We ask a lot of our 4th graders. We assume that once they start the year, they are ready to become the role models and leaders that we expect them to be – yet we don’t always take the time to make sure they know what this means for them as individuals. Enter: “BE a Leader” lesson.
I started with asking the classes to tell me “What does it mean to be a 4th grader? What does it mean to be the oldest students in the school?” They could also instantly tell me it meant they were leaders and role models. When I asked them “What does it mean to be a role model? What does it mean to be a leader?” – they were a bit more stumped. A few chimed in that they needed to be responsible and several described the importance of following directions and hallway procedures, but that was the extent of it. I anticipated this! My next step was projecting the following list, which I told them were all traits I thought leaders show.
They took turns reading them aloud and if there were any that really stumped them, we helped each other to come up with a definition. I knew that even with some knowledge of what these words meant, they lacked an understanding of what these traits look like in action. So I pulled out my stack of positive trait character scenarios and read them aloud, one at a time, while the students guessed which trait the character was exemplifying. *Well actually, I tried giving the character cards and the trait cards to the students and having them find their matches, like I did in the spring, but realized quickly that their reading fluency and comprehension weren’t ready for this yet.*
Then the students gathered back into a circle and we talked about how we all have strengths and weaknesses. I told them the three traits of a good leader that I showed regularly when I was a 4th grader (great friend, responsible, goal-setter) and then asked them to take 1 minute of think time looking at the list to identify their own, then find a partner and share. I reminded them next that none of us show all of these traits all the time, and that there are always ones we could work on more. I told them the three that I needed to work on when I was a 4th grader (patient, brave, organized), gave them some think time to identify their own, and then again asked them to share with a partner.
Then I asked the students to pick one of those three traits that they could commit to trying to BE more of. I laid out little personal goal sheets and they picked the one out for the trait they were going to work on, then added two details about how they were going to be more of that trait. I very rarely use ‘worksheets’ (working on a post about that now), but this was an exception. Our students have these awesome folders with clear pockets on the outside and I planned for them to put their sheets in this pocket so that it would serve as a constant reminder of their personal goal.
While I was updating my character scenarios to add some new ones I wanted them to consider, I also made a BE bulletin board that would pair with this lesson and…..that would be easy to put up and leave up for the whole semester. I love beautiful bulletin boards. I do not love hanging beautiful bulletin boards.
Interested in the character scenarios and trait cards or bulletin board (and goal sheets) for yourself? Click on the pictures below to see more details about them in my store.