Teaching Leadership in the Classroom

Hi teachers! I wanted to stop by today with some ideas for teaching our students how to be leaders! Each day we hope that we teach our students how to be kind, how to have courage, and how to be a great friend. Teaching them to be LEADERS means that they show kindness and courage even when no one else will! Leaders stand up for others and stay true to what they believe in.

I’ve caught myself saying “Be a leader” or “Don’t do something just because your friends are!” But taking the time to really discuss this with my students has made all the difference! I have a few lessons in my Leadershipย pack as well as some picture book recommendations I wanted to share with you! ๐Ÿ™‚

Like each of my character packs, I break the unit into 4 lessons. ๐Ÿ™‚ In my classroom, our character lessons were usually about 20-30 minutes so we typically do a classroom discussion and then a quick reflection activity. ๐Ÿ™‚

To start off our leadership unit, I always ask my students “What is a Leader?” We play Follow the Leader to really “hook” them and then we make a class chart all about leaders in our lives. I explain it to them as someone we look up to or someone we watch and follow.

Leaders We Follow Anchor Chart

We usually study authority figures pretty early on in the year so they we can pull from that if we need to! Then I have my students reflect on a leader in their life! I really stress that a leader is someone who teaches us what to do! ๐Ÿ™‚

Writing Page for Leadership in the Classroom

After a long discussion about leaders in our lives, the following week (or lesson) we talk about what makes a GOOD leader. I make sure to explain to my students that some leaders are NOT good. I think it’s important that they know how to identify a good leader and a bad leader! Of course this isn’t a discussion on respecting grown ups…it’s more about looking at our peers, older friends, brothers, sisters, etc. and making sure they are acting in a way we should follow. ๐Ÿ™‚

We make a class chart all about good leaders! ๐Ÿ™‚

What Makes a Great Leader

Great Leader Anchor Chart

Then, we sort different scenarios into being a leader and NOT being a leader. ๐Ÿ™‚ Then students draw and write about it. The scenarios I use are things that could truly happen! I throw in a few silly ones, but it’s so important to me to use this time to really discuss things that my students could see and how to handle that! ๐Ÿ™‚

Leadership Sort for the Classroom

The third lesson is on recognizing each other when they’re being leaders! I introduce our Letters to a Leader bucket to my kiddos and explain that when one of their friends leads them they can acknowledge it and thank them! ๐Ÿ™‚ ย It’s so important that our little ones take time to notice and recognize each other! ๐Ÿ™‚ Of course, the teacher could also write notes to kiddos!

Letters to a Leader Bucket

Leadership Note to Encourage Great Behavior

The last lesson in our unit would be on really talking about how WE are leaders. Students think about someone in their life that they lead (younger students, their friends, younger kids at the grocery store, etc). We also read some situations as a class and talk about how to handle each one as a leader! ๐Ÿ™‚

Teaching Student They Are Leaders Writing Page

Scenarios for teaching kids how to be leaders

How to Be a Leader Flipbook

This entire unit focuses on leadership, but it hits on kindness, fairness, and so much more! Being a leader means showing all of these things! ๐Ÿ™‚ All of the above pages and activities are included in my Leadership pack! ๐Ÿ™‚ You can click any picture to head there and learn more! ๐Ÿ™‚

I also put together a list of some great books with strong leaders in them! For this list, I only included GOOD leaders. There are also lots of picture books with BAD leaders (like Recess Queen) that you might choose to read and discuss how someone stands up to them! : ) I’ve included fiction and nonfiction books! Underneath the picture, you can find the title, author, and link! ๐Ÿ™‚

Picture Books with Strong Leaders

Martinโ€™s Big Words byย Doreen Rappaport

I Dissent by Debbie Levy

Brave Girl by Michelle Markel

The Right to Learn by Rebecca Langston-George

The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Cole

Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson

Imogeneโ€™s Last Stand by Candace Flemingย andย Nancy Carpenter

Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester

Grace for President by Kelly S. DiPucchio

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovellย 

There are truly so many great ways to teach our little ones to be leaders! I truly believe having these discussions and teaching our students exactly HOW to do these things makes all the difference! Our kiddos are looking to us…we are shaping the future! YOU are so important teacher!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Leadership In The Classroom


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