Student Writing Projects

Southdale Elementary 5th graders are developing employability skills through the Leader Valley Writing Project. The goal of this project is to demonstrate the impact of the Leader in Me® from the student perspective, while providing real-life leadership opportunities to participating students.


How I See Leadership in the School

By: Kaylan R.

The leadership I see at Southdale is amazing. I see it outside, in the school, and in my classroom.  For example, I see people Synergizing with each other when they complete school projects, collaborating during reading groups, and participating in activities outside at recess.

Another habit I see students using is Habit 4: Think Win-Win.  Some examples of students using Habit 4 is when they work things out if there is a problem, come to a consensus on a writing topic, and agree on answers when working together.

Finally, I see students using Habit 5: Seek First to Understand Then To Be Understood.  Some examples of students using this habit include listening to their peers before they talk during a conversation.  I also see students try to help others who are sad or upset and trying to make them feel better.

Every day I see students showing leadership. It is not just students who lead, the teachers and principals do, too.

How Leader in Me Impacts Bullying

By: Marli V.

I personally think that our schools have become safer because of Leader in Me.  For example, people stand up more to bullies because of the leader inside of them. I remember many times at recess, when someone was picking on another student. Another person who was not involved told the bully to stop. The bully stopped. I know that if someone is bullying another person, someone in our school would stop it. That makes me and a lot of other people feel safe.

One time I stood up to a bully that was calling a student mean names. That bully had stopped and walked away. After that I felt happy and proud because I stopped the bully.

My hope is that bullies will see leadership in others who do the right thing and might want to become a better leader themselves.  That means that there will be less bullies.  This is why I think our school is safer!


Working Toward Leadership Together

By: Maddie P.

Here in Southdale Elementary, we focus hard on leadership through synergizing. One way to do this is earning “leadership letters”. Throughout the school hours, we try our best to show our leadership skills. If the whole class is showing leadership qualities, the students will earn a letter as a class. At the end of each month, Southdale staff will gather together and decide which class out of the whole school showed the most leadership behavior. As a reward for the special class, they get the ‘Tiger Award’. This is a big deal because they are showing everyone that they are leaders!

But earning the leadership letters also lead up to a special day where you can do something silly, crazy, or fun as a class!  When the class gets their first letter, the students will think of a word that the letters will spell. An example may be, “Tigers” or “Leaders”. Once the word is spelled, Southdale students decide their classroom reward. Sometimes it can be something simple such as gum day or pajama day. But sometimes classes choose silly and unusual things like an ice cream party or popcorn and movie day!

By working on this together, this helps us keep practicing the seven habits and become great leaders.

How I See Our School

By: Colten T.

Leadership in our school is very important. At Southdale Elementary, we use leadership to represent our school in a good way. Something we use to make a better school is having a board right by the main doors. The board has school wide leadership job opportunities and applications on it that we can fill out the information needed and then give it to a teacher.

The job applications help the schools and the students by giving leadership jobs and providing the opportunity to act as leaders. One of the jobs is scuff patrol.  This is where the student takes a stick with a tennis ball on it and then will clean the black shoe marks the people leave on the floors. Another one is a poster board leader in which the person will make posters for the school.  An example of a poster seen around our school is “Think positive, Act positive and Talk positive.” It is a good rule to follow.

The part that is important about the jobs is that the students have to stay in and miss recess or do it on a nonscheduled time so that they don’t miss class. The interesting thing is that the kids get so excited about their jobs that they don’t mind coming to school early or staying inside for recess to accomplish their tasks. Remember you can change your school or life just by being a leader and our school believes that everyone can be a leader!


The 7 Habits Impacting Me

By: Kylie B.

In kindergarten my teachers started talking about The 7 Habits of Happy Kids.  We were all confused because nobody knew about them.  The 7 Habits help me because they gave me a route to follow so I can have a good life.  These are the 7 Habits and how I have used them.

Habit 1Be Proactive helps me so I cannot let other people tell me that they are in charge of what I say and do.  Before I had learned and started using this habit, I was blaming everything on everyone else and not taking charge for my actions.

