In one ear went one message. Ten children later, out came a completely different message.
Second-graders at Arthur W. Edwards Elementary School participating in a leadership program found out just how easy it was to communicate the wrong memo Monday.
The phrase "I like to kick my ball down the hall" had morphed into "You are a happy face" during the learning game telephone in which each child relays the message to the next one in line.
The lesson in communication was part of a program put on by 26 students from Havelock High School’s leadership classes.
And the 96 second-graders who participated in the program quickly understood its significance.
"We tied this right to the election, showing them the qualities of a good leader," said second-grade teacher Geri Gares. "They need to know that even though they are younger that they can still make a big difference. This is important especially because of what’s going on in their community right now."
The program kicked off with the younger students and a musical big book in which they sang "Proud to be an American" with artwork they had produced with the song’s lyrics.
Then the students broke off into groups and played games geared toward teaching them different aspects of leadership.
"This is a project-based learning activity," said Myra Cook, a second-grade teacher at Arthur Edwards. "The kids are doing hands-on activities and they have a product in the end. It’s a more rigorous kind of learning. We start where they are and build them forward.
"The name of our unit was ‘Journey to Become a Leader’ and it started with leadership and who can be a leader. What does a leader look like and how do they act? What kind of character traits does a leader have?"
John McLeod, teacher of the leadership class at Havelock High as well as the faculty advisor for the school’s student council, said the activities weren’t just games for the second-graders.
"The second-graders are playing games based on communication, ideas like trust, responsibility, learning the win-win situation, and then what my students will do is ask them questions and bring meaning," he said. "Many times we play games that we learn things from but we just don’t realize that we’re learning. My students are going to make sure that the second-graders know what leadership lessons they have learned."
McLeod said the high school students were learning as well.
"They are learning leadership skills because they have organized the activities and come up with the questions, so they’re learning how you lead a group," he said.
Donnie Richards, a member of the high school leadership class, said the program was good experience.
"We do activities like this in class all the time. This gives us a chance to have another way to go through it," he said. "It’s been great. It’s actually good teaching experience for us."
The project ended Tuesday on Election Day when the elementary school students voted for president.
"The whole school, K through 5, is going to vote and then our kids will tally the vote and use that as their math for tomorrow with graphs and tally marks," said Cook.