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Ideas Need Water: Morning Minutes, February 10, 2016

Morning, all.  Slept in.  Sick kid.  Short post.

Yesterday, we did a brainstorming activity called “Question Flood,” which I borrowed and adapted from language arts guru Kelly Gallagher.  The kids are still in the stages of finalizing their idea selections for their injustice speeches.  I used this activity to not only help them make a final decision but also help them nurture their ideas along.

Question Flood

  1. Divide students into teams of 5 or 6.
  2. Ask students to sit in a circle.
  3. One will begin by pitching his or her idea to the group.  The members simply listen.  No conversation takes place.
  4. After the idea has been pitched, members “flood” the sharing member with questions.  No etiquette, no protocol, just rapid-fire questioning.
  5. The sharing member writes down as many questions as he/she can, generally adopting some sort of short-hand method to get down as much as possible.  Importantly, he/she cannot respond to the questions, only write them down.  The questions are there to make him/her think, to consider things from different angles.
  6. Generally, this continues until the flood turns to a “trickle of questions” and then a new member shares his/her idea.
  7. The process is repeated until all members have shared and been “flooded.”
  8. At this point, if time allows, then I let a conversation take place, letting them discuss the things they had to resist talking about during the process.  Usually some pretty good discussion takes place.

I like this strategy because it reveals and/or reiterates the value of feedback in the development of ideas in a relatively “safe” manner.  My hope is that the kids come to realize how such input can help cultivate their ideas.  My greatest hope is that they get to a point where they seek feedback on their own.  As I tell them, school is not the only place where they will need to pitch and grow their ideas, not the only place where collaborating with others can make the difference between a good idea and a great idea.  Great ideas.  I expect no less.  Now or later.



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