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Leadership-Building Activities for the Classroom

September 8, 2015

Leadership-Building Activities for the Classroom

Envision helps equip, empower and inspire students to discover their passion and make an impact in a changing world. We hope to help you join us in this mission by suggesting ideas for fun and thought-provoking leadership exercises in your classroom.

Throughout autumn of 2015, we’ll present a series of ideas for leadership activities for all ages. In this first installment we offer one exercise for the 4th-6th grade levels and another that’s suitable for middle or high school.

Exercise 1

Stand By Your Quote

Age Group: 4th-6th grade

In preparation for this exercise, write a variety of inspiring quotes by leaders or about leadership on large pieces of construction paper. Place these quotes on the walls around your room. You can research your own favorite quotes, or borrow from this list (download). The object is to provide quotes that touch on a variety of aspects of leadership.

Ask your students to read the quotes and then go stand by the one that best fits their own personal views on what makes a good leader. When everyone has selected a quote (multiple students may pick the same one), have each explain to the group why his or her chosen quote means the most to them. Obviously, there is no wrong answer.

As the students provide their explanations, capture some of their key ideas on the board, and use these points to launch further class discussion.

Exercise 2

The Qualities of a Leader

Age Group: Middle School or High School

This activity starts with your students contributing a list of qualities or characteristics they think are important in leadership. Elect a facilitator to come to the front of the class and write each contributed characteristic on the board, as the other students volunteer their ideas. At the same time, you will be writing the characteristics on small slips of paper, to go into a hat. The list can be of any length.

Example characteristics may be: empathy, strength, decision-making, trustworthiness, goals, integrity, risk-taking, vision, respect, etc.

Next, divide the class into small groups (3-4 students per group is ideal), and ask each to send a representative to draw one of the leadership qualities out of the hat. The reps will only share the characteristic they have drawn with their own group.

Each group must then devise a scenario in which their selected leadership quality is displayed, and act out that scenario (skit) before the whole class. The groups create their own scenarios, and determine which roles each group member will play.

As the groups take turn acting out their leadership scenarios, the rest of the class will guess which characteristic they’re portraying. The object is to portray the characteristic clearly, so the class can easily identify the characteristic they’re demonstrating. However, it’s also beneficial if additional leadership qualities are identified within the same acted scenario. A short discussion can take place after each group’s skit, to evaluate how the group portrayed successful leadership qualities. Encourage as much class discussion about each characteristic/skit as time will allow.

Remember to check back regularly for more in this series of leadership activity ideas. Part 2, coming next week, will share a high school-level exercise on decision making.

Do you have an activity idea to share?


Comments (1)

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Linda Geiger - January. 29 2016, 08 52
I teach foreign language but can very easily use this lesson in all of the levels I teach. It is a wonderful way of teaching important life skills along with my subject which is Spanish. Thanks for sharing!
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