Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Brainstorm This!

Jena Lewis


Students learn about brainstorming, and how to effectively use this prewriting tool for four different writing tasks - persuasive writing, expository writing, character development, and the development of vivid and precise details for any subject.


The student knows possible prewriting strategies for different writing tasks.


-Overhead projector
-Blank transparencies
-Transparency markers, at least two colors
-Transparency of Teacher Models (See Associated File)
-Transparency of Student Practice Prewriting Prompts (See Associated File)
-Transparency of Checklist for Prewriting Strategies (See Associated File)
-Stopwatch, timer, or clock with second hand
-Notebook paper and pencils


1. Make sure an overhead is accessible for this lesson.
2. Check that the overhead bulb works.
3. Make sure that all materials listed are readily accessible.
4. Create necessary transparencies, either from associated file or from your own resources.


1. Introduce the practice of brainstorming by having students list as quickly as possible (neatness doesn't count here!) a list of their favorite foods or hobbies, TV shows, etc. Give students 2 minutes to generate their lists. Allow a few students to share their lists with class.

2. Explain that there are prewriting strategies for these lists that help people to organize their ideas and details for different types of writing tasks. Today we will focus on different types of prewriting strategies for persuasive writing, expository writing, character development, and the development of vivid and descriptive details of any given subject. Ask students if they can think of examples when each would be used (listen to at least one for each task). If no examples are volunteered, suggest a few of your own such as persuading parents to let you get a puppy or creating characters for a short story.

3. Model each of the four given strategies with the prepared transparencies. (See Associated File) Emphasize that although you might use a particular strategy for more than one type of writing task, each one has its unique benefits. Organizing details helps a reader to better follow and understand what is being explained in an expository writing. Clustering, or webbing, is an excellent tool to use when developing characters or ideas. When you want to persuade the reader, prioritizing your details is most effective. Finally, if you want to acquire vivid and precise details on any subject you are writing about, using the inquiry strategy - applying the 5 W's & H (who, what, where, why, when, and how?) is ideal. Briefly ask for appropriate questions.

4. Show the Checklist for Prewriting Strategies (See Associated File) and explain how the following student practice will be assessed.

5. Display the Student Practice Prewriting Prompts transparency, showing just one at a time. For each prompt, allow the students 2 minutes to brainstorm, then 3-5 minutes to apply the appropriate strategy.

6. Circulate through the room while the students are working, providing both corrective and affirmative feedback.

7. When all four prompts have been given, allow students a few more minutes, if necessary, to polish up any of the prewriting samples before you collect them.

8. Assess the samples using the checklist provided.

9. Return papers to students.


Evidence: Studentsí prewriting samples

Criteria: Checklist for Prewriting Strategies (See Associated File)
Students reaching mastery are able to choose from possible prewriting strategies and correctly apply them to suit different writing tasks.


1. Additional time may be given for completion of student practice of each strategy.
2. Students may work in groups of four, with each student being responsible for a particular strategy.
3. Students write a persuasive paper based on their prewriting.
4. Students share their prompt responses with the class.
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