Posted in Classroom Guidance Lessons

Leadership – Historical Figure Poster

With student council elections right around the corner, I used this lesson to accompany the information I provided students on student council at our school. This lesson actually took two classes and the posters are great to display in the hallway! If you have a hard time printing the pages from the website, you can use the ones I included in the word document at the bottom of this post.

Lesson Title: Leadership – Historical Figure Poster

Grade(s): K-5

ASCA Standards:

  • A:A3.5 Share knowledge
  • A:B1.5 Organize and apply academic information from a variety of Sources
  • PS:A1.2 Identify values, attitudes and beliefs

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify leadership traits through one leader’s life.
  • Explore leadership character traits and apply those traits and skills to real life scenarios
  • Express their opinions about leadership traits in discussion.


  • Poster paper
  • Markers/crayons/colored pencils/pencils
  • Printed biographies from historical leaders

Today we will be discussing leadership. As a class, we will start by creating a list of people with positive leadership skills. Encourage students to consider leaders from a wide range of fields, including government, business, entertainment, philanthropy, and sports. For younger students, they may also include people like parents, teachers, friends, siblings, principals, etc. Ask how we know these individuals are leaders? What kind of behaviors do they exhibit showing us that they are good leaders?

Whole Group
As a class, brainstorm aspects of leadership. Ask, “Based on what we already know about each leader in the list we created, what are some traits that leaders possess?” On a white board, compile a list of leadership traits. Some traits might include honesty, vision, humility, competence, ability to inspire, intelligence, persistence, charisma, passion, emotional intelligence, curiosity, empathy, open-mindedness, empowerment, patience, diplomacy, and creativity.

Small Group
Work as a class or break into groups to explore thoughts/opinions on the following questions and scenarios listed on the table discussion cards below.

What traits do leaders have? How do you know? Is there such thing as a bad leader?  
Why is it important to have leaders? What would life be like without leaders? Share a time that you acted as a leader.  
How does having leadership traits affect the leader’s ability to make a difference?   What leadership traits do you have?  
You go to recess and start playing a game. Someone comes along and wants to play, but one of the kids tell the person that he/she can’t play. What would you do? Does that action show a positive leadership trait?   Your mom gets the flu and is sick and stuck in bed. What is something kind you can do that shows leadership skills?  
There’s an elderly woman across the street from you who lives alone. Her family lives far away and she is rarely outside. Is there something you could do to help her? How could you show leadership in this situation? You’re on a soccer team and your coach asks you to pass the ball to your teammate. You really want to score the goal by yourself, but your teammate is open. If you pass the ball to your teammate, are you still showing leadership?


Grades K-1: Explain that students are going to make a poster about their favorite leader. Ask students to write the name of this person, draw a picture of this person, and to include words and pictures that show how this person is a leader.

Grades 2-5: Explain what a biography is to students – A biography is a collection of information shared to tell about a person’s life and their accomplishments. Tell your students that they are going to learn about leaders from history and that they will then make a poster about this individual. Ask students to include the following in their poster: name, information about this individual’s life, character traits that made this person a good leader, behaviors that prove this person is a good leader, interesting facts about this person and his/her contributions, and one way that we can show similar leadership skills in our own lives. Students may work individually or in small groups. Provide poster paper, markers/crayons/colored pencils/pencils to complete this project.

Have students work alone or work in small groups Provide a separate printout for each student/group of several of the biographies found at the following website or at the bottom of this lesson plan:

Closing Discussion
Ask one member of each group to share what they learned. As a class, discuss:

  • Do leaders have to demonstrate all the leadership traits to be a good leader? Why or why not?
  • Which of the leadership traits do you possess? How might you use these leadership traits in your future career?

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