The evening English 9 class has been learning how to write
clear, strong thesis statements as part of their preparation for essay
writing. Learning how to brainstorm has been part of this process. During
the brainstorming session, all ideas and thoughts are valid and not judged.
Pooling ideas and sharing thoughts are very useful tools and essential
preparation for writing an essay.
When students work in groups, they learn more quickly than
when working individually. One idea sparks another. The energy level and
enthusiasm for the essay topic increase. Students are engaged in learning
from each other and everyone is an “equal” and on the same page.
After brainstorming in groups of 3 or 4, a whole class
discussion follows. The teacher writes all ideas from each group on the
board so everyone can see. Next, students analyze the ideas and look for
patterns emerging from them. Similar ideas are numbered with the same number
so that they may be used in one body paragraph when the writing actually
begins. Students are encouraged to choose only the strongest ideas for their
writing and to disregard the weakest points. In analyzing shared ideas,
confidence goes up and when students’ confidence increases, learning
The result is that we all learn faster and on a deeper
level when we discuss ideas, than we could learn on an individual basis
because we have a greater pool of ideas to choose from. Hence, “none of us
is as smart as all of us.” And when all of us feel smarter, we make huge
gains in understanding.
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