Tag Archives: leadership

Leaders UNITE community project: recycling markers for Crayola ColorCycle!

In Leaders UNITE today, the students at the International Preschool of Raleigh began a very special community project about recycling dead markers, called Crayola ColorCycle. I first heard about this project from Ms. Deanna, who showed me a post on Facebook saying that 15 pounds of dead markers can be recycled, but are often not. But we can fix this! One way is by participating in the Crayola ColorCycle program. In this program, schools can collect markers that no longer work and ship these markers to the Crayola company to be recycled and converted into useable energy! The company is collecting all brands of plastic markers (not just Crayola markers), dry erase markers, and highlighters that are dead/no longer working. Once a school collects all of their dead markers in a box, Crayola will send the school a free shipping label to ship these products back to Crayola to be recycled!

In Leaders UNITE, our students made the International Preschool of Raleigh ColorCycle box- which is now located at the front of the school near the recycling bin. Before we made the box, the students read the Facebook post about the ColorCycle program and talked about the importance of recycling markers. Students told me that it is important to recycle for many reasons: it stops the animals in the ocean from getting hurt, it cleans the Earth, it prevents pollution, and it prevents various sicknesses that can arise from waste and pollution. I was happy to see the students thinking about the impact of their actions, and was excited to see that they remembered a lot of information from our previous community project about recycling. After our discussion, the students made the recycling box, which was decorated with information about our project. On the front and back of the box, it explains what can be recycled: dead markers, dry erase markers, and highlighters. On one side of the box, it lists the students’ reasons about why it is important to recycle. On the other side of the box, it tells people to ask Leaders UNITE students if they have any questions about this program. After we made our recycling box, the students tested the markers in their classroom to see if any of them could be added to the box. We found 6 dead markers that we put into our recycling box.

It was great to see the students so interested in recycling, community projects, and making a difference in the world! If you have any dead markers/dry erase markers/highlighters at home and would like to bring them in to add to our recycling box, please do so! The box will be at school for a few months, so there is plenty of time to keep adding to our box.

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Making a Larger Impact; Achieving a Long-Term Goal

I originally created Leaders UNITE with two goals in mind: 1.) showing students that leadership can be fun and 2.) showing students that anyone can be a leader. Zooming in on the second goal, it was very important to me that students understood that they did not have to fit a stereotypical leadership mold or personality in order to become successful leaders. Therefore, this goal took on a role not only encompassing activities and discussions, but also encompassing ways of helping students become more confident in their own abilities and personalities. This year especially, I have had the opportunity to not only share Leaders UNITE with students and teachers, but also with students’ parents. I have recently had the opportunity to talk with quite a few students’ parents and guardians, and was very happy with the feedback I have received about Leaders UNITE on the students’ confidence and demeanors.

Some parents have recently told me that Leaders UNITE has helped their children to come out of their shell- at school and even at home. As a club, we always want students to feel comfortable with their own personalities, showing students that they can become successful leaders even if they aren’t the most talkative or “stereotypical” types of leaders. To hear that some students felt more comfortable being themselves at school and at home because of this club just makes me so happy to hear.

Some parents have also recently told me that Leaders UNITE has helped their children to feel more comfortable interacting with their peers. One thing we often highlight in Leaders UNITE is teamwork, and that it is important to know your teammates on a personal level to know their strengths/interests/how they can best contribute to the team. A huge part of this is making sure that students become comfortable interacting with their peers and being themselves around their peers. Therefore, to see some students go from rarely interacting with their peers to then becoming comfortable enough to openly interact with their peers makes me very happy.

This feedback from parents is particularly meaningful to me because although I can often see changes in students’ confidence over the months, I only get to see them during Leaders UNITE. Of course, I definitely can see improvements in students’ participation, leadership, etc. throughout our sessions, but I don’t often get indication as to how this club affects students in their daily lives. Therefore, it is so nice to hear that there are meaningful differences in students’ confidence levels that are noticeable each and every day. This is the kind of impact we want to have on students- not just making them more comfortable with me or the idea of leadership, but helping to create a positive image of themselves and their abilities that lasts much longer than their time at Leaders UNITE.

I am so proud of the environment we have created, and by the fact that Leaders UNITE was able to make a meaningful impact on these students’ lives. I surely hope that the club can continue to do this for many years to come.

SoccerDance- the Newest Sports Combo!

