What Does the Leader Say

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

- Ralph Waldo Emerson


Above the almighty test score, it is important for children to grow up to be compassionate, kind, and responsible human beings.

Beyond the ability to read, write and do arithmetic, it is important for children to leave school with character.

Emotional intelligence matters.

Manners matter.

As educators and parents, we are faced with the question: How do we prepare our children for the adventures that lie ahead of them in an ever changing, global world? How do we prepare them to interact today, and tomorrow?

I believe that the answer resides in educating the whole child.

There are countless ways to go about this.  At my school, one tool we use is The Leader in Me

The 7 Habits empower children to take ownership of their own education. The 7 Habits are ubiquitous, leaking into every area of their lives - school, home, social.

The Leader in Me program provides a foundation on seven core habits that work for them now. This base helps children make choices today.

And yet, these are guideposts the children can take with them for the rest of their lives.

I raise my hand. To testify. I am a big fan of the 7 Habits. 

These life skills have changed me as a teacher, as a parent, as a wife, as a woman. The circle of concern, circle of influence tool is my current mainstay.

If you're not familiar with the 7 Habits, check out the adult version.

The coolest thing we've done to date is our first ever pep rally (remember those?). I've taught at my school for 12 years, and this was a first. And it was raucous and incredible.

The rally started with the Mission: Impossible theme music as one of our second-grade teachers authoritatively marched into the gymnasium dressed like a spy. Pointing toward her eyes in a backward V, she revved up the crowd with a gesture: I'm watching you.

She then opened an oversized brief cased housing eight signs.

One at a time she held up each habit, invoking the student body to shout it out: Habit #1, Be Proactive ... and so forth. After the seventh habit was parroted, she pulled out a final sign: What Does the Leader Say? 

With that, the second grade students stood - along with their world language teachers (me included!) - and performed a dance we had practiced for three weeks. Tacking onto the viral video "What Does the Fox Say?," we had created an offshoot for our leadership rally.

Seven habits / of our school

Be proactive / and think win win

End in mind / first things first

Seek first to understand

Synergize / we're a team

Have fun / and sharpen the saw

But there's one sound, that we all know

What does the leader say?

Be proactive, think win win (x3)

Synergize, cooperate (x3)

Sharpen, sharpen, sharpen the saw (x3)

First, first, first, first things first (x3)

The second grade students rocked it!!

The song may be overplayed, but the student body was stoked. The teachers were pumped ... the entire community was given a booster shot to live the 7 Habits.

Do you have a favorite habit?

P.S. Everything is awesome video is downright awesome!

Ciao for now.