This week in Leaders UNITE at the International Preschool of Raleigh, students had a discussion about leadership in the media through their Leadership in Movies activity. Students first talked about how leadership is manifested in students’ favorite tv shows and movies, thinking of examples where someone acts as a leader in these examples. Some of the examples students came up with were Peppa taking initiative to take care of her younger brother George, Ironman working to bring all of the Avengers back and together, Spiderman training and guiding Miles Morales, Blippi staying up all night to watch over and take care of everyone, princesses helping their family and leading their country, and a cowboy from PJ Masks using his own talents to help a friend.
Based on this discussion, students then made a list of important qualities that a leader should have, which included helping people, helping people if they are hurt, training/leading others, using their talents to help other people, taking care of their family and others, and standing up for their friends. Finally, students drew pictures of scenes in their favorite movies and TV shows where people used leadership.
It was great to see students understanding that leaders can do more than just “lead,”— understanding that leadership can manifest itself in many different ways such as helping others do things that they cannot do on their own, and taking care of others. It was also great to see students taking more from their favorite TV shows and movies, understanding how even entertaining movies can use examples of leadership. It is great to see these students becoming more conscious about how leadership is part of people’s daily lives, and that there are examples of leadership everywhere you look.
Here are some pictures from this activity. The first one is a student’s drawing of Peppa Pig acting as a leader by taking care of her younger brother George!
I lead because… I love being a positive impact on the group dynamic. I love the feeling of checking off a goal on the list and knowing that everyone was happy to put in their best effort to achieve the goal. I love offering compromises, combining different ideas, and providing advice and information during difficult situations. I love speaking in front of other people and seeing my visions come to life through leading.
Here is the Leaders UNITE schedule for the 2015-2016 school year. We are doing things a little bit differently this year, but we believe that this schedule will more accurately portray the goals of the club as well as be more practical for a diverse amount of schools with different club times, resources, etc. If you have any questions regarding the schedule, feel free to email or contact firstname.lastname@example.org . We are excited for the upcoming school year and cannot wait to see what you all will accomplish!
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.
Pictures from the first Leaders UNITE Conference will be posted some time during this week or the following week. Thanks to out photographers- Deming and Meg- who photographed the whole conference and are currently re-touching the pictures and making them easily accessible.
There are many different strategies for leadership development. Although each strategy has different methods, they all have a common goal- to create more effective leaders. So why should you use Leaders UNITE? What is so special about this program that should make you invest the time and effort in our program? In this article, we will explain Leaders UNITE methods and the reason for our madness.
Leaders UNITE was founded to break two stereotypes: leadership is boring and only certain types of people can become leaders. To break the stereotype that leadership is boring, Leaders UNITE consists of multiple hands-on activities in which students can work in groups and foster their own creativity in fun, engaging ways. To break the stereotype that only certain types of people can become leaders, we incorporate assigned leaders, reflection time, and individualized meetings/activities. To give you a better idea of how these concepts work, let us break down some of these examples.
What they are:
A full list of Leaders UNITE activities can be found on the “Activities” page, but the majority of the activities relate to public speaking, presenting in front of a group, creating curriculums in leadership, etc. Some of the activities can be done in different ways, for example, assigned leaders can be used in the process or restrictions can be placed on the students in order to foster creative development. Many of the activities are done in small groups, and they all require some sort of presentation at the end of the session.
Why they work:
First, utilizing hands-on activities allows students to put themselves in a group environment and in scenarios that mimic real life. Then, when students get put in real-life situations that involve leadership, they will already be in the habit of using their leadership abilities from this hands-on activities. Also, hands-on activities allow teachers and facilitators to directly see the students’ improvement in their leadership abilities without relying on papers or hear-says. Also, hands-on activities are a prime opportunity for students to interact with one another and also to signal out people’s individual leadership tendencies when they interact in a group environment.
What they are:
These are just regular, group discussion questions. Students speak about issues related to leadership development, leadership in a school environment, and leadership on a larger scale. Many of the discussions start off broad and move into more focused, in depth topics related to leadership, personal biases, and beliefs. Everyone is encouraged to participate. The discussions at the beginning of the year are more focused around beliefs and leadership as a whole. Then, they move into leadership hierarchies, leadership in a group environment, and different roles of individuals within the group. However, the majority of the discussions centralize around leadership in the classroom, how certain aspects can hinder/help individuals, and how to improve this aspect.