Yesterday in Leaders UNITE, the students did an activity called Sports Combo, where they worked on teamwork and thinking outside the box. In this activity, the students had to combine their two favorite sports together to create one new sport. For this new sport, they had to come up with the rules, name of the game, number of players on each team, how to win, and more things that are important in a sport. Since they were combining two sports together, it was important for the students to incorporate aspects of both sports into their new creation.

First, we took a vote to determine which two sports were the favorite amongst all of the students. The winners were soccer and dance! Then, the students had to work together to come up with the rules of their new sport. Although at first, it seemed difficult to combine both of these very different sports, the students did an awesome job thinking outside the box to combine dance and soccer. Here’s what they came up with:

The students created a game called SoccerDance. In this game, players kick a soccer ball, which has pictures of dancers and ballerinas on it. However, you can’t just kick the ball like a normal soccer ball: you have to be dancing and/or twirling while kicking the ball! In this game, players can score 1-6 points by kicking the ball into the goal while dancing. The points for a goal increase depending on the type and complexity of the dance move that the person uses while kicking the ball into the goal. This game takes place inside an open classroom, and lasts a total of 40 minutes. Each team has 5 players

I was very impressed to see students bounce ideas off of one another and take initiative to state their ideas. Once one person came up with the first idea, it seemed to spark everyone else to think about combining the two sports. I was also impressed to see students thinking about their own experiences with these sports in order to better combine them together. For example, when thinking about how many minutes the game should be, students initially thought of 30 minutes. However, some of the students who dance mentioned that their dance classes are sometimes 45 minutes, so they decided to make a compromise and make SoccerDance 40 minutes long. It was great to see that students could draw on their own experiences while also thinking outside of the box. This was a pretty complex activity, and I was proud to see the students step up to tackle this. By the end of the activity, all of the students seemed very excited to try out SoccerDance!

Find Someone Who… Can Understand Hand Signs

In this activity, we combine Find Someone Who with Hand Signs to make a new game- assigned leader style! In this activity, students do the Find Someone Who Activity (assigned leader style) where they have to take turns figuring out how many people in the class can do a certain thing listed on the page. However, in this version, the students have to lead the group without talking. For example, if they have to find out how many like jazz music, they have to act it, until people notice they are acting out jazz music. To add another twist to this, they start acting these out one by one, but then begin doing it in twos, so they get practice with leadership as well.

Groups will have 20 minutes to complete this activity. Have fun!

Sweet moment at International Preschool of Raleigh

Yesterday in Leaders UNITE at the International Preschool of Raleigh, students did a Halloween related activity, which you can learn more about at the following hyperlink: Halloween Discussion and Positivity at the International Preschool of Raleigh. Part of the activity included drawing a picture of themselves in their Halloween costume, based on some of the compliments that they received from their friends. One of the students actually gave me her picture after school, as a gift. She dressed up as a ladybug for Halloween, and made sure to draw her costume’s beautiful wings, headpiece, and striped outfit as well, which her friends It was very sweet, and I will treasure this picture!

Halloween IPR Summer

Halloween Discussion and Positivity at the International Preschool of Raleigh

For Leaders UNITE yesterday at the International Preschool of Raleigh, we took advantage of the fact that it was Halloween. Students did a Halloween-related activity that worked on their public speaking, inquisition, discussion, and encouragement skills. To practice their public speaking, students took turns presenting their Halloween costumes as well as why/how they selected that particular costume. It was very interesting to learn more about students through their costumes, and their reasons for selecting a particular costume.

Then to practice their inquisition and discussion skills, students asked their classmates questions about their costume, which ranged from question about where the person stores the Halloween costume and whether their sibling are wearing similar costume to questions about personal stories behind the students’ choice of costume. I was very impressed with the caliber of students’ questions, as well as the personal touches their questions added.

To encourage positivity and kindness among students, everyone then went around the room and said something they like about their friends’ costumes. The students had much to share, and complimented various aspects of their classmates’ costumes, such as the sparkles, capes, skirt, dress, hair bow, and more.

To end our session, students drew pictures of themselves in their costumes, with a particular emphasis on features that their classmates liked. For example, students liked one person’s costume because it was sparkly, so in her picture of her costume, she made sure to include tons of sparkles. Another student’s costume was admired for its beautiful wings, so that student made sure to spend time drawing the wings in her drawing. It was wonderful to see how students remembered what their classmates liked about their costumes- a little compliment could go a long way!

