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ILP Big 6+ ELA Projects: 12th Grade GLE (Moral Courage)

Lesson Overview

Students will write and present about a person or group who has demonstrated moral courage based on a thematic unit or lens of the teacher’s choice. This could be as specifically focused as to address the historical events related to a novel being taught in class or as broad as people who demonstrate courage during genocides or other societal/governmental conflicts.  

Tribute to the Rescuers Essay Contest information included at bottom of 2nd column.

Look in the Proficiency Scale Tab for Rubric Information


This is a collaborative lesson taught by both the classroom teacher and the school librarian. Get in contact with your school librarian early to discuss scheduling and teaching responsibilities.

This lesson plan is a guideline. If you need to make minor adjustments or changes to best suit the needs of your students or the resources in your building, please do so. If you have questions about the curricular requirements, please contact Shelley Erickson or Julie Schik.

At the completion of this lesson, you will need to send two student examples each of a level 2, 3, and 4 project to your curriculum specialist or department head who will in turn submit them to your supervisor.  This can be electronically or as a hard copy.

Task Definition (1)

Teacher—be sure to complete before going to library/lab for research:

  • Students and teacher define and explore different types of moral courage using the Moral Courage Channel on YouTube and complete the Inquiry Graphic Organizer (Instructions Sheet included).
  • Students will select a person who has demonstrated moral courage during a historical crisis

Teacher will introduce the requirements for the project. (See Synthesis & Sharing)

  • Students reflect on & refine potential inquiry questions with a partner (Pair Share Protocol Organizer included).
  • Students develop potential inquiry questions, such as:

*What conditions cause people to make moral choices? 

*What different factors motivate individuals to risk their safety to help others? 

*What resources might one need to help another person in a time of crisis? 

*When a person or group of people risk themselves to help others, what effect does that have on their communities?

Librarian—can introduce online resources if a pre-topic selection exploration activity is desired.

Formative Assessment: Verify all information is recorded on student handouts (visual check or graded assessment)

Info Seeking/Location & Access (2/3)

With direct instruction from the school librarian (with support from the classroom teacher) on search strategies and recommended resources, students will locate required information about their selected topic:

Possible Sources of information:

  • Student Resources in Context (Gale)                     
  • Biography Reference Bank/Center (NebraskAccess)
  • Encyclopedia Britannica Online                              
  • Books from School Library
  • Appropriate websites (i.e.
  • Some sources should be student selected

Your librarian will use your school's direct links to the following district databases when working with students.

Formative Assessment: Consistent & frequent verbal & visual checks with student to assess if able to access quality resources.

Biography Resources

Use of Information (4)

Teacher will guide students through transferring information into a notes organizer. (TBD by teacher and/or self-selected by students).

With direct instruction & support from the school librarian, students will create citations for their sources.  Recommendation to use district subscription to Noodle Tools.  Teacher will provide instruction on internal citations as needed.

Formative Assessment:  Visual checks for completion.  And/or, individual conferencing with students to determine if ready to move on to synthesis and sharing.

Synthesis & Sharing (5)

Teacher will review the requirements for the final project and assist students as necessary.


  • Students will complete a written product to demonstrate their learning.  The written product will include a thesis which relates to their chosen inquiry question, the answer discovered during research including detailed evidence explaining how the student came to this conclusion, why others should be interested in or care about this topic, and how this topic relates to literature explored during this course.  Students may choose the most effective way to organize these points in their paper.  The paper should include all required elements and have a clear introduction, body, and conclusion.  Source information should be cited through internal citations and a works cited page.

Optional—Visual and Verbal

  • A powerful visual representation of the topic chosen.  The visual product should include limited text—students will have to choose the MOST important or relevant items to share through the visual product and provide a snapshot or overview of the topic. Format TBD by classroom teacher and student.
  • 4-5 minute formal presentation for the class or for small groups of classmates

Formative Assessment: Rough draft feedback.

Summative Assessment: Use provided rubric to grade final product.

Self-Evaluation (6)

Teacher will guide students as they complete the self-evaluation form containing teacher selected items from the form included below.

The self-evaluation can be as brief (one question) or as long as the teacher deems necessary.  This can be a graded or non-graded activity.         


1.  Click on the Essay Prep and Research tab under the Tribute to the Rescuers tab 

2.  Scroll down to the bottom of the page where you will see “Past Essay Contest Winners.”  

3.  Read at least one of those essays to get an idea of what type of paper you are expected to produce. 

4.  After you have read at least one essay, you will begin finding a subject about whom you can write your paper  

5. If you want to write about a rescuer from the Holocaust, you can start by searching here:  All of the people featured on this site will be non-Jews who helped Jews during the Holocaust. 

6.  If none of those stories interest you, you can look at lists of names of rescuers from each country here:  

7.  If you are interested in reading about Jews who helped other Jews or fought the Nazis during the Holocaust, you can search here: 

8. If you do not want to write about a rescuer from the Holocaust, you will have to do some thinking before you ask for assistance from your teacher: 

Questions to ask yourself:  A.  Is there a particular country that interests you?  B.  Are you interested in a particular issue such as women’s rights, gay rights, religious persecution, access to education, the environment, etc.?  C.  Are you hoping to write about someone historical or modern?  D.  Do you want to write about a group or individual?  Male or female?  

When you have answers to these questions, talk to your teacher. 

9.  When you find an article you are interested in using, copy and paste it into a Microsoft Word file and save it in your home drive. Make sure you save the URL (web address) in your file as well. 

You must have at least two reputable sources for this essay. 

10.  Once you have chosen the subject of your paper, please go to the Essay Prep and Research tab and fill out the Pre-Writing Reflection sheet. After you have completed that, save it in your home drive AND print a copy for me. 


Citation Resources

Noodle Tools

Noodletools provides a format for creating research papers.  It provides an area for notetaking, citation creation, and paper formation.

Guides for using Noodle Tools

This 20 minute video gives an overview on how to use NoodleTools.

This video shows how to create a new project.

This video shows how to check the format of your citation.

This video shows how to add a preformatted citation from a database or website.

Omaha Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, age, genetic information, citizenship status, or economic status in its programs, activities and employment and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following individual has been designated to address inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Superintendent of Schools, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (531-299-9822).

Las Escuelas Públicas de Omaha no discriminan basados en la raza, color, origen nacional, religión, sexo, estado civil, orientación sexual, discapacidad , edad, información genética, estado de ciudadanía, o estado económico, en sus programas, actividades y empleo, y provee acceso equitativo a los “Boy Scouts” y a otros grupos juveniles designados. La siguiente persona ha sido designada para atender estas inquietudes referentes a las pólizas de no discriminación: El Superintendente de las Escuelas, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (531-299-9822).