How can I build leadership skills in students and create social interest?

A reader asked me if I had any ideas or resources for building leadership skills. 

Q:  I asked [a teacher] if she had some thoughts on what would be helpful to her kids. The first thing that came to her mind was helping kids build leadership skills... or becoming comfortable with not being followers of what the cool group is doing,  but to able to stand up on their own and building/becoming comfortable with who they are. I am not sure where I would go for ideas... Do you have any ideas of a session that might work?
A: I would do an activity that builds on students strengths. I would do some activities that focus on the questions "What are you good at?" "What do you like?" "What are some of the goals you have?" "How are you going to accomplish those goals?" There are specific American School Counseling Association (ASCA) National Standards in the personal/social, academic, and career domains that those questions are related to. You can learn more about the American School Counseling Association (ASCA) National Model on the ASCA website.
Another idea is to have the students be in charge of something... like a special project.  The project could be related to school improvement, community improvement, or something that will help someone else. It could be as simple as having "jobs" in the classroom or cleaning up the school grounds. I have a strong Adlerian influence in my counseling. I try to build social interest in students. Building social interest makes students feel connected, gives students a sense of purpose, and it's empowering!
A book I would recommend for students to create a special project is The Giving Book. If you have a budget it would be cool if you could get multiple copies of The Giving Book so the students could have their own copy.  The Giving Book is a workbook where students can fill in the blanks. If you do not have enough money in your budget to order multiple books, you could buy one and copy and use the book as a guide.

I hope this blog entry gives you some ideas of how you can build leadership skills and social interest in students!

What lessons or resources do you use to foster social interest in students? Comment below, email metweet, or share on the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page!

Danielle is a K-12 Certified School Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, and blogger at School Counselor Blog, a place where school counselors share innovative ideas, creative lesson plans, and quality resources.  Contact Danielle via email, follow her on twitter, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.

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