Getting Students Brainstorming!

@R10 Literacy Newsletter

Our First Newsletter

This is going to be a great year! The coaches have been gearing up to bring you the latest and greatest. We want to help you grow as an ELAR educator, and we hope to grow through our collaborative experiences with you, too.

Our newsletters are meant to provide you with useful information in the most concise way. We'll do the hunting and gathering, and you'll reap the benefits. Now, that's a sweet deal!

Have you heard about Write for Texas?

Write for Texas is designed to help all teachers provide opportunities for students to read, write, and discuss a wide variety of genres throughout the school year.

The Write for Texas collection of resources is available to all secondary English language arts and reading and content area teachers to support effective writing instruction. The resources include critical background knowledge, activities, and videos that relate to the guiding principles of effective writing instruction.'s all FREE!

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Reviewing Student Writing

Do you ever get to the end of a student's writing and think..."WHAT?!" (I know I do.)

Oftentimes, it seems like the student read the prompt (or created their own) and just started writing. There's no evidence of any organizing or planning.

They most likely had only one goal. Can you guess that goal?

  • I will blow my teacher away with my savvy vocabulary and succinct syntax!
  • I will show my audience how creative I am with my organizational expertise!
  • I will wow my reader with my matter-of-fact tone and unparalleled evidence!

We wish!

Instead, the number one goal may have been more like... (drum roll, please)

  • Fill the page.
  • Be the first to finish.
  • Lollygag until the bell rings.

What's a teacher to do?!

Teach Brainstorming & INSIST that students do it!

Brainstorming is Important

According to The Writing Center @ UNC, brainstorming helps writers--

...consciously take advantage of their natural thinking processes by gathering the brain’s energies into a “storm”; you can transform these energies into written words or diagrams that will lead to lively, vibrant writing.

When you’ve got nothing: You might need a storm when you feel “blank” about the topic, devoid of inspiration, full of anxiety about the topic, or just too tired to craft an orderly outline. In this case, brainstorming stirs up the dust, whips some air into our stilled pools of thought, and gets the breeze of inspiration moving again.

When you’ve got too much: There are times when you have too much chaos in your brain and need to bring in some conscious order. In this case, brainstorming forces the mental chaos and random thoughts to rain out onto the page, giving you some concrete words or schemas that you can then arrange according to their logical relations.

Videos for brainstorming ideas

Generating ideas - Brainstorming for writing
Carousel Brainstorm

Write for Texas resources for brainstorming

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Click below for direct access to this document and more!
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Click below for direct access to this document, on page 11, and more!

Do you use a particularly useful brainstorming activity in your class?

Please share in the comments section below!