Back to school brainstorms: How to get students thinking after a break

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How to use brainstorms to engage students in the classroom

Brainstorming(opens in a new tab or window) is an excellent way to use back-to-school excitement to capture some great ideas for the start of the school year. You can even turn these ideas into storyboards for creative stories, comic strips or videos.

Creative tools for brainstorming

Canva has hundreds of brainstorming templates(opens in a new tab or window) to help you and your students effortlessly step into blue-sky thinking and storm some brilliant ideas. Students can work in small groups, or as a whole class, to share their ideas and then, at the end, you can create an assignment through the ‘Share’ button.

If you want to help students develop their ideas, you can start with a simple brainstorming template, then use an affinity diagram(opens in a new tab or window) to categorize ideas. This is a great time to assign group tasks – one category per group – and then students can use a brainwriting template to further develop their ideas. You could brainstorm fun class events, the classroom layout, parties, class party ideas, or even cool games to play between lessons.

Easy online concept mapping

Concept mapping is a great active learning task to engage students. Using Canva’s concept map templates(opens in a new tab or window), students can categorize and map complex relationships, concepts, and ideas. And as they learn about these concepts, they’re also learning and implementing visual language by using Canva’s icons, shapes and design elements. It’s an excellent multifaceted task full of helpful, transferable skills.

You could use these activities to explore history with students, mapping out the main figures involved in historical events, or to construct fictional stories. Or concept maps(opens in a new tab or window) could be used to explore the animal kingdom, describing different animals and their relationships to each other in an ecosystem.

Making the most of whiteboard sessions with Canva

There’s lots to like about Canva’s digital whiteboard. Canva has hundreds of whiteboard of templates to help foster collaborative sessions for your students. And while sticking post-it notes up on the wall is fun, it requires extra materials and creates more work if someone needs to type up the ideas.

With Canva’s whiteboard(opens in a new tab or window), roadmaps(opens in a new tab or window), and brainstorming templates(opens in a new tab or window), you can lock certain elements – even the ideas that have been written – so when you share the board with your students, they can access the ideas without any danger of losing them. And then, when you’re ready for the next activity, copying the ideas into a new template or creating an assignment can be done in a few clicks.

Weave your brainstorm into storytelling gold

Children and teens are natural storytellers and Canva’s storyboard templates help them craft a narrative they can then turn into a book, comic strip or video. You can use your brainstorming session to create ideas around plot, characters, scenarios, and settings. Then, encourage your students to create a storyboard or comic strip in groups. For more storyboard ideas, check out this free video(opens in a new tab or window).

Did you know Canva for Education is free for teachers and schools? Head here to learn more and sign up!

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