Teaching Tip Tuesdays – Leadership

Imagine that you belong to a group of children. You all want to do something, but you can’t decide what exactly. (1) Three boys want to go on a hike. Two girls want to go to the mall. One boy thinks watching television is just fine. The last boy doesn’t seem interested in anything at all. It takes an hour of arguing (2), but finally most of you agree to a hike – except the two girls who want to go to the mall won’t agree, and they leave the group.(3)

Those of you who are left arrange to meet outside the school in an hour. Everyone goes home to get their swimsuit and lunches. At the time of the meeting, everyone in the group shows up except for one boy. He thought you were all meeting at the church (4) – he never did make it on the hike. There is also a problem because one boy was sure it was a bicycle hike. (5) After some more arguing (6), you agree to wait while he takes his bike back home. That takes half an hour.

There are problems on the hike, too. One boy scrapes his knee, and you find that no one has brought any bandages. (7) There is also one boy who thought you were going to cook your lunches (8), and he has nothing to eat except raw wieners. This would be alright if someone remembered to bring matches, but no one has. (9)  Finally, when you get to the pond where you were going to go swimming, you find a “No Swimming” sign because of the pollution. (10)  It is too late in the day to get to a different swimming place. Tired and unhappy (11), you all head back home. None of you ever want to go hiking together again.

What was wrong with this group? What was missing? You can answer in one word – leadership. Reread this story, and every time you see a (#), figure out how a good leader would have changed things.


This is a great activity to have the students work on in small groups.

I actually found it in one of my old Scouting books. I adapted it a little bit and you can do the same. You can tailor it to fit your neigbourhood so that it can really engage the students. For example. there actually is a swim hole near our school that the kids often go to. Everyone in my class recognized this right away.

After each group has come up with the 11 things that could have made the trip go smoother, you can have the groups share their responses.

I like to use this activity early on in the school year and then assign leadership positions to the students in the class. They have seen the importance of strong leadership from this story and so it can inspire them in their role.

I hope you have found these Teaching Tips useful. Next week will be the final chapter for this school year. I think it is important for teachers to actually take a break over the summer. I will be doing my best to do so. Of course, a teacher can never really turn of the teacher part of his brain. I know I will probably still collect resources, and come up with ideas for the class. I may occasionally share these with you over the summer but for the most part, I will be posting other content or possibly even taking Tuesdays off.

7 responses to “Teaching Tip Tuesdays – Leadership”

  1. This is a good exercise for anyone, whether young or old, teacher or parent, etc. Everyone has some opportunity to make the world better by using leadership skills.

  2. Hi Chase … that's a good exercise for the kids .. and for us all .. checklists and be prepared .. advance planning ..

    Is "Be Prepared" – the Scout motto? It is the Girl Guides' one I think.

    That seems really sensible to give the class the exercise early on – identifying leaders within the group ..

    Great – have a fun day .. Hilary

  3. Have a great summer break! You have helped me a lot this year with ideas and strategies that improved my teaching practice.

    Thanks again,

  4. Hi Mil,

    I'm so glad I could help. I didn't know this series would be as popular as it was. I've been getting quite a few hits from teachers. That is very cool to see.

    I still think taking the summer off is a good idea. So kick back and relax and have a good one.