Brainstorming is a great technique to solve a problem, create new ideas, or gather information through discussion. The concept of brainstorming has seemed to evolve with times. Previously, brainstorming was limited to a group discussion on a chalkboard and words written down in a semi-organized way.
Gone are those days of standing at the chalkboard and now, learning has become much more innovative. The incorporation of modern technology into the classroom has led to new techniques using “old” concepts, and brainstorming tools have evolved. Depending on the project, different graphic organizers may be more effective during the brainstorming phase. However, if you're looking for graphic organizer worksheets or posters, you can create those here too!
The most common brainstorming graphic organizer, or at least the first one most people think of, is a spider map or concept map. This is a great tool for the everyday brainstorming method in any subject area. Spider maps have a central idea or topic, with details about the central topic forming legs around it. Check out our article on Spider Maps for more information and examples or create spider map worksheets.
The Frayer Model is a great graphic organizer for brainstorming different characteristics or ideas that surround one topic. The Frayer Model's four cells allow for a very targeted approach to brainstorming, which is ideal for students who may get carried away and need to stay focused. This graphic organizer can be used before a project begins, to brainstorm ideas that will shape research, or it can be used after a project to help retain information gathered throughout the process. Creating a storyboard for the Frayer Model enables students to add visual representations of their topic or details and can help them have a deeper understanding of the main idea.
A graphic organizer commonly used for pre-reading brainstorming is the KWL or KWHL chart. This chart is great for encouraging students to brainstorm and think about a topic prior to studying it. It is standard graphic organizer in most classrooms and is easy for students to use. This graphic organizer is created using our T-Chart layout. Check out our article about the KWL / KWHL Chart for more information on using this in your classroom or make KWL / KWHL worksheets for your students!
A T-Chart is a great way to brainstorm a concept that has multiple ideas or key points that you want your students to focus on. The cells in the left column are for the ideas and the cells in the right column are for the details supporting the idea. The template and example have three ideas, though it can be edited to include more or less as needed.
The traditional layout is a great graphic organizer for creating a storyboard for Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How, otherwise known as the 5 Ws and H. Using a 5 Ws and H method is very useful for getting an overall view Adding the title box to a six-cell traditional layout allows for an easy-to-use brainstorming graphic organizer.
In addition to the templates and worksheets above, you can create graphic organizer posters that can be hung in your classroom as anchor charts or lesson supplements! They also make it super easy to do class-wide brainstorming during any unit. Project the poster onto the board and edit it as students provide the information, or print it out and pin it to the whiteboard.
Brainstorming is a vital skill for students to develop. As they progress through school, they will be required to write or complete projects frequently. Brainstorming is helpful for planning a writing assignment or a project, but it is also a very useful tool when learning new information. Using graphic organizers as a brainstorming tool helps structure information that could otherwise be nebulous. For more information about the layout options for your storyboards, check out our graphic organizers article.