Brainstorm:  Eliciting prior knowledge + Collaboration

Brainstorm: Eliciting prior knowledge + Collaboration

June 08, 2020 2 Comments

One thing that the COVID pandemic has taught us is that students love to collaborate.  An infinite number of middle and high school students have recounted their desire to talk to people, to interact, and to collaborate -- something that isn't easy when we are apart. 

Brainstorms can be completed in distance learning with Word Clouds, brainstorming apps or collaborative Google Docs. However, once we DO get back to the paradise of our classrooms (NEVER thought I'd say that) brainstorming as a collaborative tool and as a way to elicit prior knowledge is a low to no prep warm-up, introduction to your theme, or way to interact and display understanding.

In small groups, your students will love working together to create a mind map that contributes to their understanding of a concept.  Small white boards are a great way to have students create it a puzzle-style concept, where each student contributes to portions of the topic.  Large pieces of paper can be displayed and added to during the thematic unit. To REALLY capture students' attention, use your whiteboard markers to have them create that mind map together, writing on their desks.  Sure, you'll have to scrub them, but something about writing on the furniture is insanely engaging for them.  

So, challenge:  When you start your next unit, this is your warm-up!  Do it...you'll love it and so will they.



2 Responses

MesaMima Staff
MesaMima Staff

September 11, 2020

Of course! So, if we are talking about DL, Jamboard is great, Whiteboard.fi, or even think, write and collaborate on a group Google Slide deck. The kids tend to focus on their own slide, so when you move from breakout rooms, to the whole group a quick share out is great. Even just chatting ideas in the private chat to you is great.
In live class, we do a TON of writing on the tables to brainstorm ideas at the start of a unit or sub-theme. Think of it as a group mind map…we have done that exactly, but instead of individually, as a whole group!

Sally Sheldon
Sally Sheldon

September 11, 2020

This sounds fun. May I see an example?

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