Brainstorming is a fantastic classroom activity. It works really well as an icebreaker. It is a great way to get students engaged. It can also heIp get the teacher get deeper into a topic with the participation of the class. And it is a wonderful way to assess and make use of the collective knowledge of the class.
The blank cluster brainstorming and organizing worksheet is ready for use on any topic. It’s great for extremely free range brainstorming. Students can freely associate ideas to a topic. However, I prefer brainstorming templates that are custom designed for specific topics (as can be seen below). I find these much more interesting.
Snappy and short icebreaking brainstorms are really useful for starting a class with new or elementary students. It’s a great way to to immediately engage with students and assess their abilities. Moreover, it’s a good way of getting students to contribute without putting them under much pressure.
Sometimes when you are introducing a specific topic to a class, it’s really useful to use cues to get things going. The cues can be verbal or visual or a combination of both. It really helps guide the brainstorm along a particular path. These brainstorms can become quite extended and bring out a lot of ideas and language.
The guided brainstorm is similar to brainstorming with cues but it’s useful when you want to aim for something specific like an essay title. And if you are teaching argumentative essay writing to students learning the English language, it’s useful to create a guided brainstorm template. This might meangetting students to complete sentences with certain ways and generating an essay question or title for a specific topic.
Brainstorming can also focus on language. It can be used to be explore collocations and ideas associated with a set of words.
Of course, one of the best brainstorms in the classroom is the brainstorming of pros and cons of an issue. The range of ideas of a class working together can be quite surprising.
With huge image libraries these days, it’s quite easy to put together a collection of images focused on very specific topics. This really helps to get students thinking and it’s also surprising as students interpret pictures in different ways.
Some of the most popular brainstorm templates are for academic writing formats, including classification and cause/effect. These help students organize their ideas logically.