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What is brainstorming?

What is brainstorming?
Children learn how to brainstorm in school to generate ideas and solve problems. Find out how teachers encourage children to develop this skill and how it can help improve your child's written work.

What is brainstorming?

Brainstorming is a process whereby a question or problem is posed, then a group of people give ideas which are noted by a scribe, who writes them down for the group to see.

This process can be used by adults during training sessions, but is also used by teachers, wanting to gather and share ideas from their class with a view to helping them produce a quality piece of writing.

For example: a teacher may want children to write a description of the troll in 'Three Billy Goat's Gruff'. They may either have a blank whiteboard or flipchart ready to jot ideas down, or they may have prepared a frame to organise information as follows:

  • What does he look like?
  • What sounds does he make?¬†What does he say?
  • What does he smell like?
  • How does he feel?

A teacher could go though each element in turn, asking children to talk to their partners about the different elements of the troll.

All ideas would be jotted down and the teacher might try to elicit more information from the children to extend their ideas, for example: a child may say that the troll feels angry.

The teacher might try to draw their attention to physical feelings as well: 'He spends a lot of time sitting in water, how do you think that makes him feel?'

They may also encourage children to extra describing words to the words they have chosen, so if they say he roars, a teacher might say 'How does he roar?' to which the children may answer 'loudly', 'viciously' or 'stupidly'.

The follow-on activity from this may be to write a paragraph describing the troll, using the notes that have been gathered on the board.

Brainstorming is an excellent way of pooling ideas so that children are provided with a range of rich vocabulary to use in their writing.

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