Leaders UNITE is taking on its newest YAS (You are Special) project- a book! This is not a book written by one author, but this will be written by all of you! The focus of the book is on you and the YAS shoutouts you give to your friends, family, peers, lovers, or whomever deserves to know that they are special. All you need to do is fill out a simple form with the required information. And sure, readers won’t know everyone in the book, but the point is that everyone can relate to the underlying messages in these messages- everyone has people in their lives that deserve to be recognized and praised. So please, fill out the form below and have your message show up in our first book! This book can only happen with all of your shoutouts! Make someone’s day and write them a message!
This was a model group. The students fully understood the concept of teamwork. In order to fulfill the requirements that all students should speak, some students split their sentences in half. Others added witty side-comments to lighten the mood. One group did a remarkable job of creating a summary that would appear on the App Store. All of the groups were very organized, finished within the time limit, and understood the concepts of organization, compromise, and teamwork.
The students said that usually in the classroom, they did not have designated leaders, but they instead used a lot of teamwork and compromise. Therefore, they were very accustomed to working on activities together. They also paid attention to one another and asked creative and valid questions to one another. This group was fun to work with and although they did not touch on aspects of leadership very much during their presentation, the students all understood the concept of teamwork and compromise. This group was very fun to work with, and I am excited to see what these young and intelligent students will do with leadership in the future.
This group was very energetic, I must say. I could tell that all of them loved the project, but at the same time, they also kept talking during one another’s presentations. They had so much energy and did not know how to control it. The students had very creative ideas; however, similar to some of the previous groups, it became apparent that there was a lack of compromise amongst some of the groups with regards to the app. One group selected an outfit-chooser. This was a common app created by girls’ groups, but in some of the groups that contained girls and boys, it became apparent that the boys only agreed to do the app because they believed a compromise could not be formed. Although it seemed like the activity had been unbeneficial for these students, when I asked how they created their creative presentation, all of the students were able to point out what they wrote for the presentation. The group ended their presentation with a witty remark about how their app would be available in the app store within a few days.
Although the app idea would never be approved by teachers, some students came up with a creative app to help students cheat on homework assignments. Aside from the fact that they thought about everything- even if the teacher walks by while the student is using the app- I won’t say anything more about that specific app.
One group took a very creative route to the project which involved a great deal of teamwork, compromise, and subtle leadership. The group listed all of the apps that they liked, and then they called me over. They asked me whether they were allowed to combine real apps that they liked into one mega-app that had new and unique features. Although the purpose of the activity was for the groups to create their own apps, I allowed the group to do so because it was a new and creative idea. In order to access different features of their app, prospective users had to beat a game, etc. which meant that their app incorporated multiple skills into one app. It was very creative, and the logo was a combination of all of the apps’ logos. To make the app even more unique, they changed names such as Instagram and Snapchat into Instantgram and Snapdog. It was extremely well-planned!
This group’s discussion was very similar to that of the other groups. Aside from group that combined all of the different applications, every other group maintained a normal compromise, subtle leadership relationship.
This group really got the idea of a presentation. The students made the presentations extremely enjoyable. One group started with rhetorical question regarding the purpose of the app. Another group mentioned a “review” of sorts that highlighted why their app was more effective than other apps of similar function. Within these two groups, they said that they all came up with the ideas together. They were ideal groups- they each stated many ideas and then eventually decided on one idea that encompassed all of their ideas into one. Then they each came up with their own witty ideas for the presentation. They finished within the time limit as well.
While two of the groups were ideal, one group remained problematic. In a group of three girls where one wanted to do next to nothing regarding leadership, the students could not agree on a single idea. They did not want to think and they did not want to compromise or come to any sort of consensus. When time was up, they suggested an app that one of the previous groups had mentioned. Even though they had another suggestion that was more creative, the students did not want to do the activity one bit. Although I still got across the point of leadership and teamwork with the majority of the class, there was nothing I could say to the group of girls that would make them care.
