Weekly Slides

Open-Mindedness - Week 2

By Jeff Bryan


What I want for you as you move from here is to become free and critical thinkers…by daring to challenge the accepted “truths” that come from our social echo chambers, to help restore the art of informed, intelligent and enlightened debate.

-Lester Holt

For an in-depth overview of each weekly slide presentation, please skip below to your specific grade level.
  • If you would like to ask questions of, learn from, and share best practices with Partner Schools nationwide, please join our Google+ Community here.
  • For the P2 Reflection Journals, used by all elementary students at the end of the week, click here.
  • To see the 1-page Open-Mindedness Character Card and share it with your students’ families, click here.

Starting Monday, Partner Schools nationwide are learning about open-mindedness. This character strength is critically important in today’s hyperconnected Information Age. We’re bombarded with more information than ever, which makes you think we’d be more open-minded to a variety of viewpoints.

However, because clicks and shares lead to advertising dollars, much of that information is filtered in a way to show us what we already agree with – leading to ideological echo chambers. As this article and the below video explain, those echo chambers may be dangerous to the future of our unity as a country.

So what is open-mindedness and why does it matter? Open-mindedness is the willingness to actively search for evidence that goes against one’s favored beliefs, plans, or goals. Those demonstrating open-mindedness see the other side and fight the tendency to have a bias for their own views. And, rather than favoring the socially dominant views, they give attention to those that are less dominant.

This character strength helps individuals build knowledge about specific issues or points of view – and provide sound recommendations and advice. Open-minded people do not jump to conclusions. Instead, they seek out and examine all of the available evidence before forming an opinion.

Grade K-2 (Click here to jump to the deck)

This slide presentation follows the day-by-day model in the sequence of understand, engage, and reflect. Over the course of the entire week, students will be prompted to think about and discuss open-ended questions that are embedded into the presentations.

  • Day 1 will help your students understand open-mindedness by defining it, providing a quote, and through a 4-minute video clip of kids trying sandwiches.
  • Day 2 will revisit the definition of open-mindedness and expand upon your students’ understanding through the book Weslandia read aloud.
  • Day 3 will allow your students to engage with being an open-minded person through an activity called the “Try It – You Might Like It.”
  • Day 4 continues student engagement through a class discussion on a quote.
  • Day 5 is time for reflection. You can find the P2 reflection journals here and then print them for your students.
  • Additional Resources: If you want to go deeper on this character strength, there are additional resources provided at the end of the presentation.

Grade 3-5 (Click here to jump to the deck)

This slide presentation follows the day-by-day model in the sequence of understand, engage, and reflect. Over the course of the entire week, students will be prompted to think about and discuss open-ended questions that are embedded into the presentations.

  • Day 1 will help your students understand open-mindedness by defining it, providing a quote, and through a video of Kid President.
  • Day 2 will revisit the definition of open-mindedness and expand upon your students’ understanding through a 3-minute video about making discoveries by keeping an open mind.
  • Day 3 allows students to engage with open-mindedness through the activity “Take Another Look.”
  • Day 4 allows students to engage with open-mindedness through a class discussion on a quote.
  • Day 5 is time for reflection. You can find the P2 reflection journals here and then print them for your students.
  • Additional Resources: If you want to go deeper on this character strength, there are additional resources provided at the end of the presentation.

Grade 6-8 (Click here to jump to the deck)

At the middle school level, the slides will look a bit different. Instead of a day-by-bay model, the slides follow the sequence of understand, engage, reflect — with a greater emphasis on the engage portion. The purpose of removing the day-by-day approach is to give you more freedom. Don’t let this stress you out. The key to remember is that teachers don’t need to get through all of the slides. If you want to spend two days on one slide, go for it. If your students are ready to move on, full speed ahead! It is completely up to the facilitator.

  • The understand section includes videos on confirmation bias and the film Moana, as well as articles about traits of open-minded people and how our social media feeds became “echo-chambers.” All videos and articles have follow-up questions for you to create a dialogue among your students.
  • The engage section includes turn-and-talk, a class discussion, and an activity called “Step Outside Your Comfort Zone.” Feel free to use any, or all, of these activities in your class!
  • The reflection section is a continuation of the engage section with a class skit on open-mindedness and includes reflecting upon two specific questions.
  • There are also additional resources that includes video clips from 12 Angry Men and an article explaining that 6 out of 10 people share articles without actually reading them. The 12 Angry Men videos and questions will be particularly useful in social studies classes — as they directly relate to civics and citizenship.

Enjoy the slides — and please be sure to let us know how it’s going by posting to our Google+ page and on Twitter!







Jeff Bryan
COO and co-founder of The Positivity Project

Working with educators across the country to empower their students to build an Other People Matter Mindset.