ALEX Lesson Plan


What Makes a Good or Bad Leader?

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Sandra Thomason
System: Covington County
School: Straughn Elementary School
  General Lesson Information  
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.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
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
TC2 (6-8)
2. Publish digital products that communicate curriculum concepts.
Examples: Web pages, videos, podcasts, multimedia presentations
TC2 (6-8)
12. Use digital tools to communicate and collaborate at all levels from interpersonal to global.
Examples: instant messages, e-mail, blogs, wikis, collaborative authoring tools, online learning communities
  • Demonstrating digital file transfer
  • Examples: attaching, uploading, downloading
    ELA2015 (6)
    37. Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking. [L.6.1]
    a. Demonstrate knowledge of subject-verb agreement when interrupted by a prepositional phrase, with inverted word order, and with indefinite pronouns as subjects. (Alabama)
    b. Ensure that pronouns are in the proper case (subjective, objective, possessive). [L.6.1a]
    c. Use intensive pronouns (e.g., myself, ourselves). [L.6.1b]
    d. Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in pronoun number and person.* [L.6.1c]
    e. Recognize and correct vague pronouns (i.e., ones with unclear or ambiguous antecedents).* [L.6.1d]
    f. Recognize variations from Standard English in their own and others' writing and speaking, and identify and use strategies to improve expression in conventional language.* [L.6.1e]
    ELA2015 (6)
    39. Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening. [L.6.3]
    a. Vary sentence patterns for meaning, reader or listener interest, and style.* [L.6.3a]
    b. Maintain consistency in style and tone.* [L.6.3b]
    SS2010 (6) United States Studies: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
    1. Explain the impact of industrialization, urbanization, communication, and cultural changes on life in the United States from the late nineteenth century to World War I.
    SS2010 (6) United States Studies: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
    2. Describe reform movements and changing social conditions during the Progressive Era in the United States.
  • Relating countries of origin and experiences of new immigrants to life in the United States
  • Example: Ellis Island and Angel Island experiences
  • Identifying workplace reforms, including the eight-hour workday, child labor laws, and workers' compensation laws
  • Identifying political reforms of Progressive movement leaders, including Theodore Roosevelt and the establishment of the national park system
  • Identifying social reforms of the Progressive movement, including efforts by Jane Adams, Clara Barton, and Julia Tutwiler (Alabama)
  • Recognizing goals of the early civil rights movement and the purpose of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
  • Explaining Progressive movement provisions of the Sixteenth, Seventeenth, Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twenty-first Amendments to the Constitution of the United States
  • SS2010 (6) United States Studies: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
    3. Identify causes and consequences of World War I and reasons for the United States' entry into the war.
    Examples: sinking of the Lusitania, Zimmerman Note, alliances, militarism, imperialism, nationalism
  • Describing military and civilian roles in the United States during World War I
  • Explaining roles of important persons associated with World War I, including Woodrow Wilson and Archduke Franz Ferdinand
  • Analyzing technological advances of the World War I era for their impact on modern warfare
  • Examples: machine gun, tank, submarine, airplane, poisonous gas, gas mask
  • Locating on a map major countries involved in World War I and boundary changes after the war
  • Explaining the intensification of isolationism in the United States after World War I
  • Example: reaction of the Congress of the United States to the Treaty of Versailles, League of Nations, and Red Scare
  • Recognizing the strategic placement of military bases in Alabama (Alabama)
  • SS2010 (6) United States Studies: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
    4. Identify cultural and economic developments in the United States from 1900 through the 1930s.
  • Describing the impact of various writers, musicians, and artists on American culture during the Harlem Renaissance and the Jazz Age
  • Examples: Langston Hughes, Louis Armstrong, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Andrew Wyeth, Frederic Remington, W. C. Handy, Erskine Hawkins, George Gershwin, Zora Neale Hurston (Alabama)
  • Identifying contributions of turn-of-the-century inventors
  • Examples: George Washington Carver, Henry Ford, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Alva Edison, Wilbur and Orville Wright (Alabama)
  • Describing the emergence of the modern woman during the early 1900s
  • Examples: Amelia Earhart, Zelda Fitzgerald, Helen Keller, Susan B. Anthony, Margaret Washington, suffragettes, suffragists, flappers (Alabama)
  • Identifying notable persons of the early 1900s
  • Examples: Babe Ruth, Charles A. Lindbergh, W. E. B. Du Bois, John T. Scopes (Alabama)
  • Comparing results of the economic policies of the Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover Administrations
  • Examples: higher wages, increase in consumer goods, collapse of farm economy, extension of personal credit, stock market crash, Immigration Act of 1924