Habit 2Begin With The End In Mind helps me so I cannot get halfway through a project and then have to think about it, so I take time at the beginning to have an idea about what I am going to do.  Otherwise, if I am doing a clay project and then I don’t know what I am going to do next, the clay dries out and I have to start all over again.

Habit 3Put First Things First helps me so I can get my homework done before I go outside and play.  Also, if my mom knows I have homework and she sees that it is not done then I don’t have to come in and disrupt my playing.  Then maybe the other person had to go in and by the time you are done with your homework it is supper time and your whole day has gone by.

Habit 4Think Win-Win helps me in situations when my friends and I have different ideas. An example would be when I want to play tether ball and the other person wants to play soccer. To make it a win-win we can play tether ball for a while and then play soccer for a while.  Also, thinking win-win helps so that the disagreement doesn’t go so far that it affects your friendship.

Habit 5– Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood helps me to remember to not talk while other people are talking. If I value other’s ideas, then it might be a better idea than mine. In reading class, we seek first to understand because we listen to other people read and then we can ask questions.

Habit 6Synergize helps me to work with other people and to get more done than I can alone. If I work with other people than I can finish things faster with more thoughts and ideas put into it.

Habit 7Sharpen The Saw helps me to balance my life by eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep.  It helps me to spend time with my family and still leave time for my friends.

Those were all of the 7 habits and how I have used them.

How the 7 Habits Have Helped Me

By: Sabina M

I have become more of a leader by coming to Southdale Elementary.  Before I came to Southdale I wasn’t that nice to my brother and sister.  I was not really a leader at home. A leader is someone who is a role model for others.  When I came to Southdale my classmates and my teacher introduced me to the 7 Habits,  I had trouble learning the 7 Habits at first, but my peers helped me.  After I learned what the 7 Habits meant I started to use them at school and at home.  For example, I help others at school, I’m organized at school and I’m friendly to my friends and my desk mates.  I use the Habits at home.  For example, I help my sister with her homework,  I help my mom clean, I do my chores,  I play with my siblings, and I put first things first.  Every year I get to learn more about the 7 Habits.  Southdale is a great school and it taught me so much about the 7 Habits.  Before I didn’t even know the 7 Habits even existed.  I have become more of a leader at school and at home, and now I use the 7 Habits everywhere I go.  


The 7 Habits

By: Jenna B.

All of the kids at Southdale show leadership by using the 7 Habits.  The 1st habit we use is Be Proactive, which means that you are in charge of what you do.  We use this habit by thinking about what we are going to do and then doing it if we feel it’s the right thing to do.  When you are being proactive it means that you do what is right even when no one is watching you.

The next habit is called Begin With The End In Mind.  This habit means to have a plan.  An example would be to have a plan so that you know what you are going to do throughout the day.  Beginning With The End In Mind means to set goals and think about if what your plan is going to turn out positive or negative to yourself and others.

The third habit is Put First Things First, which is about working and then playing.  We have learned to do our homework and then play with our friends or anything else like that.  This habit will impact our future by us knowing to work and then play.  When you Put First Things First you do what is most important, even if it is not fun, and then you do fun things like playing with friends or playing video games.

Habit four is called Think Win-Win.  This habit tells us to work together with others and compromise with them instead of doing it all your way.  This habit will definitely help us when we get jobs because we will know that not everything can be our way.  It also helps us in school when we are working in groups.  Thinking win-win is another way of saying that you are coming up with a plan that makes everyone involved happy.

The next habit is Habit 5, Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood, which means to listen before you talk or ask questions.  In school, we listen to what the teacher has to say and then if we do not understand it, we ask questions.  An example would be in math class, we listen to what our teacher is teaching us and then we ask questions.   If someone is sad, then you can Seek First To Understand Then To Be Understood to cheer them up by listening to what they are sad about so you know how to cheer them up.

Habit 6 is one of our last habits and it is called Synergize, which is when you work together with one or more people and all  are involved and are participating.  In school we synergize by working together and making sure everyone is happy on decisions that we make.  A quote that describes Synergizing is “Alone we are smart.  Together we are brilliant.” -Steven Anderson

Habit 7 is last, but not least, Sharpen The SawSharpening The Saw does not actually mean that you go and sharpen a saw.  When you Sharpen The Saw it means that you balance out your life between play, work, and rest.  When you use this habit you probably feel that balance feels best!  You can Sharpen The Saw by eating right, getting a proper amount of sleep each night and spending time with family and friends.

