There are many free brainstorming programs on the internet and our recommendation is Bubbl.us.
It is very straightforward and if opened on an interactive whiteboard pupils can add their own ideas or shout ideas out for the teacher to add. You could even allow confident pupils to record their own brainstorm using Bubbl-us. For example take the theme My Ideal School:
- In an ideal world what would I like my school to look and be like?
- What should it teach me?
Go to https://bubbl.us/, register to be able to save work. Create a new sheet and in the centre is a box. Edit the box to type My Ideal School.
When you press the enter or tab key, a new box appears. Colours change automatically for the levels away from the middle. You can edit colours and the arrows joining lines and new lines can be created.
A Quick Brainstorm
Bubble 1 – Building / open / glassy/ high speed wifi access all-round / colourful / grass, trees, flowers / Artificial light to substitute for sunlight when not available
Bubble 2 – Classrooms /open plan / curriculum areas no classes /go to the area to work on that subject or get help / tuition / lots of pods for small groups to work together in /
Bubble 3 – Curriculum /loads of games / teachers in each subject pod so that you can find them / learn what we want to learn / choose unit of work from a library and study that – then choose another one./ Do lots of small group research / share findings openly /publicly
Bubble 4 – Equipment / simple but high tech e.g. ipod touches for all / netbooks for use when required / video / green screen recording studio / high spec PCs available in libraries / pods for use when needed / easispeak microphones/ electronic Microscope / Flip video recorders / 3d Microphones from https://hookeaudio.com/blog/2015/03/11/what-is-3d-audio/ and projection screens in pods or group spaces to share work
Bubble 5 – Teachers / fun / brave / learners / real people / imaginative / creative
Okay that is a very small, not very imaginative, single-person brainstorm that lasted about five minutes, imagine what a group of pupils will come up with in a 15 minute discussion. Save the brainstorm, all of the pupils can access it any time to re-inspire their piece of work.
There is probably no need to try to make a list of ideas for a brainstorming session it could be almost any time on almost any topic.
- Find out what children know about something before studying it
- Find out how much they know after studying a topic such as The human body or Invaders and Settlers
- Get initial responses and ideas from the pupils about a picture, a book, a video, a piece of music
- Decide how to structure a class text book on any subject
- Decide how to structure a story – split it into sections and decide what should be covered in each section
For older pupils examine how to answer a question – what they know, what they need to find out and how to structure the answer.