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GO BACK All Goal Posters THIS SKILL Self-Regulation THIS GOAL Keeping an Open Mind

Keeping an Open Mind

A powerful tool to battle rigid thinking, Keeping an Open Mind develops a willingness to consider a variety of perspectives, values, opinions, or beliefs—especially ones that are contradictory to the individual's opinion. This builds upon a child’s theory of mind skills to not just know what others’ thoughts are, but to also consider them as possibilities for themselves.

Preview an SEL skills lesson: Keeping an Open Mind

1 Show the video to your students

[SCENE 1 – cafeteria, students are in line for food]
Narrator: It can be hard to deal with change.
Boy1: (sees menu sign for cheeseburger, happy emotion)
Chef: (changes menu sign from “cheeseburger” to “pizza”)
Boy1: (frowns, worried emotion)
Narrator: We can get angry or very worried when things don’t go the way we expect.
Boy1: (internal thought) What? We always have cheeseburgers on Fridays!
Narrator: To help us deal with change, we can use an Open Mind. An Open Mind says yes to imagining new ideas or changes. This helps us try new things. The opposite of an Open Mind is a Closed Mind. A Closed Mind doesn’t let in new ideas or changes for consideration. A Closed Mind makes us feel worried and upset when we don’t need to be.
Boy1: (angry emotion) I need to have cheeseburgers!
Chef and other students: (surprised)


[SCENE 2 – Cafeteria, students are in line for food]
Boy1: (sees menu sign for cheeseburger, happy emotion)
Chef: (changes menu sign from “cheeseburger” to “pizza”)
Boy1: (worried emotion, take deep breath)
Narrator: Having an Open Mind means we stay calm so we can let in a new idea. We picture the new idea, see that it’s not so bad, and lets us say, “Okay, I’ll try that.”
Boy1: (internal thought) Okay, I’ll try that.
Boy1: (to Chef) I’ll have a slice of pizza, please.


Narrator: When we use our Open Mind, we:
Pick a calming strategy. Open Minds think best when we’re calm.
Use Self-talk. Tell yourself, “I can try new things with my Open Mind.”
Use your Open Mind to picture doing the new way in your head.
Agree to try it.
Remember, it’s okay to feel uncomfortable when you try something new. Just keep using your Open Mind. It’s a new way of thinking so it takes practice.
Let’s see what using an Open Mind looks like.

[SCENE 3 – Natalie and Shay are playing Race Against Time]
Shay: (rolls dice, moves game piece to the center, makes a victory gesture) Yes!
Natalie: That was a good game. Wanna play again?
Shay: (looks at the clock) Uhm, we don’t have time. Indoor recess is over in 5 minutes.
Natalie: (arranges cards) Let’s change the rules to make it go faster. It would be like a speed round. We can take 3 cards instead of 1.
Shay: (unsure) I don’t think so. I like playing via regular way.
Natalie: (gives Shay a weird look, confused emotion)
Shay: (deep breath) Well… Otherwise we won’t have time to play. I guess we can try changing the rules.
Natalie: (excited) Okay, let’s play!
Natalie and Shay: (arrange game pieces)
Natalie: (rolls dice and moves game piece) Aw, man.
Shay: (excited) My turn! (rolls dice and moves game piece)
Narrator: Let’s see how Natalie and Shay were feeling when Shay kept an Open Mind.
Natalie: (thought bubble) I like playing with Shay. He let me change the rules this time, and we had a lot of fun.
Shay: (thought bubble) Changing the rules wasn’t so bad, and we got to play more. I’m glad I used my Open Mind.


Shay: When someone has a new idea, I can get worried and upset. But I used my Open Mind to try the new way of playing. First, I picked a calming strategy. I took a really deep breath. This made me feel better. I pictured the new way to see that it wasn’t a big deal. I told myself I can handle this, and I said to Natalie, “I’ll try it.”



Narrator: You can use your Open Mind to help you try new things. Shay noticed he was feeling worried about a new way of playing. Keeping an Open Mind helped Shay and Natalie have fun playing because Shay tried something new.



Narrator: So, what did we learn?

We can use Our Open Mind to help us do new things.

We pick a calming strategy. Open Minds think best when we’re calm.

We use Self-talk to tell ourself, “I can try new things with my Open Mind.”

We use our Open Mind to picture doing the new way in our head.

Then, we agree to try it.

Sometimes it takes time to feel comfortable with a new way.



APPLY: When is a time when you had to keep an Open Mind?
INFER: What might have happened if Shay did not agree to try the new way of playing?
ROLE-PLAY: You’re cooking at a friend’s house. They want to add chocolate chips even though it’s not in the recipe. You don’t want to.


2 Review with the Companion Worksheet
3 Apply new skills with activities & games!

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Other SEL materials on Keeping an Open Mind
Being Rigid Video
Being Rigid

Pre-k and K

Self-Regulation Interactive

Elementary School

Open Mind Headband Activity
Open Mind Headband

Pre-k and K

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