ALEX Learning Activity

  

Brain Sprints-Brainstorming and Activating Prior Knowledge

A Learning Activity is a strategy a teacher chooses to actively engage students in learning a concept or skill using a digital tool/resource.

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  This learning activity provided by:  
Author: Melissa Marsh
System:Etowah County
School:Hokes Bluff Middle School
  General Activity Information  
Activity ID: 2364
Title:
Brain Sprints-Brainstorming and Activating Prior Knowledge
Digital Tool/Resource:
Countdown Timer
Web Address – URL:
Overview:

This activity is used in the planning stage of writing to help generate ideas. It is a timed quick-write activity that can be used to plan for a writing topic or to activate prior knowledge before writing.

This activity can be used in any subject area.

This alignment is the result of ALEX Resource Development Summit.

  Associated Standards and Objectives  
Content Standard(s):
English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: 6
30 ) Write routinely over extended time frames, including time for research, reflection, and revision, and shorter time frames such as a single sitting or a day or two for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences. [W.6.10]

English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: 7
29 ) Write routinely over extended time frames, including time for research, reflection, and revision, and shorter time frames such as a single sitting or a day or two for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences. [W.7.10]

English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: 8
29 ) Write routinely over extended time frames, including time for research, reflection, and revision, and shorter time frames such as a single sitting or a day or two for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences. [W.8.10]

English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: 9
29 ) Write routinely over extended time frames, including time for research, reflection, and revision, and shorter time frames such as a single sitting or a day or two for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences. [W.9-10.10]

English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: 10
30 ) Write routinely over extended time frames, including time for research, reflection, and revision, and shorter time frames such as a single sitting or a day or two for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences. [W.9-10.10]

English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: 11
28 ) Write routinely over extended time frames, including time for research, reflection, and revision, and shorter time frames such as a single sitting or a day or two for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences. [W.11-12.10]

English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: 12
28 ) Write routinely over extended time frames, including time for research, reflection, and revision, and shorter time frames such as a single sitting or a day or two for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences. [W.11-12.10]

Learning Objectives:

The learner will be able to write over shorter time frames such as a single sitting for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

  Strategies, Preparations and Variations  
Phase:
Before/Engage
Activity:

The teacher will set the countdown timer for a specified time (I prefer two minutes). The timer works best if it can be displayed and if there is sound to hear the bell ring.

The teacher will explain to the students that they will be given a word or topic to write about and that they will have x amount of time to list as many words/phrases that are related to that word/topic. Stress that spelling and neatness do not matter. Suggest that they simply make a list and not try to write out sentences, etc.

The teacher will give the word/topic and the teacher will start the countdown timer. The students will list as many words as they can think of that are associated with a given concept or word within a specified period of time. (I usually go with two minutes)

When the countdown timer goes off, students will be instructed to stop writing. The teacher will ask the students to share their lists with the class. 

Students will be given the opportunity to add additional ideas to their lists (taken from class sharing).

The teacher will explain that this is a fun step in the writing process. This is planning for writing by generating ideas.

Assessment Strategies:

Students will be asked to share their lists with the class. The class may discuss which items contribute to the proposed writing topic and which may need to be eliminated. Students will use their lists to continue planning for their writing by revising.

Students may turn in/or share their lists to be checked for continuity of ideas in the planning stages of writing. Teacher feedback should be given.


Advanced Preparation:

Secure access to the digital tool or find a timer, etc. to use.  The timer works best if it can be displayed and if there is sound to hear the bell ring.

Variation Tips (optional):
 
Notes or Recommendations (optional):

This activity can be used in any classroom to generate ideas/plan for writing. The students love the competition and the race against the timer. 

This activity could also be used to assess prior knowledge or as an exit ticket.

  Keywords and Search Tags  
Keywords and Search Tags: accessing prior knowledge, brainstorming, planning, writing