Historical Leaders provide the context to map challenge responses
This activity walks students through the process of analyzing leader’s choices and responses to challenging situations.
Students are asked to infer leadership traits that are exhibited in those responses. Last, students think through an alternate response that the leader could have chosen based on contrasting characteristics.
Alternate Ending Graphic Organizer (one per pair)
Choosing Challenge Leader Bios
- Frederick Douglass – Choosing Challenge
- Shirley Chisholm -- Choosing Challenge
- Malala Yousafzai –Choosing Challenge
- Helen Keller – Choosing Challenge
- Nelson Mandela -- Choosing Challenge
Leadership Qualities list from a previous session
Leadership Qualities Handout (several copies for the group or displayed)
• WHAT WAS THE CHALLENGE: Model for students a life challenge that the leader overcame. Write a short description of the challenge in the appropriate box. • HOW DID THEY RESPOND TO THE CHALLENGE: Model for the students how the leader responded to the personal challenge. Write a short description in the appropriate box. • CHARACTERISTICS: Model for the students by choosing 3 positive characteristics that the leader used in their response to challenge. Use the Leadership Characteristics list as a resource to find the most nuanced descriptors. To model reflective thinking, don’t use general characteristics like teamwork or communication. • OPPOSITE CHARACTERISTICS: Contrast the three positive characteristics with three opposites that the leader could have used in an alternate reality. These should be the negative alternates to the three positive characteristics. Emphasize that this is an imaginary exercise. They are thinking in an alternate universe for the next section of the flowchart. • RESPONSE WITH OPPOSITE CHARACTERISTICS: Create a hypothetical reaction that could have happened from those traits. Infer how the leader could have responded if they were to use the opposite characteristics that you listed. • NEW OUTCOME WITH OPPOSITE CHARACTERISTICS: Inferring from the imaginary response, write in the fictional outcome of the original outcome that the leader faced.8. Discuss the idea that character traits (values/characteristics) lead to specific actions and responses. 9. Next, you will invite students to complete their own Alternate Ending graphic organizer with a different leader text. 10. Break students into pairs to work together. 11. Assign or let students choose another leader of choice.
Frederick Douglass Shirley Chisholm Malala Yousafzai Helen Keller Nelson Mandela12. Allow time for pairs to work through the Alternate Ending graphic organizer.
- Any material/video/data/documents you can supply as supplements will only diversify the formats from which your students are learning. If you decide to use leaders that are more relevant to your student group, simply remember that as long as the leader encountered a challenge and responded to it using characteristics you would like your students to value, it would fit!
1. You can begin with a circumstance where a person responded either well to a challenge or NOT effectively--and think through the logic of an alternate ending either way – try both!
2. Multiple groups can take their separate look at the same leader bios – their various points of view will naturally find them gravitating to different focal points in the bios. It may be interesting for you to see which group focuses on which ‘challenge’ points from the lives of the leader studied. Are they the same? different? What does that say about the groups doing the read?
1. Students can share their findings with the class or in small groups. Record conclusions and notice any similarities or differences between investigations.