Yes, the students learned lessons about leadership during this class period, but I believe that I learned the most important lesson during this class period. I learned as long as someone listens, everything is okay. At first, I was upset that the girls were not interested in my project. It seemed like everyone else so far had at least enjoyed the project. However, these girls did not even pretend to enjoy the project. I was offended and felt like the students did not respect me. But at the same time, the two other groups loved the project and executed it perfectly. They listened, acted, and understood. They gleaned valuable information through this project that they can use during their school on a daily basis. When reflecting on this, I realized that it is most important to get my message across regardless of the amount of people listening. As long as at least someone gains knowledge from my teachings, then I have accomplished something. This is an important mentality to have with regards to leadership as well. As a leader, not everyone is going to agree with everything you say. Not everyone is going to appreciate you taking charge. However, it is important to help the group achieve a common goal, and it is equally important to know that as long as you act in a respectable manner and share your teachings, at least someone will listen.
The students seemed very excited to do the project. They were all cheering when I said that they were going to create their own app. They asked if they can pick their groups after I said the groups would be by columns. I explained to them that the point of the project was to be in groups that didn’t exactly fit their friend group, interests, etc. Most groups finished within the 20 minutes, but some of the 5 groups had one or two things to complete after time was up. This was the first time that all of the groups had different ideas for their project and none of the ideas really overlapped among the groups. My favorite idea from the group was a mind reader that could tap into someone’s emotions when you hold the phone up to them.
I am not sure whether it is due to the age or maybe the closeness of the grade, but even though I separated the groups in ways that didn’t accommodate for close friend groups, all of the students managed to come up with ideas that everyone in the group enjoyed. It was great, but it also made the amount of discussion a bit less prominent. At least, that was what I thought until I asked the groups which person made the logo (or if everyone made it together) and in each group, only one person made the logo. I touched on the fact that since one person technically made the logo, that was some sort of leadership in and of itself. One person took charge to create a logo. That has some form of leadership within the group and definitely deserves some recognition. One girl answered the question perfectly, everyone acted as leaders for their own part of the project. She completely got the idea of how leadership fit into the project, and it was almost like she was echoing the words I had so many times spoken to other groups.
In this class, the students were less interested in asking one another questions about the other groups’ apps. However, the groups put a lot of effort into their apps and the creativity behind each of the apps. Overall, the students understood the idea of teamwork relatively well.
This group was by far the group that listened the most and the group that we got the point across to the best. One group took the idea of creativity to a whole new level. They went off of the fact that when writing down the word ‘purpose’ on the paper during the planning time, the person accidentally wrote “porpoise-” like the animal. After pointing out this funny mistake to me and the rest of the group, this group based their entire presentation and app on a porpoise that you must feed and play with during the game. The creativity in this class was excellent.
With this class, I was also able to get across a very important point regarding leadership. Within the boys’ groups and girls’ groups separately, the project was completed with subtle leadership but no designated leadership. However, in the groups that contained boys and girls, leadership was more prevalent in its natural form. Leadership was necessary in these groups because the group lacked a common goal and a common purpose. In cases where the group is not united about the goal, it is nearly impossible to complete a task until a common compromise or purpose is created. In order for this to occur, there must be some form of leadership. Someone must step up and create compromises, form plans, and direct the group in the correct direction for success. In the mixed gender groups, the members had different apps that they enjoyed using; therefore, they all envisioned a different app to create. In these groups, when I asked which people did which parts of the preparation, it was split. One person stepped into the position as leader and created the idea. Then another person took over the leadership role to create the logo, and the leadership torch continues to be passed.
While this seems like an effective method when perspectives and goals differ, this must be handled correctly. In one of the mixed gender groups, one of the girls took over the role as the leader, and the leadership role was then passed on to another girl who created the logo. However, in this situation, no one made a compromise. The girl created her own idea, and instead of rising to the occasion of compromise or taking on the leadership torch, the boys didn’t do anything. They didn’t take on the leadership role afterwards, and this lead to a final product that only reflected the ideas of half of the group. It is critical that in these situations, someone should take on the role of a subtle leader, trying to make a compromise and redirecting towards a common product.
Overall, this group did an effective job of completing the project, but the groups still maintained an appropriate amount of difficulties. However, difficulties are important for the growth of the group as well as individual development, and these difficulties allowed us to effectively get across the importance of leadership- both subtle and direct- within school activities.
