- 50 minutes
- Social and Emotional Skills
4Schedule 01/16/21 08:00 AM Vacant Lot Opportunity Mindset Seeing ourselves as empowered to be changemakers using our talents and abilities to take action and solve problems in our own neighborhoods requires an opportunity mindset. This lesson will help your students examine what an opportunity mindset is and the importance of having an opportunity mindset in order to create https://teacheverywhere.org/activity/vacant-lot-opportunity-mindset/Print
Seeing ourselves as empowered to be changemakers using our talents and abilities to take action and solve problems in our own neighborhoods requires an opportunity mindset. This lesson will help your students examine what an opportunity mindset is and the importance of having an opportunity mindset in order to create value for ourselves and others. (Remember, Transformational Mindset is one of our 4 Core Pillars!)
Students will collaborate with their classmates to examine the problems these vacant lots represent and ideate solutions. Students experience the process of identifying problems, empathizing with the market, and ideating meaningful solutions.
- Share with students the prompt: “Today and every day across America from coast to coast, from rural communities to suburbs to inner cities, we walk, pedal and ride by a landscape littered with vacant lots and boarded-up storefronts. There is a striking resemblance between these vacant lots and storefronts and the problems facing our communities.”
- Pro-tip: Use the PowerPoint to guide students through the activity.
- Next say: “Today, you will engage in an activity that asks you to look at these vacant lots and storefronts with an opportunity mindset.”
Social and Emotional Skills
- In this activity, students will exercise their Social Awareness skills as they are presented with a video of students walking around their neighborhoods and describing their thoughts and feelings about what they are seeing. This is a key step in this activity as it activates the student’s minds to begin relating to the students in the video and understanding their perspectives and experiences as they may differ or relate to their personal experiences. Students will have an opportunity during this activity to explore vacant lots that may not exist in their area. For example, if a student lives in an urban area, they may not have open fields that are vacant and available for soccer fields or playgrounds. Students will need to stretch themselves to research and appreciate the diversity of those communities to solute for that vacant lot during the time provided.
- In this activity, students are practicing Self-Awareness alongside their social awareness as they identify their personal emotions in reaction to the videos. They are challenged continuously through the activity to consider if their ideations are things they personally would like in that vacant lot or if it meets the needs of the community. Students are recognizing their inner strengths as they work together to determine who has artistic skills and who might be best suited to pitch their idea to the rest of the groups.
- Determine how you will share the activity with your students.
- Consider how the students will augment their vacant lot photos whether that is drawing on personal paper at home or using any EdTech tools virtually.
- Decide how you would like students to respond to any of the debrief questions after they complete the activity and how they would do so. Consider having students record their responses using EdTech tools.
- Post the activity to your classroom platform for students to access and complete or set up a virtual call session to walk through the activity with students.
- Before sharing the “Vacant Lot Intro Video”, prompt students to think about the following questions to be prepared to answer in their group:
- What do you see, hear, and feel while watching the video?
- What is the biggest problem illustrated in the video?
- Pro-tip: Share the questions in the chat for students to reference.
- Pro-tip: Determine if you will have students write responses to turn in or if you will have them share out.
- While in the main virtual room, share your screen, and show students the “Vacant Lot Intro” video that shows the world through the eyes of other young people like themselves.
- Pro tip: When sharing your screen, remember to check the box referencing also sharing your audio so that your students can hear videos before clicking “share.”
- Send students to their breakout rooms in groups of 3-4 for 5 minutes to discuss numbers 1 and 2 above. This is Slide 4 and 5 of the PowerPoint.
- Tell them they will be sharing out when they return to the main group.
- Bring students back to the main room and have groups share out and discuss with the class.
- Allow 11 minutes to send students back into their breakout groups and accomplish the following:
- Ideate on the problem in their specific photo.
- Discuss the possible solutions to the problem(s) illustrated in their photo.
- Use EdTech tools or paper and markers/colored pencils/crayons to illustrate on their photo a solution that will transform the community by creating value for themselves and others.
- In the main virtual room using Slide 6, after all student groups have returned, give each group 1-2 minutes to pitch the following to the class, including:
- How they defined the problem.
- How their solution to the problem will transform the community by creating value for themselves and others.
- After students pitch their group’s problem and solution, you may want to have additional conversations with students about their ideas using a “Yes and” dialogue. As groups share their ideas, allow other groups to provide “Yes and” feedback and build upon the ideas of their classmates.
- Ask the students to think about the following questions as they watch another short video, revisiting some of the sights and sounds they saw in the first video. After they watch the video, send them to their breakouts one more time and allow 3 minutes to discuss: “How important is mindset when reviewing a problem?”
- Play the “Vacant Lot Close” video. (:48)
- In the main virtual room, ask groups to share out what they discussed and have a class discussion on what an opportunity mindset is and the importance of having an opportunity mindset.
- An opportunity mindset is seeing the potential solution(s) when viewing a problem. Individuals with an opportunity mindset don’t see the vacant lot as only an eyesore or as a symbol of the failures of others, but as what the vacant lot could possibly become to create value for their community.
- Opportunity mindset also requires seeing ourselves as being empowered to take action and solve the problem. We have the power to make the change.
Students can complete the debrief in many ways. Some options include on paper, in a group setting via any virtual call platform, or by recording their feedback using EdTech tools and sharing with their classmates.
- How does it make you feel when you see abandoned lots in your own city?
- Can you identify any vacant lots, storefronts, or areas that could possibly be used to solve a problem in your community? What ideas do you have to go there?
- What Responsibility do we have to help our communities thrive (if any)?
- Why is it important for us to see ourselves as changemakers in our community?
- Why is it important to consider the needs of the community before generating a solution for the vacant lot?
- How is creating a solution that helps solve the needs of your community demonstrating Passion?
- What challenges did you face or experience when you were working to brainstorm ideas for ways that the vacant lot could be used?
- Why is it important to remember to use Sound Judgment when brainstorming solutions?
- How are opportunity mindset and Win-Win Focus related? Can you have an opportunity mindset without using Win-Win Focus?
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