Use quotes to explain personal ideas on leadership
Understanding our collective idea of leadership is a vital place to begin. Analyzing our own ideas and experiences with leadership, as well as looking at the lives of leaders from the past, helps us to frame our way forward. When we have a clear idea of where we are headed in developing our leadership skills as individuals and groups, we will make great progress toward realizing our leadership goals!
But Leadership is a big topic. This lesson gets students just starting to articulate their initial ideas about what leadership means to them. In the process, they’ll hear new and divergent ideas from their peers.
If you’re starting a series of lessons on leadership with this lesson. Consider choosing a GUIDING QUESTION from the list in the Leadership Roundtable lesson.
1. Display the array of quotes around the room.
2. Tell students that they will be walking around the room silently reading the quotes and taking notes.
3. As they circulate, students should consider the question: Which quote best defines leadership? Why?
4. Allow time for silent walking, reading, and reflection.
5. Students should be prepared to share out once they return to their seats.
6. Students can take pictures of the quote they pick, or—once all students have finished, gather the quotes and lay them out in the student circle.
7. Ask students to read their quote to the group and explain why that quote in particular stood out to them. Some students may be willing to share a personal story or reason why they picked that quote.
8. Consider using the stems below to elicit the logic behind the students’ choice of language:
"I picked this quote because ___________________________."
"In my opinion, this quote communicates ________________ when it says ________________."
9. Allow time for all students to share.
10. Follow up this student discussion on leadership by asking students to summarize their ideas into one word. You are looking to gather a list of leadership characteristics based on students’ ideas.
Use this stem if necessary, “Leaders are ________.”
11. Create a “Leaders are…” list from student-generated characteristics. You will use this list as a reference throughout subsequent sessions.
1. Have students Pair-Share their ideas about leadership rather than sharing out to the entire group.
2. Instead of discussing and sharing, students can draw/sketch pictorial representations of their chosen quote to promote thinking and conversation in a new way.
3. Choose different quotes that speak to issues currently facing your class/ school/ community. This way, you can easily change the activity to focus on themes or
values other than leadership such as integrity, generosity, etc…
If you’re using this as a jumping off place, keep the quotes and Leaders Are list posted. Refer back to these ideas as you progress through the unit.
Invite students to PAIR-SHARE about someone personally connected to them who they see as a leader. Have them explain why!