Leadership Activities for High School, Middle School, and Elementary Students

Teachers can help students to improve their leadership skills while in high school.

Part of a young person's education should involve learning how to be a strong and confident leader. This is especially true for high school students who will soon go off to college or a job, and who need to be comfortable with taking initiative. Though many students already have a role in a high school leadership position, not all students are comfortable taking that kind of responsibility upon themselves.

Therefore, one way in which high school students can plan to learn such leadership skills is by having a teacher who is willing to teach them the way. Effective teachers can introduce students to these important leadership skills, such as being capable of making responsible decisions, thinking critically and acting as a positive role model, by playing classroom leadership games at school, all of which can prepare students for future challenges. Whether you are in high school, middle school or elementary school, engaging in leadership activities is always a good idea.

1 Brainstorming For Change

In this activity, the teacher divides the classroom into groups of four or five people. The aim is to find solutions to political, economic or social problems. The students work together and brainstorm large and small scale solutions to the given problem topic. After each group has completed a list of detailed solutions, take part in a discussion involving the rest of the class and talk about which of the solutions they see as viable options and why. His could lead them to realizing they enjoy team building and problem solving, and might push them to join the student council at their middle school or high school.

2 Leadership Characteristics

This classroom leadership game helps students identify the characteristics of a good leader. The teacher divides the students into groups of two or three people. Each person in the group must recount a story of someone she feels is an influential leader. After each story, students should point out what characteristics they feel made the person in the story a good leader. At the end of the activity, the students draw up a list of all the characteristics of a good leader and stick them up on the walls around the classroom. Student leadership is important at any grade level and having their leadership qualities recognized by peers may push them to be more involved.

3 Blind Fold Leader Game

To start the game, the teacher can position all students in a single line, then create a starting point and a finishing point. The teacher must then blindfold all the students apart from the student at the front of the line. Next, the teacher should instruct each student to place their left hand on the left shoulder of the person in front of them. The teacher must say “Go” and the leader without the blindfold must walk towards the finish line and instruct the students that are blindfolded behind. To add an extra challenge to this activity, the teacher can position obstacles along the path so that the leader will have to give instructions to the followers in terms of how to get around the obstacles. Once the finish line is reached successfully, another student can take the turn to lead.

4 Silence Classroom Leadership Game

A classroom leadership game such as this can force one or more people to reveal their leadership skills. The teacher starts by dividing the group into two teams and positioning them on either side of the room. Next, the teacher will give the students instructions such as “Line up according to birth dates,” or “Arrange yourselves into alphabetical order according to last names.” The students must then complete the activity without speaking. and those already with high school leadership skills may automatically take the initiative, and other students can join. They can make hand motions or write instructions down on paper, however, the teacher's only instruction to them is that they cannot speak. The first team to complete the task wins the game. Working with their team members like this on team building activities can create friendships and encourage students to step out of their comfort zone.

5 Conclusion

All of these games can be incorporated into lesson plans as leadership activities for middle school or high school students alike and incorporate important lessons like goal setting, mentoring others, teaching leadership and even improving self-esteem. Cultivating student leaders really begins in the classroom and through a simple activity like playing a game in class, students can grow to be an effective leader and utilize creative thinking during their decision making. Next time you’re looking for leadership activity ideas, consider these activities to apply during the school year and create better communication skills and critical thinking skills that your students can apply to real-life!

Sabrina Stapleton has been writing since 2001 with her work focusing on academic writing in the field of health and fitness. Stapleton holds a Master of Arts in physiotherapy as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in sports rehabilitation and physiotherapy from Kings College University.