Open Mind

Description 

In this activity students will infer the thoughts or feelings of a character in a text. Students will represent those thoughts or feelings with symbols, words, or drawings. This activity should be followed up with either a discussion or brief writing exercise to explain or explore the student responses. This activity is appropriate for use with a fiction or non-fiction text with characters.

Preparation 

Select a text with characters . Gather supplies (drawing paper, pencils/markers). Prepare an assignment sheet with instructions. Prepare a sample Open Mind.
Activity Steps 
  1. Introduce Open Mind. Distribute the assignment sheet.
    You will need to decide whether you want the whole class to focus on the same character or use different characters. This will often depend on the specific text you use.
  2. Conduct a think-aloud for students as you complete a sample Open Mind.
    Try to use a character that will not be available to students so they won’t reproduce your ideas into their work. You can also use a character from a previously read text if necessary. Model for students your inferences about the thoughts or feelings of a character with words, symbols, or drawings. Support each of your inferences with evidence from the text.
  3. Distribute supplies.
    Distribute blank paper and have each student draw their own empty mind or you could photocopy the same image and distribute it to students.
  4. Have students draw the thoughts of a character in the empty mind and for each symbol, word, or drawing include a justification for its inclusion.
    Have students draw any symbols, words, or drawings inside the head that represent the feelings or thoughts of the character. The justification can be as simple as a line drawn from the symbol with a page number where supporting evidence can be found or a more in-depth description like “I included this because…”
  5. Have students draw the thoughts of a character in the empty mind and for each symbol, word, or drawing include a justification for its inclusion.
    Have students draw any symbols, words, or drawings inside the head that represent the feelings or thoughts of the character. The justification can be as simple as a line drawn from the symbol with a page number where supporting evidence can be found or a more in-depth description like “I included this because…”
  6. Share and discuss.
    There are multiple options for sharing and discussing the open mind drawings. If all of the students drew an open mind of the same character a whole-class discussion would work best. Students could add things to their drawings based on their classmates’ sharing. If students worked on different characters, you can be more creative in the way students share their work. Gallery walks with students giving each other feedback can be one way. If you have time, you could have students who completed different characters share their Open Mind with each other using a Fishbowl Discussion (see activity for instructions) or a modified think-pair-share (see activity for instructions).
  7. Reflection
    A sample reflection prompt: “In one to two paragraphs describe how your Open Mind drawing helped you better understand your character.”
  8. Students work with a partner and look over each other’s story grammar sheets. Students discuss similarities and differences, and areas of improvement for each.
    It may help to give students reflective questions to support their examination of each other’s work such as: · What was the same about your grammar sheets? · What was different? · Based on your partner’s sheet, is there anything you would change or add? · What details may need to be added in order to ensure you have fully captured the important aspects of the story? Students can also share with the larger group at this point, or story grammar sheets can be displayed and students can do a gallery walk.
  9. In pairs or individually, students reflect on their learning process either in conversation or in writing. Students answer questions including: · How is narrative writing different from expository writing? · How does identifying story grammar contribute
    Students may complete this step in a journal, in a class discussion, or on an exit ticket.
Downloadable Resources 
Login to See More