I have been meaning to post about my November lesson on leadership- it was fun and I really had some good kid participation. Having never been a classroom teacher, I am certainly a work in progress on creating lessons. I can make things graphic enough to draw kids in, and my babies and I have good rapport to banter and keep the convo engaging, but the actual *teaching* part is definitely something I struggle with. First, I have attention issues, so I am easily distracted (pair that with less-than-stellar classroom management and basically the kids rule the roost), and second, there is a reason I’m not a teacher. I am so in awe by these dang teachers and their endless energy and self-control…for me, my family knows the frazzled look in my eye on those loooooonnnng classroom lesson days, and I have to decompress after being in the classroom all day.
So, it was a light-bulb moment when last year my principal (a previous outstanding teacher) told me he thought I was working too hard- bogarting all of the talking, and not having more participation. He suggested I play with incorporating asking questions instead of telling, having students work in groups, and checking in with “shoulder partner” moments. WHAT a difference that made this time around!
Being that this was a November lesson, and we were knee-deep in the crazy election process of 2016, I knew I wanted to cover leadership. These kids were witnessing some stuff, hearing a lot, and, I can only assume, feeling more disconnected from democracy in the midst of one of the loudest and in-your-face elections we’d ever seen. I wanted to draw them in; my goal was to introduce them to leadership on their terms and invite them to reconstruct the concept to their own definition.
We started by warming up with Free Spirit Publishing’s Everyday Leadership Cards . I love these because they are really engaging for multiple age groups. They are perfect for whole classroom discussions and activities, individual and small groups, and apply to multiple different topics (I can think of ways to use them in all counseling domains!). For this lesson, they were in small groups, and then when we came together as a class, a couple groups shared their Q&A.
Then we touched on the current events in politics. Now, I didn’t want to go down the rabbit hole and hear about different views and whatnot, so my questions came with a disclaimer about not revealing which candidate they (or their parents) were rooting for. I told them my core question was, “what makes a leader?” They talked with their shoulder partner and also came together as a class.
The next and best part: movie time! I played three movie clips, and after each clip I asked them what examples and types of leadership they saw. The three clips were:
- Cinderella (my favorite, the dress-making scene)
- Remember the Titans (various clips since the entire movie is every counselor’s dream-boat)
- Lion King (Scar’s song where he takes over the kingdom) ***WARNING: the clip that auto-starts after this scene is Hakuna Matata so you MUST quickly drop the browser, as students are nearly violent if you take away Timon and Pumbaa. I learned this the hard way.***
I won’t go into my main points for each one, because they’re pretty obvious. After movie-time, we then started talking about the broader concept of leadership again. I had them use their devices (if you can’t beat ’em join ’em, right?), and discuss two main questions in pairs, then enter their answers using the Poll Everywhere app. This thing is awesome and super easy to use by the way (or BTW if you prefer). They were asked to use one word that was described a leader, or was the main quality a leader needed, and also what their platform would be if they were president (I only had to toss about five of the roughly 250 responses, which I think is pretty good!). I love some student voice, and so I printed their responses and stuck them on our hallway board.
Hope your lessons have gone well, and your break is lovely and relaxing! Cheers!