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Student Leaders

Assigning Student Leaders in the classroom fosters ownership, community, and cohesiveness among class members. Student Leaders apply for a specific responsibility within the room and are assigned their role on a rotating schedule. When students feel more involved in the daily operations of the classroom, they begin to positively manage themselves and each other. Not only are students honored to hold these titles, an added benefit is a carryover effect that builds upon positive leadership skills.

How to use

1. Pitch the idea

Tell the students that soon they will have the opportunity to “apply” for classroom jobs as Student Leaders. Give them a few examples of the types of jobs that are available. Make sure they understand that becoming a Student Leader is a privilege and, if accepted, they must take it seriously by meeting all commitments.  Students are always eager to help. The more excited the teacher is, the more excited the students will be.

2. Define the jobs

In the beginning of the year, define and demonstrate how various classroom jobs are done.  A few examples of classroom jobs are: room maintenance (sweeper, board washer), teacher helper (paper handler, attendance monitor, messenger), technology champion (pass out computers, clean up after use), or peer support (new student greeter, nurse buddy).  Ideally, there should be one job for each student or an equitable rotation system.

3. Accept applications

Devise an application system for students to select the Student Leader roles that they feel comfortable with.  For example, it could be as easy as a checklist or student interview, while also being as complex as completing a formal application. Students can be asked to list their first, second, and third choice jobs and commit in writing that they will perform the job to the best of their abilities.

4. Hire Student Leaders

Assign Student Leader roles to the selected students and inform the class of the job rotation schedule (weekly, biweekly, monthly). Give each student an explicit job description. When it’s time to rotate duties, it becomes the previous Student Leader’s responsibility to teach the new Student Leader the job description.

5. Monitor performance

Monitor Student Leaders' behavior closely and provide timely and consistent feedback. If a student is not performing the job properly, conference with him or her and reinforce the expectations. If performance doesn’t improve, it might be time to consider asking him or her to step down from the assignment. If this happens, it’s very important to provide another chance during the next Student Leader cycle.

When to use

Student Leaders is a concept that works effectively in any grade, from elementary through high school. Name of jobs might change, but the need for students to help keep their class running smoothly is necessary no matter what the age of student. Assign Student Leaders throughout the school year to encourage structure and desirable behavior, specifically:
• At the beginning of the school year
• Upon a weekly or monthly rotation


Champion Roles

If a student finishes an assignment well before the others, designate him or her as a Champion. Teach the Champion the next step in the process and inform the class of who is the student Champion. If the others need help with the assignment, they can call on the Champion for assistance. This also serves as a high-level reinforcement of the concept for the Champion each time he or she teaches the others.  An added benefit is that Champion Roles free up time for the teacher to focus attention on students with greater needs.

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