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How to Brainstorm

Some tricks to help breakdown and undersand the questions given.
by

Jennifer Gardner

on 13 November 2012

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Transcript of How to Brainstorm

Tips to help you "get to the bottom"
of the question How to Brainstorm Trick #1 – Break down the question First you need to understand what part of the question is important. You should highlight the key words or phrases.

Do this with the question/topic given below:

What does this text suggest to you about the interplay between fear and foresight when making a life altering choice? What does this text suggest to you about the interplay between fear and foresight when making a life altering choice?

Here are the key words and phrases. Notice that the word “and” got special attention. If it would have been replaced with “or” the question would be much different. Instead we could write about fear or foresight, but “and” tells us that we must write about both. What does this text suggest to you about the interplay between fear and foresight when making a life altering choice?

This particular question has a lot for us to examine. We could consider this a “four pronged” question because there are four things we must consider.

In order to understand this question we must break it down by the key words and define each word or phrase for ourselves.

Please get a dictionary and do this with your group
. Trick #3 – What do you know about it? Now it’s your turn… Let’s see what you have learned.
I will give you a new topic and you will go through the trick of brainstorming yourself. Remember:
Trick #1: Understand the question (break it down into parts)
Trick #2: Understand the question (define the important parts of the question for yourself)
Trick #3: What do you know about it (brainstorm each part of the question. Remember to keep asking yourself “why?” “How?” “So what?” until you start getting some depth)

Once you have finished brainstorming individually, you will compare your brainstorm to the brainstorm of someone else in class. See if you can gain more ideas! Trick #2 – Understand the question What does this text suggest to you about the interplay between fear and foresight when making a life altering choice?

First is the word interplay which suggests a type of interaction. In the case of this question it is asking how fear and foresight interact together. It lets us know that we can’t explore one (fear) without the other (foresight). If we choose to explore them separately and not look at how they relate together we risk not fully answering the question. What does this text suggest to you about the interplay between fear and foresight when making a life altering choice?

Second is the word fear which is more obvious as we all know a little something about being afraid, but then we come to foresight and we stall a little.
The word foresight suggests the ability to look ahead and see what is to come. This now gives the word “fear” some direction as it is related to what we don’t know and can’t see. The suggestion may be that if we can look ahead at what’s to come we will no longer be afraid. What does this text suggest to you about the interplay between fear and foresight when making a life altering choice?

As you may have noticed we have already started generating ideas about the topic while we were busy breaking it down.
Here is the space where we will jot down EVERYTHING we know about the question.

Please start with the word fear. Brainstorm all you know as a group. You will share your answers with the class. Once we have shared I will show you my brainstorm.

Next, examine the word foresight. Break it down as a group. You will share your answers with the class. Once we have shared I will show you my brainstorm.

Finally, examine the phrase life altering choice. Break it down as a group. You will share your answers with the class. Once we have shared I will show you my brainstorm. What does this text suggest to you about the interplay between fear and foresight when making a life altering choice?
Fear:
-it happens when we don’t understand something or when we are uncertain of an outcome
-it can run our lives if we let it – WHY?
-because there are small fears that we can easily control, but there are large fears that freeze us (paranoia or phobias) – WHAT HAPPENS IF WE GET “FROZEN”?
-if fear freezes us we will be unable to go further in life and we will get stuck with what is familiar and comfortable. – SO WHAT?
-if we become too comfortable in life we won’t develop or change. We will not gain wisdom or knowledge. We only require this by challenging ourselves – AHA!

*NOTICE HOW I QUESTION MYSELF UNTIL I COME UP WITH AN "AHA!" What does this text suggest to you about the interplay between fear and foresight when making a life altering choice?

fear (continued):
-if we don’t have the basics of life (food, water, shelter etc.) our fears will focus on that and not on emotional or philosophical fears – SO WHAT?
-We can never really grow if we are stuck fearing for our lives. – INTERESTING!
-it is often mind over matter and we can control our fears if we allow ourselves to – HOW?
-our fears are often in direct proportion to how we view life. If we are optimistic we will fear less versus if we are pessimistic – INTERESTING!
-our fears can influence not only ourselves, but also those around us, just like pessimistic or optimistic people influence the people around them – WHY ARE PEOPLE PESSIMISTIC?
-Perhaps they don’t trust - fear may also be related to trust… - AHA!

*ONCE AGAIN, NOTICE MY THINKING/QUESTIONING PATTERN What does this text suggest to you about the interplay between fear and foresight when making a life altering choice?

Foresight:
-the ability to look ahead at what is to come
-HOW?
-most of us can’t actually see the future, but we use clues – SUCH AS?
-we look at what has happened in the past and make judgements based on that – WHY?
-so that we don’t make the same mistakes in the future – WHY IS THAT IMPORTANT?
-so we grow wisdom and learn –AHA! CAN EVERYONE SEE AHEAD?
-we might not if: we are afraid, or if we don’t care (apathetic) or if we think it’s all bad anyway (pessimistic) What does this text suggest to you about the interplay between fear and foresight when making a life altering choice?

Life altering choice:
-the direction your life was going or the journey you were taking with your life
-as mentioned before this is not an insignificant choice, but it may be a small choice (driving home drunk) that could change your life forever – WHAT ABOUT YOUR LIFE WILL CHANGE?
-it could also change things about you -SUCH AS?
-personality traits (anger etc), the people in your life (family/friend), how you view the world (pessimism or optimism) What does this text suggest to you about the interplay between fear and foresight when making a life altering choice?

We now know quite a lot about this question, but we may notice that some paths have been crossed such as:
-optimism and pessimism
-gaining wisdom and knowledge

Now we have enough information to create a thesis statement, but that is something for another power point…. Trick #4 – Putting it all together What does this text suggest to you about the interplay between fear and foresight when making a life altering choice?

Finally, is the phrase “life altering choice”. This is no small or insignificant choice we are talking about here, instead it is the choice which will change our path in life. Of course the tricky part is knowing that sometimes even small things can end up being life altering choices!
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