Finding Courage


Family Resources on Finding Courage

Lesson Topic

Students will discuss and consider how someone maintains their sense of courage when faced with adversity.

Essential Question

What competencies or assets does a person draw on to deal with difficult life situations?

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Finding Courage – Masha

If this lesson was used in the classroom: Students learned about developing courage and resilience. In class students watched a video where Masha tells her story about how her life has changed since she is no longer able to walk. Students participated in discussions and considered questions about being courageous and an activity where they compared Masha’s attitude to superheroes.

Getting Ready for the Conversation

Masha was paralyzed in a car wreck and now must deal with no longer being able to walk. She tells her story about many of the things she does to cope with the changes in her life that she faces.

Conversation Starters

The first two items are for follow-up after viewing the lesson video and participating in class activities.

What were some interesting things that were said during the class discussion? Why do you say so?

What are the things that Masha can no longer do? What are some of the things she still can do? Would you describe Masha as heroic? Why or why not?

Why is it important to always wear a seatbelt and sit appropriately in a car (or another vehicle)?

How would you react if a friend of yours was in an accident that left them paralyzed or with a serious lifetime injury? What are some things you should and should not do? Why?

School to Home Resources on Finding Courage

Lesson Plan

Masha sometimes has difficult feelings

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Masha says, “I put on fronts to everybody…when I’m laughing a lot of times, I don’t feel like that…I’d like to sit in the corner of my room and cry to myself…If I could, I would — but I can’t.” Why do you think she says that she wants to cry all the time? Why do you think that she says she laughs with others even if she doesn’t feel like it?

Art helps her

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Masha says, “I think painting is so good, when you’re painting you don’t think about anything other than getting it right, the way you want it helps you leave that problem thing behind”. Why does she talk about painting as a way to not think about her problems? Why do you think art helps her? What kinds of things do you like to do that help you feel better when things are difficult?

Helping teens think about safe choices

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We see Masha talking to people about her experiences and encouraging teenagers to make safe choices. But she also says, “but a lot of people don’t listen and like even if I am in their face and say ‘I was in a car accident’ do you think that is going to stop them from going out and racing?”. Why does Masha want to talk about her experiences to other teens? Why do you think it is so hard to learn from the experience of others and make safe choices? What are some unsafe choices that teens you know often make? What advice would you offer them?

Learn something new

Take a look at this blog post from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. As you know from watching the video, Masha was an avid snow skier before her accident. The ski instructor Mark Andrews helps people with injuries learn to ski. Why do you think it is important to help people with some physical limitations learn to ski? It might be tempting to think about what a person who has sustained an injury or other limitations cannot do. Why is it important to think about what people can do?

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