Traditional group brainstorming usually involves a leader fielding ideas and writing them in list format. However, you can use Post-It notes to make group brainstorming more personal and interactive. In addition, the Post-Its method allows you to easily organize ideas once they are all given.
You could use this process in several ways:
- To solve a classroom problem; e.g., Our book nook is in a constant state of disarray. How can we keep it neat and organized?
- To gather ideas; e.g., What should we do for our end-of-the-year class party?
- To facilitate creative and fluent thinking; e.g.,What are some alternate uses for a paper towel tube?
To brainstorm with Post-Its, you will need:
- A large piece of empty wall or whiteboard space. Use butcher paper if you anticipate wanting to save the brainstorm.
- Several of the larger-sized Post-It pads. It is nice to have different colors.
- Felt-tip markers. Again, nice to have several colors.
Begin by distributing the Post-Its and markers. Encourage children to peel off part of the pad so they get 5-10 Post-Its.
Explain the issue, problem, or question.
Encourage students to write responses on their Post-Its. One response per Post-It, ideally written in a short phrase or even a single word. Adding a little cartoon picture can be fun, too.
As students finish each Post-It, they come to the board and post it. They can put their Post-It anywhere on the space.
Continue the process until you have a pretty full board, and the group seems to be running low on ideas. Then you know it is time to move on to Part 2.
Part 2 involves organizing what is probably a mass of Post-Its.
Begin by asking the students if they see any duplicate or similar ideas. Group duplicate ideas together.
Continue this process until every Post-It is grouped. You may have a few stragglers that don’t fit into a group. That is just fine.
You can give each group a name that characterizes the group. This is a nice exercise in synthesis. But that depends on the kind of brainstorming you are doing.
This could be the end of your process. However, if you are problem solving, you will want to look more carefully at your groupings and work on choosing or developing a concrete solution.
If you want to keep a record of the process, take a picture of the board before you take it all down.
I learned this powerful technique from Stan Crow, a man who taught with kindness and wisdom and who, sadly, is no longer with us.
You can find more ideas for using Sticky Notes at the linky party at Create-Teach-Share.
Picture from Fresh Ideas Blog.