Ever since I was introduced to her work, I have been very much inspired by Lesli Margherita, or as she’s known on Twitter Queen Lesli. Let me start by saying 1) All Hail the Queen and, 2) Queen Lesli Margherita, you have an open invitation to come on this blog whenever you’d like—you’re such an inspiration to my students and myself. Now that that’s out of the way….
I once heard her explain the concept behind her title of Queen as giving herself the title no one else would give her. In an interview in 2014 on The Theater People Podcast with Patrick Hinds, she encouraged the listeners to give themselves their own title, “Whether it’s King, whether it’s Queen, whether it’s Supreme Ruler Of My Room. What’s going on in other people’s kingdoms doesn’t matter; be you, and you rule your own kingdom. Recently, she was on The Hamilcast with Gillian Pensavalle and stated how important it was for people to take control of their happiness and their lives. Take these statements and Ms. Margherita’s positive and hilarious social media presence, and I came up with this lesson plan.
We were learning about character traits, self-esteem, and kindness, and I declared myself the Supreme Ruler of The Speech Room. As my students laughed at me, I asked what they’d call themselves. The students wrote their titles on name tags, ranging from royalty to most hard-working to best at practicing their sounds. As they completed this portion of the exercise, I drew a castle on my large whiteboard, not a great castle, but it had a moat and a drawbridge. This was the Supreme Speech Castle. I told them that whenever we were in the speech room, they were in the speech castle, and they would have to represent their titles. I asked how they would want their titles described, and words they would not want to be called. The breakdown looked like this:
|Positive Character Traits||Negative Character Traits|
|A good listener||Annoying|
The next thing I did was ask my students how they demonstrated each positive quality towards other students at school. Each student shared their anecdotes about how they were kind and fun and hard-working, and some even explained why they were those things. I then asked about how they acted when they were confronted with a negative character trait, and how it made them feel. I was met with frustrated, annoyed, upset, and unheard. I explained that it was for these reasons, we wanted to work hard not to demonstrate those characteristics, and that we did want to show off how kind we were. I shared that someone (Queen Lesli Margherita) once shared with me (via something she said on The Hamilcast), that when confronted with these negative experiences, we could just pull up our draw bridges and ignore what was going on in other kingdoms. Not our kingdoms, not our castles, as one student said.
My challenge to them is to continuously show off their positive attributes and to draw up their “moats” when faced with negativity. My challenge to you this week is threefold: 1) Come up with your title and leave it in comments if you’re feeling proud of it, 2) Decide on character traits you’d like to be known for and show them off, and 3) When faced with negativity, instead of feeding into it, draw up your moat and make your kingdom the happiest place on Earth. Straighten your crown and rule your kingdom. You can learn more about Lesli Margherita at http://www.leslimargherita.com/ and on Twitter at @QueenLesli, and I strongly suggest you do. You’ll laugh, you’ll learn, and you’ll learn how royal we all are.
Keep playing with words and see what your message creates!
–Stef the StageSLP