Why they work:
The discussions allow people to discover their own beliefs and to stand by them. This is an integral part of leadership development which allows people to allow discover their tendencies as leaders. Also, students are more likely to speak out when there are general questions about beliefs or other topics that they have general knowledge and opinions about. Going from individual leadership to group leadership to classroom leadership allows students to develop a strong framework about their own leadership tendencies and the “ideal” methods of leadership before applying this knowledge to the classroom. Also, discussions help others, including teachers, develop an understanding of the way individuals think and what they believe with regards to leadership.
Show and Learn:
What it is:
Show and Learn allows students to demonstrate their creative abilities. This year-long activity allows students to present one of their talents to the group and then teach the group a short routine related to their talent. Examples include singing for the group and then teaching the class some basics about singing, dancing and then teaching the students a basic dance, reading poetry and then walking students through writing a poem, etc. It does not matter what your talent is; we want a variety! Be creative and enjoy doing and teaching something you are passionate about.
Why it works:
This activity works well for two reasons: building confidence and working on communication skills. This activity helps students build confidence because they get to do something that they do confidence in. For example, some people are very timid in small group discussions, but they feel natural and confident while singing on stage. Giving those students the opportunity to sing and do something they feel comfortable doing, then they will begin to feel more comfortable with their group in general.
This activity also gives students the opportunity to work on their communication skills. Although it may be easy for a professional dancer to perform in front of a group, teaching others how to dance is completely different and requires a new way of thinking about dance. Also, it can be very difficult to explain and communicate information and instructions to other people. Giving students the opportunity to do so allows them to practice speaking to others and conveying information in different ways so they are able to understand the information. Sometimes, people are able to explain information in a way that makes sense to them, but it does not make sense to other people. In order to grow as a leader, speaker, and group member, you need to be able to find different, effective ways of communicating information within a group so that everyone is able to understand the information.
What they are:
There are many community activities, such as Compliment Cards, YAS (You are Special), and putting together programs at a local retirement home. While these are just few of the activities that students can partake in (a full list of preliminary suggestions can be found under the “Community Activities” page), all of them have common goals: to help others and to work together as a group. These activities can be done within the school community or also in the larger community. The number of people for each activity can also vary, and other people within the community are welcome to join.
Why they work:
Activities such as Compliment Cards and YAS are important because they foster encouragement within the group. Many students who go through this program may not be 100% confident about some aspects of their leadership, and it is always important for people to know that their talents are appreciated in the group. It is just as important for students to hear these positive words of encouragement from their fellow peers. While it is nice to let others know that their hard work is appreciated, it is also important to give others compliments in other aspects of their lives.
Community activities such as retirement home performances, food drives, etc. help students work on their planning skills. Giving the students complete freedom to organize when, where, and what activity will take place within the community is a prime opportunity for students to take charge and work towards a common goal. It also gives students a chance to work with one another outside of a school/Leaders UNITE environment. These also give students a perception of what occurs in their larger community.
What it is:
All of the information regarding the club is on the website. Everything is easy to access, and many branches of the club just get everything off of the website regarding discussions, activities, and other opportunities. Some useful pages involved are Activities, Discussions, Community Activities, etc.
Students are also encouraged to make a WordPress account so that they can comment on discussion posts and then discuss with students from other schools. Instructions to make an account are listed under FAQs and under the “How to make a WordPress account” on the Resources page.
Why it works:
The website allows students to have flexible schedules regarding the club. Different schools can work around their own schedules with regards to choosing activities and discussions that they feel are the most relevant to their students’ leadership development. This allows teachers to merge Leaders UNITE into some of their other leadership-related programs at school or within the community.
Making a WordPress account and communicating with other schools gives students exposure to various school systems and various approaches to leadership. Different schools have different approaches to leadership development, and it is always beneficial to gain knowledge about other schools’ programs. Also, discussing with other students, brings about new perspectives and opinions. It gives students a big-picture idea and exposes them to experiences they have not previously discovered.