I just finished the first activity. It went extremely well! I was a bit worried since the students were in 11th grade that they may not listen or may not have fun doing the activity, but I was wrong. They really enjoyed the activity and actually put a lot of effort into it. I ended up not having enough time to do all of the follow-up questions with the group, but I think they got the general gist of the whole thing during the course of the activity. One group finished rather quickly, and they even seemed to make the logo together instead of individually. Two of the other groups were on a relatively similar pace, but they were still not completely finished within the twenty minutes. Another group spent so much time deciding what to do, and they started actually answering the questions after 20 minutes. They just had a few issues working together and thinking of an app that they all would like. However, all of the presentations were excellent! The students really listened to me and completely followed through with what I wanted for the project. Their apps were fairly creative and the logos were very interesting.
In the group that finished on time, it seemed that all of the students worked well together. They all got out their phones at the same time to brainstorm about some of the apps that they most enjoyed and why. They all worked on the logo together, one person drawing and the other people coloring in the design. This group also followed the instruction that everyone needed to talk during the presentation. It seemed that these people had a clear goal in mind from the beginning, and this allowed them to successfully complete the activity without much problem. They also finished within the time limit, showing that they had good time management skills.
The other two groups worked together relatively well together, but it just took them a while to think of an idea. There was not really an issue with their teamwork, but they were not too consistent about their time management skills.
The fourth group was the most difficult. The students took up until the 20 minute mark just to figure out what they would do for their app. They did not really work together at all, and seemed to just be waiting for someone to do all of the work. The group appeared to not be very close friend-wise so maybe this contributed to the fact that they could not agree upon a common goal for the app. This seemed mostly attributed to the fact that the students did not seem very close to one another and therefore did not know of common interests, etc. that they could make an app out of.
Presentation wise, the groups did well. Only one group did not follow the guidelines that everyone had to speak during the presentation.
The one hour session consisted of the same activity for each grade, the same preliminary questions, and roughly the same follow-up questions for each grade. The follow-up discussion varied slightly depending on the grade, the execution of the activity and presentation, and the responses to the questions. Here is a rough outline of the session I conducted for the hour.
*allow students to call out answers- no need to raise their hands for this
How many of you have cell phones?
What kinds of apps do you have on your phone?
** split the students into groups based on columns (everyone will be in a group with the people sitting behind and in front of them) so that they are not necessarily in a group with their good friends
*give students time to rearrange their tables and seats so that they are now in their new groups
**some groups were given 20 minutes depending on how quickly they rearranged their seats to get into their new groups
**Allow students to ask the presenting group questions after the group has finished the presentation
*Take notes during the presentation- especially on creative presentation tactics, notable leadership and teamwork, compromises, commendable presentation or speaking skills, etc.
** Let the students vote on their favorite app, but do not allow them to vote for their own group
*I do not vote, but I help the students vote in an organized manner
*share positive aspects with the class and each group based on the notes written down during presentations
**let students raise their hands to answer the following questions
*change questions slightly or add/remove questions based on responses and activity
How did it feel working in a group on this activity?
Which was your favorite app? Why?
Did you find it challenging to decide on an app together with your group?
Was it harder for the groups that had boys and girls together?
Was it easier for the groups that are already very close friends?
Which part of the process was it hardest to agree on?
Did you have more conflict choosing the app or deciding what to say during the presentation?
Did one person make the logo or did multiple people make the logo?
How did you decide on the name for your app?
For the portions you did not agree on, did one person create a compromise or suggest an idea that the group used in the final product?
How important was leadership related to each of the separate parts of the project?
Overall, did you use more teamwork or more leadership in your group?
Even if you used more teamwork, do you believe that some leadership was still used during the process?
How do you use teamwork and leadership on a daily basis at your school?
Although the main purpose of my trip to Argentina was to visit my friends in Pilar, I will be the first (but not the last) to admit that I take advantage of every Leaders UNITE opportunity that I can. I was thrilled to be able to attend Colegio North Hills for a second time with my friends, but this time, to also conduct Leaders UNITE activities with the students in the secondary school. Even though I did not conduct activities every day during my trip, I was able to do activities with almost every grade of the secondary school during my visit. Click on the Schedule of Classes link to view more information regarding activities and timing.
To summarize, I had approximately 1 hour with each grade, and instead of conducting different activities with each grade, I chose to do the same activity with each grade in order to better compare the results across the grades and the school as a whole. Click the Activity Description link to read a description of the activity and discussion that took place with the students.
Overall, the experience was quite enriching and allowed me to view the concept and application of leadership in a completely different school and environment compared to my own. I feel very fortunate to have had this opportunity to teach these wonderful students about leadership and my club.