Jan Osborn
Business and Communication, Career and Technical Education
Material Type:
Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan
Middle School, High School
  • CTE
  • CTSO
  • Career Technical Service Organization
  • Leadership
  • NE Ag
  • NE BMM
  • NE CIS
  • NE Food
  • NE HSE
  • NE Medical
  • NE STS
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike

    Education Standards

    Know your CTSO (Career and Technical Student Organization)

    Know your CTSO (Career and Technical Student Organization)


    Students will start their Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) year with activities that apply important career readiness skills, including teamwork, communication, leadership, creativity, and utilization of technology.  They will also begin to understand the connection between what they are learning in the classroom and their future career path through one (or more) CTSOs.

    Know your CTSO (Career and Technical Student Organization)


    Students will learn and apply important career readiness skills, including teamwork, communication, leadership, creativity, and utilization of technology.

    Essential Question

    What is a CTSO and how can it help me and my future?

    Learning Goals

    • Network with other students.

    • Participate in self-reflection on personal leadership characteristics.

    • Explore CTSO website of choice to gain key information.

    • Create a full-page color ad or infographic promoting the CTSO of your choice at your school.


    Nebraska Standard:  

    - CIS.HS.6.3   Create and edit digital print design.

    Nebraska Career Readiness Standards:

    Communication, Teamwork, Leadership, Creativity, Utilizes technology


    Any CTE class could use this lesson (it would be best used at the beginning of the school year) to encourage membership of your CTSO. 


    Instructor notes:

    • One or two class periods.


    • One piece of paper for each student - have 4-5 assorted colors for them to choose from

    • markers, crayons, or colored pencils

    • Computers

    • or another customizable site that has an online timer, etc.


    Bell Work: Icebreaker

    • Fold your paper into four parts by folding in half and then in half again.

    • Write the following on your paper: (you could say all of these, but it would also be good on your classroomscreen site to have them up for all to see)

      • Top left corner - write five ways you can be or are a leader in your school, community, at home, etc.

      • Top right corner - write two to three characteristics or qualities that you believe make a great leader

      • Bottom left corner - write a piece of advice you would give to yourself three years ago

      • Bottom right corner - write the name of one person you really admire, and give two reasons why you look up to that person

    • Give students five minutes to answer these questions. (set your timer on classroomscreen)

    • Now, listen for my instructions!  Find:

      • One other person with a different colored paper and share your top right square

      • A group of 3-4 people, all with the same color, and share your top left square

      • A group of 2-3 people, with the same color marker you used (on at least one of your squares, if you used several colors) and share your bottom right square

      • A group of 2-3 people, with different colored paper and share your bottom left square

    • Bring the group back to their seats

      • Did you have anything in common with the students you connected with?

      • How does an activity like this help you become a better leader?

      • How does an activity like this help build a team?

      • Did someone share something that was surprising or eye-opening to you?


    Hook / Interest Approach: Have the following picture (or a picture of your CTSO logo) up on your screen or classroomscreen during the ice breaker activity and/or for the activity that follows.

    FBLA logo


    CTSO Ad/Infographic Design

    Present below information to students on a handout, smartboard, etc.

    Elements of an effective print ad are:


    • Headline:  attracts attention, leads to illustration, appeals to target market

    • Copy:  message, selling points, call to action

    • Illustration:  graphics, attracts and holds attention, projects image

    • Signature/logo/slogan:  identifies the CTSO, such as logo, slogan, recognition


    Elements of an effective infographic are:

    • The story - tell a story about your topic visually - what do you want them to know

    • Data - accurate data and credible references

    • Copy - short, descriptive headline(s)

    • Design/Colors/Fonts - personalized and appropriate to your topic

    • Graphs and Charts - display your data in a unique and creative way


    Place students in teams of 2-3 (of you can choose to have them do this individually). If you are letting them research the CTSO of your choice, you should put those that picked the same one together, but if it is for your CTSO, then combine them however you choose.


    • You are going to create a full-page color ad or infographic that can be posted on campus to promote our CTSO (or the CTSO of your choice) to other students.

    • Ad/infographic should include all four elements of an effective ad or five elements of an effective infographic and appeal to students at your school as the target audience.


    Encourage use of Canva or Adobe Express.

    Turn in or present to class as time allows - post around the room and/or in the hallways of the school as promotion of CTSO benefits.

    Closure - Group Discussion following activity:


    • What are the top three aspects of our/your CTSO that appealed to you?

    • What are two activities that you researched that you would like to participate in or learn more about?

    • What is the one thing you learned about today about our/your CTSO that you will share with someone else?

    Cover image:

    Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay