Character Minutes. . .Sharpening Lives

 Planned Learning Experience: Positivity

(Sample Planned Learning Experience in

 High School-Career Tech Curriculum)


Objectives

  • Identify the benefits of positivity to employees, employers and society.
  • Complete activities that relate to positivity.
  • Define positivity.
  • Analyze critical thinking scenarios that relate to positivity.
  • Compose responses to journal questions on positivity.

Introduction to Positivity

Divide students into small groups of 2-3 students and ask them to brainstorm the "most positive" individuals they know. Ask the students to share what the person “does and says” that displays the trait of positivity. After the small groups have met, ask groups to share back with the larger group.


Definition of Positivity

The ability to focus on the positive side of a situation despite the challenges that may be involved.

Benefits of Positivity to Employees, Employers and Society (see Teacher Resource Guide)

Employee and Employer Benefits

  •  Creates a customer-friendly environment
  • Provides a positive focus that allows individuals to cope with life challenges
  • Creates a work environment where individuals enjoy coming to and being at work
  • Increases job satisfaction
  • Increases worker productivity

Society Benefits

  • Provides a sense of hope
  • Creates a feeling that the world is a “good” place and “good” will prevail
  • Provides an inner personal support that helps individuals do more

Activities that Relate to Positivity

Activity #1

Have a class discussion using the following questions.

  • Do you think a person is “born” with positive or negative thinking? Explain.
  • What impact can negative thinking have on life in general?
  • What are things people can do or say to promote positive thinking?
  • How can positive thinking and attitude impact a company or workplace?
  • If a person grows up in a negative environment and they want to make sure that they don’t have a negative outlook, what are things that they can do to prevent negative thinking?
  • Can negative thinking ever be beneficial? If so, when?
  • When a pessimist becomes a part of a group, what can a person do to prevent the group from becoming negative?

Activity #2

Divide students in small groups (3-4 students). Give each group a set of “statewide” newspapers.

  • Have students write “P” if it is a positive article and “N” beside each negative article.
  • Ask students to tally the number of each category.
  • Ask each group to share a negative item from the newspaper. Then, as a class, ask students to find a “positive” side to the story.

Discussion question:

Why is it important to see the “positive” side even when things go bad?


Activity #3

Share a positive story of something an individual did---found in a book, newspaper or on the Internet.

Discussion question:

  • What can a person gain/learn from this story?

Activity #4

Ask students to use individually brainstorm:

  • Things you like about (choose one area---self, school, work)
  • Things you don’t like about (use the same area)

Discussion questions to follow the above activity:

  • Which list was easier to create?
  • Why do you think the negative list is sometimes easier to create?

Critical Thinking Scenarios that Relate to Positivity (see Teacher Resource Guide)

Directions: Have students read, analyze, evaluate and respond to the scenarios below.

Scenario #1 The company you work for is going to have to lay off five employees. Everyone feels bad about the downsizing of the company. The downsizing will occur in two months. The “Employee Care” committee decided to come up with ways to keep attitudes positive.

The following suggestions were made:

Help the employees with resumes

Commit to helping the employees being laid off in finding work

Starting a food and clothing pantry for employees and laid off employees

Provide a $25.00 gift card to laid off employees

Discussion Questions:

  • What was positive in the scenario?
  • Rank choices for the committee to implement from “most” helpful to “least” helpful to the employees
  • How will the decision of the “Employee Care” committee impact the following groups:
    • The employees that are being downsized?
    • The employees that remain at the company?
    • The company?

Scenario #2 A co-worker has been very negative at work and throughout their life. The individual realizes it is a problem and wants to make a change. They have asked you for support and help in making a change.

  • If you serve as their mentor, what would be five things you could do to support the co-worker in becoming a more positive individual?
  • Rank the items in order from most challenging to least challenging with “1” being most challenging.

Scenario #3 During employee/organizational meetings, one of the employees/members is constantly making negative remarks. No matter what is said, he/she has something to add on “why it won’t work,” “we’ve already tried it” or “nobody will like that idea.” Lately you have noticed that other employees/members are picking up on his/her negativity.

  • Analyze the situation and come up with three things that you and the other employees/members could do to turn around the meetings and create a more positive work environment.
  • Rank the items from “1” to “3” with “1” being the item that the negative employee would be least likely to reject.

Journal Questions

Directions: Have students journal responses to one or more of the questions below throughout the month as the group focuses on positivity.

  • Describe how you feel positivity impacts schools, work, and families.
  • Describe the most positive person you have ever known, then explain how their attitude has made a difference.
  • Do you feel a person is born with an positive outlook or is it developed over time? Explain your answer.
  • During a job interview you are asked to explain what you would do to make the workplace a positive environment. Journal as if you are answering the job interview question.
  • If positivity were a characteristic you could purchase for money, how much would you pay for it? Explain your answer.

Positivity Closure

Ask students the following question:  

  • How can a positive outlook impact a person's future?

  ©Character Minutes 2014

*******************************************************************************

Additional Ideas for Teaching Specific Traits In Character Minutes(this section is updated periodically as new ideas are gained on ways to implement character traits that have already been published)

Orderliness: Use http://snapguide.com/ to have students create & share a process or procedure. 

Organized: Show a short clip from the original "Cheaper By the Dozen" movie, then have students study the life of Frank Gilbreth. Original clips from some of his studies are also on YouTube and would be interesting for students to watch a short portion of the films. Have students then write about how the management of motion and time can impact one's daily life. 

Use "Post-it Plus" app to teach students to be organized. They can organize their thoughts and ideas using this app. http://www.post-it.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/PostItNA/Home/Ideas/Plus-App/

Ideas that could be applied to ANY Character Trait:  
  • Download the free app I-Prompt Pro for iPad and have students create a news story on a character trait. Students use iPad as a teleprompter to report the story to the class. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/i-prompt-pro/id539175031?mt=8
  • Provide students with a picture (could be a picture from the past or one from a magazine. Students are to create caption(s) of what the individual/characters in the picture are saying that relates to the specific character trait that is the focus for the month.
  • Use the free app MindMash for brainstorming using and iPad. Found at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mindmash/id364617744?mt=8
  • http://www.wordle.net/ Create a bulletin board with the various character traits that will be emphasized during the school year! wp.me/p2qsME-ae
  • Film "The Science of Character" can be viewed at http://www.letitripple.org/ There are discussion guides that go with the 8 minute film that are available for various age levels.
  • Frequently quotes are used when teaching character education. A website that can help you verify the author of the quote is http://quoteinvestigator.com/

  • Character Education Partnership Website: http://www.character.org