Strategies for Empowering Students


  • To encourage students to use their metacognitive skills
  • To promote higher-order thinking skills
  • To help students become more aware of their environment

  • Use of creative thinking
  • Use of knowledge
  • Use of higher-order thinking skills
Integration of Content/Subject Areas

  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies
  • Science

Students will use their knowledge and/or experiences about various topics to help them complete the following activity. Place the students in cooperative groups. The teacher will write statements similar to those listed below on the board. Students will think of ways they can address the problem or situation. Each group will discuss the same problem. After deciding on a possible plan of action or solution, each group will select a reporter who will share the team's plan.

The students will discuss how they formulated their plan and why they think it would work. Sample statements are listed below. The students should be encouraged to add to this list.

"If I had the power to ________, I would . . .

    get someone to clean my room everyday, I would . . .

    stop children from going to bed hungry, I would . . .

    help older people, I would . . .

    get my mother to let me eat only what I liked, I would . . .

    stop children from fighting with each other, I would . . .

    make my (some relative or friend) feel better, I would . . .

    make my school a neat and clean place, I would . . .

    stop people from selling drugs in my neighborhood, I would . . .

    help everyone in my classroom get good grades, I would . . .

    stop wars in other countries, I would . . .

    buy my family a new home, I would . . .

    give everyone a loving family, I would . . .


If I had the power to eat ice cream for breakfast every day, I would rent a big rental truck, drive it to the supermarket, and fill it with every flavor of ice cream the store had. Every day I would eat a different flavor; maybe on some days I would mix two flavors together. Since I would have the power, I would let my little sister eat ice cream for breakfast too.

  • How were students able to relate to current problems in their home, school, or environment?

  • In what ways did they exhibit problem solving skills?

  • How did students demonstrate an awareness of events that surround them?

  • How did students exhibit team-building skills?


Excerpted from Beyond Rhetoric and Rainbows: A Journey to the Place Where Learning Lives ©1996 University of Illinois Extension.