Skill-Building #1: Brainstorming

Skill-Building #1: Brainstorming


Before we get into the specific Fin’s Friends book studies, it is important to discuss an activity that is used throughout the Fin’s Friends program, as well as in many other aspects of schooling. This activity, or social skill, is that of generating and expressing ideas (also known as brainstorming) which is important to teach students at a young age. Learning this social skill will help students come up with solutions to problems and inquiries they might have in various settings, such as the playground, in the classroom, and at home.

Explain to the students that the purpose of expressing ideas (or brainstorming) is to come up with as many ideas as possible to a question or problem. Emphasize that during the brainstorm, all the ideas that are presented are neither good nor bad, sensible nor silly, doable or not doable. The purpose of the brainstorm, rather, is to get out as many ideas as possible in a short amount of time. Once the brainstorm concludes, the ideas should be reviewed.

Brainstorming is an easy exercise to practice with your students. Be sure to emphasize that the goal is to provide as many ideas as possible:

  • Select a random, everyday object, such a shoebox, wooden spoon, paper clip, etc.
  • Encourage students to follow the following four steps when brainstorming:

Step One: Decide on an idea.

  • Place the item (example: shoebox) in front of the students.

Step Two: Decide how to say your idea.

  • Examples: “I think the shoe box could be used for holding crayons.”
  • OR “I think the shoe box could be used to hold a pet frog.”
  • Ask them to suggest all the ideas that a shoe box could be used.

Step Three: Put your hand up to share your idea.

  • Have the students raise their hands to share their ideas for the shoe box.

Step Four: Be nice about others’ ideas. Be polite.

  • As each student offers an idea, discuss the body language and nonverbal communicators that show a friendly attitude.
  • Once the students run out of ideas, evaluate the ideas. Given different scenarios, ask the students which ideas would not be the best selections. Ask which would be most suitable.

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