Using a graffiti brainstorm is a great way to activate students’ knowledge about a topic of study.
How Does The Graffiti Brainstorm Teaching Strategy Work?
- Create stations by posting several topics/questions/ideas (related to the current learning in your classroom) on large pieces of paper around the classroom.
- Divide your class into several small groups–two to four students per group works well. You should have an equal number of groups as stations (i.e. 6 stations = 6 groups).
- Place each group at a different station. Give students a short amount of time at each station (one to three minutes works well), and have the groups brainstorm ideas, answers, thoughts, etc. in response to the topic/question/idea presented at their station. Students should write these on a large sheet of paper at that station.
Note: It can be a good idea to give each group a different colour pen or marker to write their responses in. This allows you to later identify which group wrote what. Another method is to hand each group a stack of sticky notes to write their responses on and have them stick these to the big sheet.
- When time is up, have the groups rotate to the next station and repeat until they have visited all stations. After the first station, consider giving students a minute or two when they first arrive at the station to read what has already been written on the paper there. This helps students not repeat what previous groups have shared as well as helps to trigger ideas that might not have occurred to students otherwise.
- When all groups have visited all stations, review what the students have written. You might do this by having a whole-class discussion about each, by having the students visit each station again to read what everyone wrote, by having students complete mind webs or something similar on each topic as they revisit stations, by handing each group one of the large sheets of paper to summarize and present to the class, or in another manner that works well in your classroom.
To complete this strategy using digital means create separate documents in Pear Deck, Google Jamboard, Google Slides or Google Docs so that students can collaborate digitally online.
How Do I Use The Graffiti Brainstorm Teaching Strategy?
- To access previous knowledge on a new topic: When beginning a new unit – it can be useful to know what your students think, know, and think they know about that topic before you begin.
- To review at the end of a unit. By posing questions and ideas central to your unit, students will discuss and review all on their own but in the direction you want them to.
Why Do I Love This Strategy?
- Graffiti Brainstorming gets students up and moving. Because time at stations is so short, there is little time for students to be distracted or offtopic.
- Though you are giving your students direction by posing the main topics/questions/ideas, this is a very student-directed activity. Students are in charge of coming up with and sharing their own thoughts and ideas, so the discussion is not teacher-centered, but you still can maintain a level of control.