Sharing Leadership in Your Classroom

Leadership is a word we hear and use frequently in reference to our adult lives, as well as those of children.  At a young age, students take turns being line leaders and progress to be leaders of group projects.  A few simple team building activities, followed by a reflection, can help teachers get a better understanding of the leadership styles of students and the overall group dynamics. 

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Magnetic feet

Supplies: There are no supplies needed for this activity. 

Activity: Split students into two groups.  Each group gets into a horizontal line and everyone’s feet should be touching the feet of those next to them.  The two lines should be facing each other. The goal is for each team to get to the middle, however, if anyone’s feet disconnect, the teacher sends the group back to the start line. 

The Reflection: Introduce the concepts of leadership and team work:

  • What are the different roles on a team?
    • Leader
    • Follower
  • Is the leader more important than the follower?
  • As a follower, how can you ensure success of the group?
  • As a leader, how can you ensure success for the group?
  • Why is it important to take on different roles when you are part of a team?

Ask students to identify what role they took during the activity.  Repeat the activity and challenge them to take on a different role (be specific:  if you identified as a leader, you may not talk for the first ten minutes).  Change the goal to keep the students engaged.  Instead of being the first team to make it to the center without their feet separating, the goal is to be the first group to retrieve a nearby object, like a ball. 

Follow up with another reflection.  Ask students if it was challenging to take on a different leadership role.  Ask them to give an example from their lives when they have been a leader or a follower.