The students did an amazing job with their discussion today, with everyone waiting patiently for their turn, raising their hand, listening to their friends, and waiting patiently until it was their turn to share. It was amazing to see how focused everyone was on learning about one another’s costumes and their enthusiasm for asking questions and complimenting their friends.

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Using creativity in activities and communication at North Regional Library

This week at North Regional Library, students did the new activity Marketing a New (Old) Product, where they had to create a new consumer product based on an object in the room that I selected for them. But there was a catch– their product’s function could not be the actual function of the object! In other words, if I gave the group a pencil as their object, the function of the consumer product could not be to write. Therefore, students had to get very creative with their objects, in order to create a brand new function for them!

In our group, the students who participated worked very well together. They did a wonderful job of bouncing ideas off of one another and using their time very effectively. They were also natural public speakers– they did not even need to rehearse or write down their commercial, and they were even able to improvise new, func aspects of the commercials by themselves. They were completely in sync as well, improvising and adding features of their commercial together. Here’s an insight into how these students tackled the activity:

The students were given three different objects one at a time, and the third time around, there was a little twist on their instructions. Their first object was a styrofoam cup. The students created a product that could be decorated and customized. Their product was one where you could carry cereal around, and use with heated water as a foot bath (how creative!). The students came up with a commercial that highlighted all the important features of this object, including that it won’t break when you drop it, and that it is environmentally friendly and reusable. It was nice to see them comparing this function to other things, in order to emphasize why their product was unique/better (such as saying it won’t break when you drop it.)

The students’ second object was a pair of children’s fairy wings in the classroom (probably for Halloween). The students stuck with a theme of decoration, highlighting that these wings could be things children use to decorate. However, this was only an addition to the function of their product, which was to actually make children fly! They made their product include moving sensors to make the wings move along with a person’s hand motions, and included a metal portion of the wings to be heavy enough to lift a child up. It was very interesting to see their take on this product, since they were able to take the actual function to a new level by making this a product that could make children actually fly. I also didn’t even know about the motion sensor thing, so it was very interesting to see the students pull from other objects they had seen about on tv.

The third object for the students was a hairbrush. The students were getting very good at this activity, so now it was time to add the twist. This time, only one of the students could talk/write, and the other student could not use their words or write. The students were very good at communicating with each other, so I wanted to see how this would play out if students were not able to communicate in conventional ways. I made the person who was originally writing down the ideas unable to write or verbally communicate, and she had to result to acting things out and using hand gestures to get her ideas across. I could automatically see a difference in communication when this came into play. At first, the students found it hard to get on the same page, with them both expressing different ideas. But then, the person who was able to talk began guessing instead of just assuming what the non-verbal communicator was saying, and this create a much more positive dialogue, with both of the students making sure they were on the same page with their ideas. The non-verbal communicator did a great job of acting out sequences to think of the product ideas, and also pointing to me to emphasize other features of the product. Interestingly enough, the non-verbal communicator was the one who came up with the overall idea, and the student who could talk was confirming these ideas through her use of words. I think this had to do with the fact that the student who was talking had to spend extra time to make sure she was correctly understanding the non-verbal communicator’s actions, and this took up extra time and effort. But once I asked them to review what they had so far, the student who could talk began adding important features as well. Once it was time for the presentation (where both students could talk again), it was clear that they were indeed on the same page about their idea. Their hairbrush would shoot moisturizing agent out to help with dry or brittle hair, or would also be in a hair store to provide wigs for people.

Although we did not have time for the reflection period, I was very impressed with the communication I saw in the group. Both of these students are very talented and creative. Of course, the twist in the third situation made things more difficult and maybe even shifted the dynamic a bit about how the students were coming up with the ideas, but the students were quickly able to adapt to this and find ways to constructively work together to get on the same page. If we had more time in our session, it would have been interesting to do one more product, but this time switching who was talking and who was not, so that we could see how the dynamic shifted again. I often enjoy adding this twist to activities, so that students can practice the idea of working with different types of people, or people who have different methods of communication. Especially in this situation, where the two students were already friends and knew they worked well together before we even started our session. Therefore, it was very interesting to see how this played out in this week’s session!

I am excited to continue working with these students, and seeing how their participation and reflections continue to impress me throughout the school year!

Leadership in movies and TV

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!