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Brainstorming is a strategy in which ideas are explored, questions raised, and all responses accepted. Brainstorming encourages students to focus on a topic and contribute to a free flow of ideas, exploring what they know or may want to know about a topic. All contributed ideas are accepted, and no efforts are made to judge or criticize the validity or appropriateness of ideas. Brainstorming allows individuals to piggyback on the ideas of others and to extend, revise, and incorporate new ideas into their thinking. Essential behaviours in brainstorming include active listening, acceptance of others' contributions, temporary suspension of judgement, and openness to new ideas. Brainstorming is an essential component in collaborative learning groups.

Purposes Specific Learning Outcomes LICT Descriptors How To Do

- Establish the required classroom climate. Brainstorming is best taught in a classroom that encourages risk-taking and sharing ideas and feelings using guided practice and teacher modeling. Emphasize the importance of listening to peers. Introduce the topic. Stimulate thinking by posing questions, reading brief text excerpts, or displaying/viewing pictures or other media. Ask students to take turns sharing ideas or possible answers. Encourage participation and record all students' contributions.

Related Information

Concept mapping software may be used to record individual or group brainstorming. A data projector may be used to display the ideas. Encourage and praise contributions and model a non-judgmental attitude. Brainstorming may be carried on over a period of days, weeks, or even months by making additions to the initial brainstorm charts. Model "questioning" as a technique to prompt thinking if the group is stalled or if ideas are too narrow. Link to Questioning


Alphabet Students try to think of a word or phrase associated with the topic, matched to each letter of the alphabet. Alphabet Brainstorming \blm\ela\g\brainalpha Carousal Students rotate around the classroom in small groups, stopping at various stations for a designated amount of time. While at each station, students generate ideas on different topics or different aspects of a single topic through conversation with peers. Ideas are posted at each station for all groups to read. Link to file Concept Map / Information Map/ Mind Map / Thinking Map / Word Cluster / Word Web These free-flow form organizers begin with students placing a topic or central idea in the middle of the page. Lines (stems) leading outward from the central concept indicate various aspects of or connections to the central idea. Additional information may be recorded on each stem and may be easily rearranged multiple times. Mapping helps students to see the natural, non-linear relationships among their ideas, feelings, and images on a given subject. Link to Graphic Organizers Š 2007 Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth Created with Curriculum Navigator, - Page 1 -


Individual Students focus on what they know about a topic or focus on a variety of possible solutions to a problem. Individual brainstorming should not be expected until students have had extensive practice with group brainstorming. LINK (List-Inquire-Note-Know) link to file Sticky Notes Students use sticky notes to facilitate flexible categorization of ideas. Think-Pair-Share Students first brainstorm individually, then with a partner, and then with the class. link to file Assessment / Think Abouts

Construct student-generated assessment criteria (e.g., What does quality brainstorming look/sound like?). Constructing Student-Generated Criteria for Quality Work Structured observations are appropriate for observing small group brainstorming activities. Record focused observations on one or two of the following; participation, ability to maintain topic, oral language skills, active listening, acceptance of others' ideas, prior knowledge, gaps or misconceptions, and starting points for instruction and remediation.Focused Observation Form blm/ela/g/blm_5 TBLMFocused Observation Form Sample blm/ela/g/blm_5a TI Informal observation followed by anecdotal record-keeping is most effective for larger group brainstorming situations. Record anecdotal comments using a Daily Observation Form. Daily Observation Form Ela/g/blm_6 TBLM Have students apply established criteria to reflect upon and/or assess their own progress and achievement. Orally guide/facilitate reflection (e.g., What do we/I notice about our/my thinking? Evidence of our/my thinking is..)in a journal or with the Reflection Metacognition Y-chart. Reflection link to file Self-Assessment link to file Reflection Metacognition blm/ela/g/blm_1 SBLM

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Š 2007 Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth Created with Curriculum Navigator, - Page 2 -