Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Creative Thinking Strategy: BRAINSTORMING

"To have a great idea, have a lot of them."
                                                - Thomas Edison

In our increasingly complex world, our kids need to know more than how to access facts and restate information. They need to be able to make choices and decisions, identify and solve problems, and find answers in different ways. They need to be able to THINK - clearly, creatively, flexibly, and in their own way. Simply put, they need to know how to brainstorm.

The dictionary defines brainstorming as:
• A method of shared problem solving in which all members of a group spontaneously contribute ideas.
• A process undertaken by a person to solve a problem by rapidly generating a variety of possible solutions.

Brainstorming is fun, flexible, relevant to any and all content areas and situations. It fosters the production of a quantity of responses, a variety of options, and the ability to see things from many angles. When done in an open and idea friendly atmosphere (see Rules below), it provides opportunities for kids (and adults) to:
  • Think divergently
  • Look at problems and situations in many ways
  • See a multitude of possible solutions
  • Think creatively
  • Think critically
TRY THIS: Techniques to Stimulate Brainstorms

 RULES: There are only 3 rules for effective brainstorming:
1. NO WRONG ANSWERS - so all ideas are welcome.
2. The more ideas the better
3. Your good idea may be the jumping off point for mine (this is called piggy-backing).

The following EYE OPENING questions are intended to stimulate the production of lots of ideas - in your classroom, after-school program, or around your dinner table. Choose one or many, and, please, share your results in the comment box at the bottom of this post.

 NAME AS MANY

Ask everyone in the classroom or small group to:
• Name as many EYES as you can think of (responses might include eye glasses, island, eye witness, eye of the storm, eye see you, ICU)
• Name as many tools to SEE WITH as you can (responses might include binoculars, glasses, camera, contact lenses, crystal ball)
• Name MATERIALS THAT CAN BE USED TO SYMBOLIZE EYES IN ARTWORK (peas, pin pong balls, marbles, buttons, bottle caps)

METAPHORS
• How is an eye like a zipper?
• How is an eye like a clock?
• How is an eye like a book?
• How is an eye like an ear of corn?

 IN WHAT WAYS:
• In what ways do artists draw eyes? To make the most of this question, collect examples from as many places and styles as you can. Arrange them. Ask kids - do you notice any patterns, any similarities. Any differences? How are eyes drawn by Picasso like, and unlike eyes drawn by Da Vinci?
• In what ways are the eyes of a cow like the eyes of a mouse? In what ways are they different?
• In what ways can an eye be used as a symbol?
• In what ways has the word EYE been used in book titles and song lyrics?
• In what ways would things change is vision was not one of our senses?

WHAT IF
• What if we had one eye instead of two?
• What is we had many eyes. (The legendary Argus had a head encircled by 100 eyes.)