Superheroes are everywhere these days. Whether you’re at the theater for movie night, browsing at the bookstore, or purchasing gifts for your own young ones at the nearest toy store, you’ll find you’re all but surrounded by caped crusaders and masked vigilantes.
The good news, whether or not you’re a fan of them yourself, is that superheroes are a fantastic source of inspiration for kids everywhere. After all, what are superheroes but a comic book writer’s imaginary friends brought to life? The even better news is that it’s easy to use this universal superpower of theirs to get your student writing—and enjoying it. Here are just a couple of fun 2nd grade superhero lesson plan ideas to get you started.
Lesson Plan #1: What Makes a Hero Super?
We all think we know exactly what a superhero is. We know one almost as soon as he walks through (or kicks down) the door. But we rarely stop to think about what really makes a superhero super in the first place. Merely having superpowers can’t be all there is to it—after all, supervillains have those too. So what’s the real difference?
- Begin this lesson by asking your students to brainstorm their own answers to this question individually, using a simple worksheet like this “Bubbling Over Ideas” graphic organizer as a guide.
- Ask your 2nd graders to then share their answers to spark a class discussion on the vital ingredients of superheroism.
- Once discussion time is over, have your students write a brief opinion piece on what they think are the most important traits that make someone a superhero.
- After writing, ask your students to think of a personal hero of theirs, either someone they know or a famous person from real life. Ask them to draw that person as if they were a superhero, in the act of doing what heroes do best—saving the world.
- Finally, publish your students’ writing and illustrations in a beautiful full-color classbook that will showcase their creativity in a fun and exciting new way.
Lesson Plan #2: Create Your Own Superhero
We’ve all dreamed about being or meeting our favorite heroes, but what about making one up? This lesson plan lets your 2nd graders be their own Stan Lees and Jack Kirbys for a day in order to create new and original characters using a superpower of their own—their imaginations!
- First, ask your students to fill out a character creation guideline—you can either download one for free or create a simple one using framed paragraphs or open-ended questions. Be sure to include basic details like the hero’s names (both their real name and their alter ego!), age, hometown, and of course, special abilities. Encourage them to think outside the box—they can be their own heroes, or create a nonhuman hero like Rocket Raccoon or Darkwing Duck!
- Next, ask your students to write a short story about a time their character used their powers to do something heroic. When they’re finished writing, have them trade papers with a classmate to peer edit each other’s work.
- Once they’ve edited each other’s stories and revised their own, ask them to draw a simple comic strip illustrating how their character saved the day.
- Last but not least, go ahead and publish their heroic adventures in a comic book-inspired classbook that will serve as a fun keepsake they’ll love looking back on for years to come. For extra fun, consider taking a class photo of everyone dressed up as their characters to use for the cover image!
Publishing Your Young Heroes
Superheroes come in all shapes, sizes and even species, and no two have exactly the same powers. But there’s one thing they all need in order to beat the bad guys and live to fight another day—belief in themselves and their own power to change things for the better.
Just like the heroes they love to cheer on, your 2nd graders possess the potential to change the world in their own unique ways. But in order to do so, they, too, need to have enough self-confidence to pursue their dreams and believe in two simple words: “I can.” You can help them build that confidence by publishing their work and showing them the incredible value of their hard work, dedication and creativity. Becoming a published author, after all, isn’t just about printing words on a page—it’s about having the courage to share your story with others and, with any luck, inspire them to do the same.