Inside the Head of a (future) Leader

We've had an awesome MLK-filled week in my fifth grade classroom! 
The kids have studied him before (since Pre-K) but we were able to do some further study and find out some more lesser-known facts about him, as well as study the basics of his life and legacy. 

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her weekly "Five for Friday" linky party:

And Amanda from "Teaching Maddenness" for her "Friday Flashback" linky.

We used a lot of the activities from my Martin Luther King packet. Click here for the original post: Celebrating Martin Luther King and click here to purchase on my TpT store: Martin Luther King Multi-Subject Activity Pack

Here are some of the activities we did:

1. We first defined what a leader is:
(Click the picture to download the poster for FREE!)

2. Inside the Head of a Leader
And then we discussed what made Martin Luther King, Jr. a leader. We listed the qualities of leadership he exhibited and things he was passionate about inside his "head."

Disclaimer: I am by NO MEANS an artist, so don't judge my poor representation of MLK :) 

I told the students that Martin wasn't the only leader in history. We discussed various examples of other heroes and their characteristics (many of which over-lapped). I then told them I was staring at 17 FUTURE leaders. 

3. "Inside the Head of a FUTURE Leader"
We repeated the exercise, only this time each student got a profile of a boy or girl and filled it's head with leadership qualities they have and different things they are passionate about. They turned out SO well!

Here are some examples:

4. "Slap That Bug" Spelling Game:
Thursday are Spelling Game days in my classroom! The students literally run to class on Thursdays and beg to know which game we'll be playing in preparation for the test on Friday. I'll be doing a full post on all of the different games we play, but this week we used one of their favorites, Slap That Bug!

Slap That Bug! is a spelling and vocabulary review game that can be used for any subject. I use magnets to sticky tack to attach little "flies" to the board, each with a point value (positive or negative) on the back. I divided the students into two teams. Then I called one student up and asked him/her to spell one of our weekly words. If the student answers correctly, he gets to "slap" (with a fly swatter) a fly and then will add or subtract the points to his team's score.

I've also done a version of this with glossary words or vocabulary terms. Each "fly" had a word written on it (I laminated the flies and then use dry erase marker to write the words and change them for each unit). I break the class into two teams and then call up one student from each team. I read the definition and the first person to "slap" the correct word earns a point for their team. 

Great for sight words, word families, even math problems!

Here's a tracking sheet that keeps the students engaged and holds them accountable for the words they need to study:

This is a Classroom Management system that I started using during group work:

When we do a partner- or group-work activity, the students start with the letters to spell N.O.I.S.E. Each time I have to remind the students to lower their voices or stay on-task, I remove a letter (they're magnetized on my board). When the E, S, and I have been removed, the class goes to "NO Talking"

It is very effective and visual way of reminding students to stay focused and quiet while they have the privilege of working with others.

Click HERE for the original link from Pintrest.

Well that's my week in a nutshell (albeit, a rather large nutshell!) Thanks for making it all of the way through - go on over and link up a re-cap of your own ideas!


  1. You are so clever! But I love the fact that you are not too proud to blend your great ideas with other ideas you find on the web, etc. Adds up to very effective teaching methods! Those 5th graders are blessed to have you!

  2. Love, love your "leaders" projects...those turned out so cute! What a great way to expand on what they've already learned about MLK in prior grades. Love your fun spelling activities, too!

    Thanks for sharing your great ideas with us!

    Teaching Maddeness

  3. I love your "Inside the Head of a Leader" project. My thirdies could even get into it. Putting in the pinterest file for next year!! Thanks for sharing. BTW...I am your newest follower! Love the blog!

    Kathy O.
    Third Grade Doodles

  4. Hi,
    I am trying to find the profiles of the children's heads and cant. Can you tell me where you found them?
    Thank you!


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