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This lesson provided by:
Author: Sandra Thomason
System:Covington County
School:Straughn Elementary School
Lesson Plan ID: 12970

What Makes a Good or Bad Leader?


After deciding on the criteria of a good leader, students research either a good or bad leader, create a class presentation of that person which focuses on his/her impact on history. Students then write and perform a three to four minute skit to illustrate the leader's impact on American life.

Content Standard(s):
CE(K-12) 1. Courage
CE(K-12) 2. Patriotism
CE(K-12) 3. Citizenship
CE(K-12) 4. Honesty
CE(K-12) 5. Fairness
CE(K-12) 6. Respect for others
CE(K-12) 12. Compassion
CE(K-12) 13. Tolerance
CE(K-12) 20. Respect for the environment
CE(K-12) 24. Loyalty
CE(K-12) 25. Perseverance
SS(6) United States Studies: 1877 to the Present4. Describe changing social conditions during the Progressive Period.
SS(6) United States Studies: 1877 to the Present5. Identify causes of World War I and reasons for entry into the war by the United States.
SS(6) United States Studies: 1877 to the Present6. Identify cultural and economic developments in the society of the United States from 1877 through the 1930s.
SS(6) United States Studies: 1877 to the Present8. List key figures, significant events, and reasons for the involvement of the United States in World War II.
SS(6) United States Studies: 1877 to the Present12. Identify components of John F. Kennedy's New Frontier and Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society.
SS(6) United States Studies: 1877 to the Present13. Describe the role of major civil rights leaders and significant events occurring during the modern Civil Rights Movement.
ELA(6) 3. Apply strategies that include making complex predictions, identifying the likely source of a text, and comparing to comprehend sixth-grade informational and functional reading materials.
ELA(6) 10. Use punctuation correctly in writing, including apostrophes to show possession and semicolons joining two independent clauses.
ELA(6) 11. Apply the rules governing capitalization of proper adjectives, map directions and regions of the country, seasons, titles, words showing family relationships, subjects and courses, and divided quotations.
ELA(6) 12. Apply grammar conventions in writing with consistent verb tense; nominative, objective, and possessive pronouns; and subject-verb agreement when interrupted by a prepositional phrase.
ELA(6) 14. Use organizing and paraphrasing in the research process.
ELA(6) 16. Demonstrate eye contact, articulation, and appropriate voice intonation with persuasive presentations.
TC2(6-8) 2. Publish digital products that communicate curriculum concepts.
TC2(6-8) 12. Use digital tools to communicate and collaborate at all levels from interpersonal to global.
ELA2013(6) 37. Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking. [L.6.1]
ELA2013(6) 39. Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening. [L.6.3]
Local/National Standards:  
Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will participate in group discussion of the criteria necessary for leadership. Students will conduct research using the Alabama Virtual Library, Internet, reference books and textbooks. Students will create a multimedia presentation of the research results of a selected leader in history. Students will justify opinions concerning good or bad leadership in journal entries, group discussion, and a presentation. Students will write and help present a three- to four-minute skit.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

Students will work cooperatively with a group.

Approximate Duration of the Lesson: Greater than 120 Minutes
Materials and Equipment:

Teacher-made list of leaders from the targeted historical period, costumes (optional), class text, Media Center access

Technology Resources Needed:

Computers with Internet access, presentation software such as PowerPoint, LCD projector or other means of projecting computer images, printer


Students should have participated in an ongoing discussion of the leadership of Americans studied in social studies classes throughout the term. Student will need an introduction to the Internet for research, to the Alabama Virtual Library databases, and to the basics of presentation software.

1.)Introduce the lesson by leading a class discussion on the nature of the leaders mentioned in their social studies class or read about in language arts. Guide the discussion to include the character traits of good or bad leaders. The following website will be helpful for the teacher.
(What Made Selected Good and Bad Leaders in America from 1945 to 1974?)
A six weeks’ long lesson plan for 6th graders hosted by Houston Teachers Institute

2.)Divide the class into groups of five. Explain to the students that each group will conduct research on a selected leader and then compile and present their information in a slideshow. Pass out both rubrics and a teacher-made list of good and bad leaders in history to each group. Go over the rubrics and the list of leaders for the students to research.

3.)Lead a brief review of the important facts about each leader on the list. Discuss again what makes each a good or bad leader.
Note: It would be a good idea to have this discussion throughout the year during social studies classes to prepare for this activity.

4.)Each group then selects a leader to research and present. The group must then present its selection to the teacher in a written statement which should include why the group has selected this leader and what character traits he/she displays. The teacher can use these selection requests to insure there is no repetition.

5.)Once groups have chosen their leaders, research should begin using the Alabama Virtual Library, Internet search engines, the textbook, and any other reference material available. Instruct students to search for background information on their group's leader and any information which characterizes him/her as a good or bad leader. Instruct students to look for and include several successful or unsuccessful events in history that made the leadership of this person good or bad.
(Alabama Virtual Library)
Database of journals, encyclopedias, and other resource materials

6.)Assign a journal entry which requires each student to express his/her opinion about the leader his group is researching, about the character traits this leader displays, and about anything he/she can learn from this leader's actions.

7.)Allow ample group time for students to compile their research, plan, and create their presentations. Presentations should include background information, events which characterize the leader as a good or bad leader, any additional information the students learned about that leader, and their opinions about him/her.

8.)Remind students to check grammar, spelling, mechanics, sentence structure, and sentence expression in the presentations. Remember to check on group progress often to insure projects that both fulfill the requirements and foster a sense of accomplishment and pride.

9.)Annouce that on the day students' projects are presented, each group will present an original three- to four-minute skit that visualizes why the group characterized its historical leader as good or bad.

10.)Each group shares its presentation with the class and conducts a question-and-answer period while setting up for the skit. The group then presents its skit to the class.

11.)Allow the class to vote at the end of all of the presentations on which group presented the best skit (most instructive and entertaining). Provide a reward or certificate for the winning group.

Attachments:**Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download.
Assessment Strategies:

A PowerPoint rubric and research rubric will be used for the teacher's assessment. Presentation of the skit will be judged by the class. Examples of rubrics can be found at Rubistar and at teAchnology.

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior

Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.
Variations Submitted by ALEX Users:
Alabama Virtual Library
Alabama Virtual Library

Hosted by Alabama Supercomputer Authority
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The Malone Family Foundation
The Malone Family Foundation
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