Studying Leadership in Grades 4 and 5

The fourth and fifth grades recently finished their units on Leadership. Collaborating with the classroom teachers, Ms. Wilson asked the students to examine the qualities of a leader through their work in drama class. Each class took a slightly different approach to the unit (in typical Baker fashion.) Ms. Anderson’s and Ms. Sandler’s classes studied famous leaders of the 20th century. Ms. Sandler’s class also chose to investigate leaders from their personal lives. Ms. Ross’ fourth grade class divided into four study groups to study 20th century leaders: Women’s Rights, the Holocaust, Apartheid, and Civil Rights in the US. Each group spent time investigating their chosen leaders and the qualities that made them powerful agents of change. All three classes created short scenes that captured the key qualities of their chosen leaders. Some students chose to create “blinks”–a series of frozen pictures that illuminate key moments for each chosen leader. Each of them used quotes from their respective leaders as the inspiration for a performance piece. Students created pieces based on the way each leader inspired them. We investigated different connections between the famous leaders and created small acting companies based on these connections. Each company consisted of 3-6 people. In the fall, we used the acting tools and skills the students have developed over the years to create the performances of “The Gods Must Be Hazy.” The work in the leadership unit was more focused on the process of thinking through and working through the creation of a performance piece. Students learned to work in an ensemble and often, to compromise. I urge you to ask your student about the process of creating the work. Some questions you might ask your child include: What qualities were most outstanding for your chosen leader? What was the inspiring or powerful and unique quote you used to represent your leader in the scene? How did you choose the leaders who made up your group? What qualities or attributes made the group of leaders connect for you? If you follow the link below, you will be able to see the short pieces created by each group of students in your child’s class. (More tomorrow!) Ms. Anderson’s class: Five A Drama Leadership Videos. Winter 2011 Ross/Haug Grade 4 Debrief and Assessment: Sandler Grade 5B videos: Enjoy!

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