Here's an exercise that works at all grade levels, though better at second grade and up than at kindergarten and first. The students' responses will differ from one age group to another, but the process always works.
Figure it will take at least 90 minutes, in at least two sessions.
Ask students who their heroes are. Write them all on the board without comment, and don't attach students' names to the heroes.
Tell the stories of at least two Giraffes from this Website.
Spark a class discussion about the Giraffes, the risks they took, and the common good that their actions served. Tell them that "Giraffe" heroes stick their necks out for others.
Go through the list of heroes on the board and ask what risks each of them has taken and who they helped by their actions. Without embarrassing the nominators, guide the class through a discussion that helps them see that being rich, talented, gorgeous or bulletproof can make people celebrities, but not necessarily heroes. (For the bulletproof ones, remind them that it isn't brave to do something courageous if you know you can't get hurt).
Divide the class into small teams. Ask each one to brainstorm several possible Giraffe heroes and to select one to present to the class. Different teams could be asked to focus on heroes in the news, literature, history, movies, the community, etc.
Each group presents its hero's story using drama, art, narrative, song— encourage them to be imaginative.
Ask the class to discuss each person whose story has been presented, focusing on the risks taken and the caring shown. Make a new list of class heroes, including all those who have indeed stuck their necks out for others. Don't forget to include anyone from the first list who turned out to be a real hero.
Students can present these heroes to the school in a Hall of Heroes display, at an assembly, and/or in P.A. announcements.
FYI: That's a sample of the style and substance of Giraffe materials for kids. Full Giraffe programs provide lesson plans for kindergarten through high school, within school hours or after-school.
There are more free Giraffe materials online for you. There’s a full program for teens called, “It’s Up To Us.” And in the fall of 2015, our entire K-2 program will also be online, free. Each contains lesson plans, handouts, correlations to standards—everything you need to bring courageous, compassionate service to your students.
The Giraffe materials that are not online, are available for purchase. Because Giraffe Programs always include a service component, some teachers have gotten their purchases funded by nearby adult service organizations such as Rotary and Lions.
One way or another, you can get Giraffe for your students. Look over what we have on offer at http://www.giraffe.org/resources/teaching-materials. Download the free programs or order what you need.