photos in the computer lab for insertion in the group’s biographical essay later on.

5. When the editor and photographer have completed step 4 above, meet as a group to go over the draft biographical essay and make improvements if needed. It is important that all of you should agree on the final version of the essay as it will be considered a group essay and not just the work of the editor.

Also go over the photographs chosen by the photographer and decide which photographs will be included in your essay. You can include up to three photographs only.

Complete this step in one meeting.

6. The photographer will then encode the final version of your biographical essay, and insert the scanned photos that you all chose for inclusion in your final group output.

Review your work using the scoring guide in the Evaluation section.

Submit your work to your teacher on the due date.

7. Fill in the self-assessment and peer evaluation forms and submit these to your teacher on the due date.

Resources


A. Of heroes and heroism
http://www.iuinfo.indiana.edu/HomePages/022699/text/groslouis.htm (also an example of an interview)
http://www.iuinfo.indiana.edu/HomePages/022699/text/remak.htm (also contains examples of short biographies of heroes)
http://library.thinkquest.org/C001515/design/
http://www.gc.maricopa.edu/English/cffall94.html
http://www.iuinfo.indiana.edu/HomePages/022699/text/locke.htm

B. Writing a biographical essay
http://teacher.scholastic.com/writewit/biograph/biography_sketch.htm
http://teacher.scholastic.com/writewit/biograph/biography_own.htm
http://www.orangeusd.k12.ca.us/yorba/biographical_essays.htm

Evaluation
Your biographical essay will be graded using the scoring guide below. For each item, you will receive a score from the following scoring range:
 
  6 = exceeds expectations 5 = strong 4 = competent  
  3 = developing 2 = emergent 1 = not yet  

 
Content

_____

The essay gives the basic background information on the subject such as his/her name, when and where he/she was born, and his/her family and educational background.
_____ The essay shows rather than tells the reader that the subject is heroic or that he/she did something heroic by citing concrete acts by the subject.
_____ The essay provides a glimpse into what motivates the subject (or his/her philosophy in life).
_____ The essay includes pertinent direct quotations from the subject, especially his/her advice to young people.
_____ The photographs included complement what the text communicates about the subject’s character.
   
Organization
_____ The essay has an effective opening that captures the reader’s interest.
_____ Information is arranged in a logical way and supporting details are provided.
_____ The conclusion rounds off the essay very well, providing a sense of closure.
   
Mechanics
_____ The essay observes the appropriate level of conventions such as sentence structure, grammar (subject-verb agreement, verb tenses), and punctuation.
_____ Words are spelled correctly.
_____ The appropriate words are used.
   
Presentation
_____ The essay is encoded neatly, with correct margins and spacing between words and lines.
_____ The photographs are clear, have the correct labels or captions, and are placed in the appropriate places within the essay.
   

Add your score for all of the items and then divide it by 13. For example, if your score for all items is 60, divide this by 13 and you get 4.6. This means that your work is between competent and strong. Since this is a group project, all group members will receive the same score for the biographical essay.

You will also get scores for self-assessment and peer evaluation.

Conclusion

In doing this activity, your understanding of the topic, modern-day heroes, is deepened. Hopefully, you will be inspired by what you find out to try and do little acts of heroism yourself.

Equally important, you are able to practice your skills in getting information from the right sources and in writing and revising your own essays. You also develop your ability to work with other people.

That’s quite an accomplishment!
 

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