Lesson plan

Positive Role Models

Positive role models can have a powerful impact on individuals and society. In this lesson, students will reflect on the term "positive role model," discuss positive role models in their lives, and research positive role models in history.
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Students will be able to generate a list of qualities that define a "positive role model," reflect on positive role models in their life, and research role models of the past.

(10 minutes)
  • Join students together in a circle, either seated or standing.
  • Explain that the class will participate in an activity where they will walk around the room to music. When the music stops, they will pause and create a group of three with the people closest to them.
  • Explain that you will ask a question, and each person will share their answer with their group, discussing for 2–3 minutes.
  • Play the music and ask students to walk, dance, or slide around the room.
  • Pause music.
  • Ask students to partner with a group of three people closest to them.
  • Ask, "Who is one role model in your life, and why?"
  • Give students 2–3 minutes to share their answers in their group of three.
  • Play the music and ask students to walk or dance around the room again.
  • Pause music.
  • Ask, "How would you define 'positive role model?'"
  • Give students 2–3 minutes to share their answer.
  • Play the music and ask students to walk or dance around the room again.
  • Pause music.
  • Ask, "How do you see yourself as a positive role model? Is there someone in your life you guide in a positive way, like a sibling, teammate, or friend?
  • Give students 2–3 minutes to share their answer.
  • Ring the chime after 2–3 minutes.
  • Bring students back together in a circle.
  • Write the words "positive role model" on the board.
  • Ask for 3–4 student volunteers to come up one at a time and share or write their definition for "positive role model."
(15 minutes)
  • Ask, "Why can it be helpful to have a positive role model?"
  • Take 2–3 responses from the class and make connections with each student's answer.
  • Explain that not everyone may have a positive role model in their lives, but that there are many people in history who we can use as role models.
  • Notice students who may not have a positive role model and consider pairing them up with a mentor so that they may have a positive role model.
  • Explain that they will be working in groups and researching role models from different times in history.
  • Assign a different decade to each group to research a positive role model that had an impact during that time.
  • Tell students that their group will be presenting their findings to the class.
(10 minutes)
  • Review the Role Models of History worksheet and directions.
  • Model and project on the board how to go online to research the group's questions.
  • Ask students if they have questions.
  • Break students into groups and assign each group a different decade to research.
  • Dismiss them to work on computers to conduct their research.
(15 minutes)
  • Walk around the room to see how groups are working together and to check student comprehension of the impact their chosen role model made in the time period they've been assigned.

Enrichment: Ask advanced students to write a thank you letter to a role model in their lives.

Support: Work one-on-one or in small groups with some students when working on research and group work.

(5 minutes)
  • Walk around the room and check student comprehension during independent work.
  • Collect student answers and observe students while presenting for comprehension of positive role models.
(5 minutes)
  • Bring students back together in a circle.
  • Ask each group to present their findings.
  • Use the PQS (Praise, Question, Suggestion) protocol after each presentation. Have students first offer praise to their classmates. Then guide them to ask a question. Finally, have them offer a suggestion.
  • Ask, "How can we remember these positive role models of history?"
  • Ask, "How can we remember to be the best we can be and serve as positive role models for others?"
  • Offer an opportunity for students to sign up to be a positive role model or mentor for younger students in school.

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