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Teaching leadership is usually a very rewarding experience, but it also can be frustrating. Materials that are appropriate for the high school or middle level haven't always been easy to find. Most leadership teachers have gotten good at adapting other materials to use with students—things originally intended for business leaders, college students, or trainers. As a former leadership teacher, I know the thrill of finding some good lesson plans or activities that others have successfully used that I didn't have to adapt or create.
Some of the best leadership teaching materials I have found have come from the sharing that goes on at student activity conferences. With file cabinets stuffed full of good ideas and lessons, I decided to create a space to share what I've collected and hopefully build a community of like-minded educators who can come together online to support each other with ideas, resources, and lessons of their own. So look around, use what you find, and please consider contributing something of your own!
The day to day structure of leadership classes varies on a continuum from a focus on planning activities and projects to a focus on straight curriculum. Most classes fall somewhere in between, with a combination of lesson plans and activity/project planning.
Evaluating student progress in an activities-based leadership course where not all students are doing the same work presents challenges for leadership class teachers. Deciding how learning will be assessed and grades will be assigned is a difficult task, and is one that leadership teachers continue to struggle with until they develop a system that works for them. This section includes descriptions of a variety of methods and tools used to evaluate leadership, samples of forms and rubrics used in leadership classes, and descriptions of how teachers calculate grades.
Check here for a recommended list of books for topics frequently covered in a leadership class.
Here are ten books I consider to be essentials for anyone who works with student leaders:
Activities & Lesson Plans
This collection of lessons includes links to lessons we have found online, as well as some that have been accumulated over the past two decades from attending conferences. It's a constantly growing collection, so check back from time to time. Attribution is included where it is known—people don't always put their identification on handouts at conferences!—and many thanks are extended to those who have been willing to share. Also, websites often change, so let us know if you find a link that isn't working. (Ed. note: Some links will take you to our old website, so please bear with us as we transition from the old website to this new one.)
Find lessons in these areas:
Rationale & Foundations
Check this section for information on the rationale behind teaching a leadership class as well as examples of leadership curricula from around the United States.