How To Use The Seven Habits When You Are Older

By: Ella H.

In this school we learn about the 7 Habits of Happy Kids which are really helpful to know. Why? Because when you grow up, you’re most likely going need to use them. The 7 Habits help you not to have misunderstandings and just plain make your life easier. The 7 Habits help you to be responsible and reliable. They also help you to have understanding and reasonableness. Here are some ways you can use the 7 Habits:

Habit 1 is Be Proactive and you can do that by only being in charge of yourself, not trying to be in charge of anyone else. Another example is when you are a grown up and you have to do something to help with a party. You could use Habit 2 Begin With The End In Mind and have a plan. Or say you are an adult in a different situation and you need to do something for your boss and get it to her/him tomorrow. You could use Habit 3 Put First Things First and get it done before you do anything else. Habit 4 is Think Win-Win and you could use this when you are in college and you are on a team sport and really want to win. But if you don’t you win, you should still be a good sport. Another example when you are an adult, you will have a job and you will need to understand your boss. To do this you could use Habit 5 Seek First To Understand Then To Be Understood. What if you have a collaborative piece or project in college or in work you would need to use Habit 6, Synergize and work together. Finally, perhaps if you are really stressed out you could Sharpen The Saw, Habit 7 and keep balanced by focusing on your body, heart, mind, and soul.

So these are the 7 Habits, you should use them because they really will help you when you are older.


What is a Leader?

By: Jazlynn B.

A leader is helpful, a role model, organized, nice, and friendly.  My friends and I Synergize by sticking up for people and we also help each other.  We are also good leaders by being Proactive and Beginning with the End in Mind.  For example, we hand our homework and projects in on time.  The 7 Habits of Effective People have also helped us be leaders, too. We are leaders all the time.  We cheer each other up by ¨filling their buckets¨, or making them feel good.  Our teachers have helped my friends and I understand the 7 Habits so that we can be leaders everywhere.

Leadership Events

By: Keagan R.

Leader In Me provides opportunities for students to be leaders. Personally I think the best opportunity is leadership events. Leadership events are for inspiring kids and teachers to use the 7 Habits and make schools the best places they can be.

At my school we do some leadership events that students lead and help with activities like games and projects. Many events are meetings for teachers or principals to learn more about Leader In Me. There are other events where there are kid and adult speakers that talk about leadership. Many important people go to these events.

One event I have been to twice is the Strictly Business Expo. Kids can have many jobs there, such as being a greeter, helping people, or speaking. Many businesses come to the Strictly Business Expo and hand out pens and paper to promote their business. Many of the adults are surprised and happy because kids are leading at the event.

The other events I have been to had many teachers from Iowa or farther. Many people do activities or speak about Leader In Me or special people that have worked with leadership. When I am a leader it makes me feel good about myself and makes me a better leader. I encourage all people to use 7 Habits and step up to leadership opportunities.


We are Leaders

By: Perla R.

At Southdale we hosted a Leader In Me Symposium. During the Leader In Me Symposium, kids were encouraged to be a tour guide or a greeter. You could also be in charge of games that require Synergizing.  Synergizing is Habit 6: We lead better together. One of the games that people could play was a game where people needed to Synergize in order to determine if something is or isn’t in their circle of control, which is also related to Habit 1 Be Proactive.

Another way for students to be leaders is to participate in the school assembly. Students can put on a play about the 7 Habits. They can also take photos or be an announcer. Parents can come and they see the leadership roles that students are participating in. It is one of my favorite days of the school year because you get to participate in what you want to do. It also helps you understand the 7 Habits more clearly and it gives you an opportunity to work on your leadership skills and be creative and fun. At the Leader In Me Symposium I was a tour guide. One of my responsibilities was to take people around the school and talk about the leadership roles and the things we like to do that involve the 7 Habits. I also took them to play the games they wanted to play. Having a leadership role makes me feel happy because I get to work with others and have fun doing it. It also makes me feel like I can do all sorts of things.