Open Minded Portraits

Open minded portraits are a fun way to think about the characters in a book and imagine what they might be thinking at critical places in the text.  Imagine you could ‘open their minds’ and look inside.  Originally, this activity was a two-dimensional drawing task.  Students selected a book character and drew his or her portrait on the outer sides of a large piece of paper.  They then cut around the shape to have a folded character’s head, featuring a face drawn on one side and the back of the head on the other.

Two-dimensional Open Minded Portraits

Then they opened up the inside of the head, that is, they opened up the character’s ‘mind’, and wrote down what they believed the character was thinking at a critical part of the story they had been reading.

Writing down the character's thinking

The children came together to share their ideas about the thinking of the characters in the book they had been reading.

Talking about the characters

This activity is easily adapted to PowerPoint because its visual interface allows students to display one or more characters on screen alongside the text of the story at critical moments.  Students can insert buttons over the characters’ ‘minds’ and link these to pages displaying their thinking at these important moments in the story.

To insert a hyperlink, first place a shape over a character's head, make it transparent and select it

On a Mac:

Then Insert Hyperlink - select the slide number to link it to

… and on Windows

Then Insert Hyperlink, Place in This Document, and select the slide








Here are some screen shots of what it might look like:

OMP Title page

Important moment from the story

One character's thoughts ...

... and the other's

Other hyperlinks can allow the viewer to move around within the open minded portrait and discover what else the character is thinking at other parts of the story.

A pattern begins to emerge

All pages link back to the main menu.

To ensure that the only way to move about is by clicking on the characters’ minds, that is, by using the navigational tools, students will need to find ‘Set Up Show’ in the menu and Browsed at a Kiosk.

Set Up Show

Browsed at a Kiosk

Can you finish making an Open Minded Portrait for Red Riding Hood? Click on the link below to download the unfinished PowerPoint.

OMP – Red Riding Hood   and here is the text for the whole story (you can copy and paste from it) Little Red Riding Hood text

Here is an example of a more complex Open Minded Portrait, based on the characters of Timothy and Phillip from Theodore Taylor’s ‘The Cay’.

Defining Moments in The Cay

And here are the instructions for how to make it.

Instructions for making Open Minded Portraits


1 Comment

Filed under Office applications, PowerPoint

One response to “Open Minded Portraits

  1. Reblogged this on Our Global Classroom and commented:
    5/6J this week we are concentrating on Open Minded Portraits and honing in writing from another perspective. Here is some information about Open Minded Portraits to refresh our thinking.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s