Team Building and Leadership

Sure teachers are good at telling kids what to do, but that doesn’t necessarily help students learn how to make good choices and be leaders. So I try to do less telling, and more guiding. The first part of my mission as a teacher is to help create “self-directed, independent, problem-solvers.” To do this, students need experience managing things on their own, with guidance when necessary.

One way to build teamwork, leadership and self-direction in Room 130 is through our student teams. Desks in our class are grouped in teams of six students. Each team elects a team captain, first by nominating, then by voting. The student with the most votes becomes team captain for a period of two weeks. The runner-up becomes the assistant captain and team checker.


The team captain’s role is to help their team to be the best they can be. The captain is also the person I deal with when I need the team to complete a job, or to correct a problem. Finally, the team captain get to walk next to the line in the hallway, helping their team stay on task.

The assistant captain takes over for the captain when not present, and also checks to make sure planners are being filled out during the day.


Each team has a weekly job that is completed independently of me:

  1. Runners. This job involves completing all in-class and out-of-class errands.
  2. Librarians. This job involves putting away all class library books by genre, straightening books, and making sure the class library looks its best.
  3. Lunchkins. This job involves filling out the morning lunch count form and passing it along to the Runners, as well as replacing the lunch magents back on the fridge for use the next day.
  4. Paper Patrol. This job involves picking up paper and trash from the floor, up to one foot away from each team.
  5. Supervisors. This job involves making sure all other jobs get completed, as well as recording on a Daily Behavior Form the students who have moved their magnets during the day.

Within this system, leadership is distributed so that students have more responsibility over their actions and the success of their team. Everyone matters…it’s sink or swim. And while I am there to throw out a life preserver every once and a while, the goal is to have each other helping to keep everyone afloat. It takes time for everyone to get their sea legs, but it does happen.

This page last updated October 13, 2009 @ 5:44 pm.