Brainstorming: One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Brainstorming is typically thought of as a large group activity or an individual activity where one person records ideas shared orally, or records ideas on a piece of paper. Both of these methods can seem boring and over-used. Brainstorming can be creative, fun, and can be used for a variety of different types of learners. It doesn’t have to be only seen as an office setting technique.

Here are some ways you can use brainstorming that goes beyond the traditional model of brainstorming in your library:

  • Sticky Note Brainstorming: Participants can anonymously write their ideas on sticky notes [1]. Students can write one idea on each note, and the librarian can display them on the wall. When going over the ideas, the librarian can also move and group each sticky note based on topics or a structure relevant to the discussion. This idea can be very useful for shy kids, or students who do not learn best by oral speaking. Students may feel inspired to fill up the wall, and may share more ideas with their sticky notes than they would sharing out loud.
  • Sub Group Brainstorming: Brainstorming in a small group may give participants more time to speak, especially if you have a large group [1]. Each group can generate a list of ideas they come up with, and then share as a large group. Those who normally do not participate in class can only share their ideas with a small number of people. Or they can have extra opportunities to participate by either being the recorder of the group, or the speaker to the larger group.

Both of these ideas still fit into the brainstorming technique, but can be appealing to students. You could even use the technique for students to create a library game, a race, or come up with new ideas for a library club.


[1]. Education World. (2014). Variations on brainstorming. Retrieved from:


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