    SS2010 (6) United States Studies: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
    5. Explain causes and effects of the Great Depression on the people of the United States.
    Examples: economic failure, loss of farms, rising unemployment, building of Hoovervilles
  • Identifying patterns of migration during the Great Depression
  • Locating on a map the area of the United States known as the Dust Bowl
  • Describing the importance of the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt as President of the United States, including the New Deal alphabet agencies
  • Locating on a map the river systems utilized by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) (Alabama)
  • SS2010 (6) United States Studies: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
    6. Identify causes and consequences of World War II and reasons for the United States' entry into the war.
  • Locating on a map Allied countries and Axis Powers
  • Locating on a map key engagements of World War II, including Pearl Harbor; the battles of Normandy, Stalingrad, and Midway; and the Battle of the Bulge
  • Identifying key figures of World War II, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, Sir Winston Churchill, Harry S. Truman, Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Michinomiya Hirohito, and Hideki Tōjō
  • Describing the development of and the decision to use the atomic bomb
  • Describing human costs associated with World War II
  • Examples: the Holocaust, civilian and military casualties
  • Explaining the importance of the surrender of the Axis Powers ending World War II
  • SS2010 (6) United States Studies: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
    9. Critique major social and cultural changes in the United States since World War II.
  • Identifying key persons and events of the modern Civil Rights Movement
  • Examples: persons—Martin Luther King Jr.; Rosa Parks; Fred Shuttlesworth; John Lewis (Alabama)
    events—Brown versus Board of Education, Montgomery Bus Boycott, student protests, Freedom Rides, Selma-to-Montgomery Voting Rights March, political assassinations (Alabama)
  • Describing the changing role of women in United States' society and how it affected the family unit
  • Examples: women in the workplace, latchkey children
  • Recognizing the impact of music genres and artists on United States' culture since World War II
  • Examples: genres—protest songs; Motown, rock and roll, rap, folk, and country music
    artists—Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Hank Williams (Alabama)
  • Identifying the impact of media, including newspapers, AM and FM radio, television, twenty-four hour sports and news programming, talk radio, and Internet social networking, on United States' culture since World War II
  • SS2010 (6) United States Studies: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
    10. Analyze changing economic priorities and cycles of economic expansion and contraction for their impact on society since World War II.
    Examples: shift from manufacturing to service economy, higher standard of living, globalization, outsourcing, insourcing, "boom and bust," economic bubbles
  • Identifying policies and programs that had an economic impact on society since World War II
  • Examples: Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 (G. I. Bill of Rights), Medicare and Medicaid, Head Start programs, space exploration, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), environmental protection issues (Alabama)
  • Analyzing consequences of immigration for their impact on national and Alabama economies since World War II (Alabama)
  • SS2010 (6) United States Studies: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
    12. Evaluate significant political issues and policies of presidential administrations since World War II.
  • Identifying domestic policies that shaped the United States since World War II
  • Examples: desegregation of the military, Interstate Highway System, federal funding for education, Great Society, affirmative action, Americans with Disabilities Act, welfare reform, Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind Act
  • Recognizing domestic issues that shaped the United States since World War II
  • Examples: McCarthyism, Watergate scandal, political assassinations, health care, impeachment, Hurricane Katrina
  • Identifying issues of foreign affairs that shaped the United States since World War II
  • Examples: Vietnam Conflict, Richard Nixon's China initiative, Jimmy Carter's human rights initiative, emergence of China and India as economic powers
  • Explaining how conflict in the Middle East impacted life in the United States since World War II
  • Examples: oil embargoes; Iranian hostage situation; Camp David Accords; Persian Gulf Wars; 1993 World Trade Center bombing; terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001; War on Terrorism; homeland security
  • Recognizing the election of Barack Obama as the culmination of a movement in the United States to realize equal opportunity for all Americans
  • Identifying the 2008 presidential election as a watershed in the use of new technology and mass participation in the electoral process
  • 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.

     Preparation Information 

    Total Duration:

    Greater than 120 Minutes

    Materials and Resources:

    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.


    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.