Ideas to make your head spin

A blank page, a pen and a rush of great ideas? Does not work like that, does it?  Sometimes you need to rack your brains to come up with ideas. Here are three ways of creative brainstorming that will help both students and teachers to generate ideas.

Do you need arguments for an essay or an article? Here you are! Do you need to come up with new activities for our lessons? No problem! Or perhaps you are looking for ideas for form period or extra-curricular activities? By all means! Developing your own creativity is a pleasure, and helping your students to develop theirs is included in our job description this school year.   

Before you start generating ideas, agree on the principles of a creative brainstorm:

● do not evaluate ideas while they are being generated; neither praise nor criticize them

● do not self-censor your ideas, i.e. do not keep them to yourself, even if

they seem pointless and far-fetched

Method 1: sticky notes as a springboard for ideas

● Each student (or each small group) receives a set of coloured

sticky notes

● For the next 10-20 minutes everyone works on their ideas on a given topic

And makes a visual /written note (or both) of it.

● Students stick their notes to the board  and walls, and then walk around and read all of them.

● Then they return to their desks and spend a couple of minutes writing down  new ideas inspired by what they have just read

● They stick them to the wall / board

● Ask students to try and put all those ideas into different categories and find something they have in common.

● Have students explain what categories they have chosen and why

● Then ask them to choose their favourite ones and justify their choice.


Method 2: alphabetical brainstorm, or keep ideas coming

● The teacher writes students’ ideas on the board

● Every idea must begin with the next letter of the alphabet

● Start with the letter A and write down some ideas provided by the students, and then move on to the letter B and continue  until the end of the alphabet

● Ask students to choose their favourite ideas / ideas with the greatest potential or those that really surprised them.


Method 3: a storm in the chart, or ideas chasing ideas.

● Divide students into, for example, groups of 5

● Each student gets (or makes) a sheet divided into nine squares (3X3 table)

● Ask them to be silent, focused and patient

● At the top of the table there are three squares for three ideas that participants enter in writing, graphically or both

● They pass their sheet on to another person in the group who fills in the second row in the table

● Ideas entered by the second student should be a continuation of those from the first row

● The third student fills the last row by developing ideas from the second row

● Display the tables and give students time to read and choose their favourite ideas.


Author: Ewa Torebko

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